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Gabriela Alemán
Smoke

(Humo)

Literary Fiction

  • Published: 03/02/2017
  • ISBN: 9789588979403

A subtle and intriguing novel that, by submerging you in the history of Panama, ends up reflecting a tragedy that all of the South American continent shares.  

A woman returns to Paraguay seventeen years after having left. She returns to collect an envelope that her friend Andrei has left her. This envelope acts as a time bomb. When she opens it, memories flood back to her of a “land where everything has been scoured with cleaning fluid and is left wide-open”; The Chaco War, Stroessner’s dictatorship and a present-day scarred by fire.
Smoke is narrated by different voices across overlapping eras. At the center of the story is a house that is falling apart in a city haunted by ghosts, where the border between the past and the present no longer exists.

About the author

Gabriela Alemán. Daughter of the Ecuadorian diplomat Mario Alemán and granddaughter of the Quitan poet Hugo Alemán, Gabriela studied translation at the University of Cambridge (UK), a masters in Latin American Literature from Andina Simón Bolívar (Ecuador) and a doctorate from Tulane (USA). She debuted by writing short stories. In 2003, she launched her first novel Body Time. In 2007, she published the novel Poso Wells (which will be published in the USA in 2018 City Lights). The rights to her collection of stories La muerte silba un blues / Death whistles the blues (Literatura Random House, 2014) have been sold to the French publisher L’atinoir.