The second novel by the internationally celebrated writer Alejandro Zambra, a “short and strikingly original” (The New Yorker) book about the stories we spin for ourselves and our loved ones—now reissued by Penguin
Veronica is late, and Julián is increasingly convinced she won't ever come home. To pass the time, he improvises a story about trees to coax his stepdaughter, Daniela, to sleep. He has made a life as a literature professor, developing a novel about a man tending to a bonsai tree on the weekends. He is a narrator, an architect, a chronicler of other people's stories. But as the night stretches on before him, and the hours pass with no sign of Veronica, Julián finds himself caught up in the slipstream of the story of his life—of their lives together. What combination of desire and coincidence led them here, to this very night? What will the future—and possibly motherless—Daniela think of him and his stories? Why tell stories at all?
The second novel by acclaimed Chilean writer Alejandro Zambra, The Private Lives of Trees overflows with his signature wit and his gift for crafting short novels that manage to contain whole worlds.
About the Author
Alejandro Zambra is the author of Multiple Choice; My Documents, a finalist for the Frank O’Connor International Short Story Award; and three other works of fiction: Chilean Poet, Ways of Going Home, and The Private Lives of Trees. The recipient of numerous literary prizes in Chile and around the world, as well as a Cullman Center Fellowship, he has had stories published in The New Yorker, The New York Times Magazine, The Paris Review, and Harper’s, among others. He lives in Mexico City. Megan McDowell (translator) is the recipient of a 2020 Award in Literature from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, among other awards, and has been nominated four times for the Booker International prize.