A Distant Father

distant father cover image A Distant Father

by Antonio Skarmeta
General Fiction
Other Press
Hardcover, 112 pages
$15.95

With one of the great contemporary voices of Latin America, Skarmeta’s work has inspired a pair of superb motion pictures – Il Postino and No. The former is the captivating story of a rural postman who delivers mail to Pablo Neruda during his exile to an isolated island. The latter captures the thrilling campaign to defeat the dictator Pinochet in the plebiscite of 1988. A Distant Father is a more intimate and personal novel (novella, really) of coming of age. There is a plot within the plot that reveals itself suddenly at the close of the story. There is a bakery, a train station, a whorehouse, and a movie theater. There is love, sex, betrayal and the hint of redemption. In a curious twist, this provincial village in the remote south of Chile has taken on a decidedly French flavor - the father is a Frenchman; the son a translator of French poetry. It is a nod to a convergence of esthetic sensibilities between the two countries and their literary connectedness. Felix J. Palma of the New York Times calls it “a fun and ironic story of the road toward maturity.”