There is something incredibly refreshing about a novel that does not concern itself with beginnings and endings, a novel that so resoundingly eschews “plot.” And, of course, I imagine Zambra’s response to this observation would be something like: poetry is plotless, as is life; plot is the fictitious construction of the novelist (which, curiously, begs the question: does Zambra consider himself a novelist?). Whatever Zambra is—whichever artificial genre the market shoehorns Chilean Poet into—the prose is great. I would have spent hundreds of pages more meandering with Gonzalo and Vicente.
He didn’t want to look at her that way, and yet, at the same time, a certain sense of authority emerged in his head, as if sleeping with someone, or having slept with them, meant you acquired the right to look coldly at their body.
People say that’s what happiness is—when you don’t feel like you should be somewhere else, or be someone else. A different person. Someone younger, older. Someone better. It’s a perfect and impossible idea, but still …
She was incapable of sleeping without pills, but sometimes she decided not to take them so she could remember what she was like, who she really was, like a nearsighted person who decides to leave her glasses on the night table and feel her way through the whole day.