Author: Carlos Fonseca; Translated from the Spanish by Megan McDowell
From Carlos Fonseca comes a dazzling novel about legacy, memory, and the desire to know and be known.
Julio is a disillusioned professor of literature, a perpetual wanderer who has spent years away from his home, teaching in the United States. He receives a posthumous summons from an old friend, the writer Aliza Abravanel, to uncover the mysteries within her final novel. Aliza had raced to finish her work as her mind deteriorated. In her manuscript is a series of interconnected accounts of loss, tales that set Julio hurtling on a journey to uncover their true meaning. Austral tracks Julio’s trip from Aliza’s home in an Argentine artists’ colony to a forgotten city in Guatemala, to the Peruvian Amazon, and through Nueva Germania, the antisemitic commune in Paraguay founded by Elisabeth Förster-Nietzsche.
A story of mourning and return—to one’s native country, to one’s darkest memories, to oneself—Carlos Fonseca’s Austral interrogates the obsessions and upheavals faced by survivors of a rapidly globalizing world. A treasure map of intertwined experiences, each cleaving its own path through time, the novel is a fascinating investigation into the disappearance of culture and memory and a charting of the furthest limits of what language can do. With this remarkable exploration of the traces we leave behind, those we erase, and how we seek to rebuild, Carlos Fonseca confirms his status as one of the most powerful voices in contemporary Latin American literature.
Farrar, Straus and Giroux