The private life of trees
La vida privada de los árboles
The Private Lives of Trees tells the story of a single night: a young professor of literature named Julián is reading to his step-daughter Daniela and nervously waiting for his wife Verónica to return from her art class. Each night, Julián has been improvising a story about trees to tell Daniela before she goes to sleep -and each Sunday he works on a novel about a man tending to his bonsai- but something about this night is different. As Julián becomes increasing concerned that Verónica won't return, he reflects on their life together in minute detail, and imagines what Daniela -at twenty, at twenty-five, at thirity years old, without a mother- will think of his novel.
Why read and write books in a world that is about to self-destruct? This question hangs about on each page of La vida privada de los arboles: a novel that confirms Alejandro Zambra as one of the most original authors of his generation.
"The Private Lives of Trees confirms Alejandro Zambra as one of the most interesting writers of the younger generation" Álvaro Enrigue
"Zambra is indeed the herald of a new wave of Chilean fiction" Marcela Valdez, The Nation
Alejandro Zambra (1975) is a Chilean writer. His novels have been translated into more than ten languages including English, French, Italian, Portuguese, Dutch, Chinese, Japanese and Turkish. His stories have appeared in literary magazines such as The New Yorker, The Paris Review, Zoetrope, Tin House, McSweeney’s, Vice, Letras Libres, Granta, The Virginia Quarterly Review, Quimera, Das Magazin, Tortuca and Piauí. His work has been featured in anthologies in Chile, Argentina, Peru, Colombia, Mexico, Holland, USA and Germany. He has worked as a literary columnist for several Chilean newspapers and magazines, including El Mercurio, La Tercera, Las Últimas Noticias, and The Clinic, as well as for newspapers in Spain, Argentina, Uruguay and Germany.
In 2013 Zambra received the Prince Claus Award in Holland for his oeuvre. He also received the 2013 English PEN Award for Ways of Going Home. In Chile he has twice received the National Council on Books and Reading prize for the best novel of the year (for Bonsai and Ways of Going Home). His novel Bonsai won the Chilean Critics prize, and Ways of Going Home won the Altazor prize. In 2007 he was chosen as one of the “Bogotá39,” the best contemporary Latin American writers under 39 years old, at the Bogotá Hay Festival. In 2010 he was chosen as one of the best Spanish-language writers under 35 by the magazine Granta. In 2011 Bonsai was adapted for the screen by the Chilean director Cristián Jiménez, and the film premiered in the section “Un Certain Regard” at the Cannes Film Festival.