Diego Zúñiga

NOVEL | 2012 | 122 pages

A long drive across Chile's Atacama Desert, traversing the "worn-out" puzzle of a broken family—a young man's corrosive intimacy with his mother, the obtrusive cheer of his absentee father. his uncle's unexplained death. The camanchaca is a low fog pushing in from the sea, its moisture sustaining near-barren landscape. Sometimes, the silences are what bind us.


An unexpected voice, a new landscape—a sober, risky, unsettling, and surprising book.
— Alejandro Zambra, author of Bonsai and The Secret Lives of Trees
Diego Zúñiga is the author of an extraordinary first novel. Camanchaca is written with austerity and a laconic and fragmented style that is like the shreds of fog through which we are able to catch glimpses of the landscape.
— Patricio Pron, author of My Father's Ghost Is Climbing in the Rain
The amiable placidity of Camanchaca’s young narrator attests to a safeguarding remoteness that cannot quite suppress a terrible mounting compulsion to confront his family’s past and be released from its burden of secrets. Diligent but lacking the capacity to form judgments, distressed yet detached, I don’t think I’ve come across a more evocative depiction of the painstaking transition from adolescence into the adult world.
— Claire-Louise Bennett author of Pond
The past converges with the present in this startling debut by Diego Zúñiga. A young man, uncertain in life, penetrates his family’s dysfunctional past during a road trip across the Chilean desert. Taut and fragmented, brilliant and brave, Camanchaca perfectly captures the difficult transition from young man to adult. A small diamond of a novel that once again proves literature can break your heart and infuse the spirit at the same time.
— Mark Haber, Brazos Bookstore
This arresting and deeply affecting read, despite its short length, packs a punch.
— Publishers Weekly
Deftly written, there is much to admire on the page.
— Fanzine
A smart, straightforward narrative that reveals the varied mood a shared experience can evoke.
— Kirkus
The simple, elegant narrative braiding- a paternal recto, a maternal verso- serves as both metaphor for a boy who is of two minds about everything and as a driveshaft, propelling the reader to a too-soon ending in a state of horror bordering on awe.
— The Rumpus, “HORN!” review

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