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Kamchatkaby Marcelo Figueras
Synopses & Reviews
"In this meandering English-language debut from Figueras, a 10-year-old Argentinean boy's whimsical inner life helps him both explain and digest his family's fate in the aftermath of the 1976 coup. When his parents' leftist activism forces the family into hiding, the boy decides to call himself Harry after his idol, Houdini. Ensconced in a villa outside Buenos Aires, Harry staves off the boredom of being in hiding by playing the board game Risk (his favorite territory being the novel's namesake), working out with the cool 18-year-old activist staying with the family, and fantastical forays into the lives of his various heroes — Superman, Aristotle, Arthur of Avalon — whose stories Harry relates to his own life with uninhibited passion. The reader knows from the first chapter that Harry's family will be torn apart, yet Figueras is intent on leaving out any 'grown-up' facts that would explain the ordeal, focusing instead on Harry's reflections on the malleability of memory. Yet because of the narrator's young age, conclusions such as 'Time is weird' might feel more astute if they were grounded in a more trenchant narrative. (May)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright PWyxz LLC)
In 1976 Buenos Aires, a ten-year-old boy lives in a world of school lessons and comic books, TV shows and games of Risk—a world in which men have superpowers and boys can conquer the globe on a rectangle of cardboard. But in his hometown, the military has just seized power, and amid a climate of increasing terror and intimidation, people begin to disappear without a trace.
When his mother unexpectedly pulls him and his younger brother from school, she tells him theyre going on an impromptu family trip. But he soon realizes that this will be no ordinary holiday: his parents are known supporters of the opposition, and they are going into hiding. Holed up in a safe house in the remote hills outside the city, the family assumes new identities. The boy names himself Harry after his hero Houdini, and as tensions rise and the uncertain world around him descends into chaos, he spends his days of exile learning the secrets of escape.
Kamchatka is the portrait of a child forced to square fantasy with a reality in which family, politics, history, and even time itself have become more improbable than any fiction. Told from the points of view of Harry as a grown man and as a boy, Kamchatka is an unforgettable story of courage and sacrifice, the tricks of time and memory, and the fragile yet resilient fabric of childhood.
About the Author
Born in 1962 in Buenos Aires, Marcelo Figueras is an award-winning journalist, screenwriter, and novelist. He has also been a war correspondent and singer. Figueras makes daily contributions to the Spanish-language literary blog El Boomeran: www.elboomeran.com. His books have previously been translated into French, German, Dutch, Polish and Russian; This is his first novel to be published in English.
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