“A very funny, warm, and beautiful novel.” —Sheila Heti, author of Motherhood

“Zambra's books have long shown him to be a writer who, at the sentence level, is in a world all his own.” —Juan Vidal,

A writer of “startling talent” (The New York Times Book Review), Alejandro Zambra returns with his most substantial work yet: a story of fathers and sons, ambition and failure, and what it means to make a family

After a chance encounter at a Santiago nightclub, aspiring poet Gonzalo reunites with his first love, Carla. Though their desire for each other is still intact, much has changed: among other things, Carla now has a six-year-old son, Vicente. Soon the three form a happy sort-of family—a stepfamily, though no such word exists in their language.
Eventually, their ambitions pull the lovers in different directions—in Gonzalo’s case, all the way to New York. Though Gonzalo takes his books when he goes, still, Vicente inherits his ex-stepfather’s love of poetry. When, at eighteen, Vicente meets Pru, an American journalist literally and figuratively lost in Santiago, he encourages her to write about Chilean poets—not the famous, dead kind, your Nerudas or Mistrals or Bolaños, but rather the living, striving, everyday ones. Pru’s research leads her into this eccentric community—another kind of family, dysfunctional but ultimately loving. Will it also lead Vicente and Gonzalo back to each other?
In Chilean Poet, Alejandro Zambra chronicles with enormous tenderness and insight the small moments—sexy, absurd, painful, sweet, profound—that make up our personal histories. Exploring how we choose our families and how we betray them, and what it means to be a man in relationships—a partner, father, stepfather, teacher, lover, writer, and friend—it is a bold and brilliant new work by one of the most important writers of our time.
“The thing that has always made Zambra’s writing irresistible (to me, anyway) is his attention to the seemingly inconsequential matters that render our lives so flush with consequence. Chilean Poet will almost certainly amble along Zambra’s wonderfully original, laconic literary path.”
—Il'ja Rákoš, The Millions

“Zambra has earned a reputation as an autofiction alchemist, an artist who does not simply notate the numbing details of daily life but spins the quotidian into art. In his latest novel, Chilean Poet, he writes in a different, grander register . . . we encounter scenarios that are recognizable because we have experienced them before, yet he depicts them with such care and irreverence that they are rendered unfamiliar.”

“Every beat and pattern of being alive becomes revelatory and bright when narrated by Alejandro Zambra. He is a modern wonder.”
Rivka Galchen, author of Everyone Knows Your Mother is a Witch

“His clever irony, his lighthearted yet powerful prose, his gift for capturing this life that passes through and yet still escapes us—everything Zambra has already put into practice in his novellas and short stories explodes with vitality in Chilean Poet. Contemporary, beautiful, brilliant.”
—Samanta Schweblin, author of Fever Dream

“A playful, discursive novel about families, relationships, poetry, and how easily all three can come together or fall apart . . . [Chilean Poet] renders both the small moments of literary striving and the everyday difficulties of being part of, and raising, a family with an insight that’s both cleareyed and tender.”
Kirkus Reviews

“There’s no questioning Zambra’s deep affection for writers grasping at love.”
Publishers Weekly

“Intelligent and funny and moving and profound. . . It’s been a long time since I’ve laughed so hard or been so moved by a novel.”
—Rodrigo Fresán, Letras Libres
“Engaging . . . written with a simplicity and freedom . . . The final part is wonderful, almost miraculous, masterly.”
—Ignacio Echevarría, El Mundo
Chilean Poet reminds us, in sum, of ‘life’s complexity’…It has moved me and made me laugh a lot. This is a great Zambra.”
—Nadal Suau, El Mundo
“[An] intelligent and moving novel . . . jaunty and ironic but never lacking in tenderness.”
—Jorge Carrión, New York Times en Español, “Best Spanish-Language Books of 2020”


“The most talked-about writer to come out of Chile since Bolaño.”
The New York Times Book Review
“Zambra's books have long shown him to be a writer who, at the sentence level, is in a world all his own.”

“Strikingly original.”
—James Wood, The New Yorker

“One of the most interesting writers working right now.”

“When I read Zambra I feel like someone’s shooting fireworks inside my head.”
—Valeria Luiselli, author of Lost Children Archive

“Zambra is so alert to the intimate beauty and mystery of being alive that in his hands a raindrop would feel as wide as a world.”
—Anthony Marra, author of The Tsar of Love and Techno