“An inventory of abandonment and abuse, inevitable diary of death and of growing up, a diatribe against routine religious fervor, and a bitter collection of involuntary poetry, this extraordinary novel far transcends denunciation and the exercise in style, reaching a new, unexpected, dissident realism.” —Alejandro Zambra, author of My Documents and Multiple Choice
“Bruno Lloret’s Nancy is a requiem, a funeral pyre, a poetic novel dedicated to the factory towns and their unremembered inhabitants. Told with breathless economy, an entire world of Romany and gringos, sinners and the devout walk across the serrated desert of this Chilean masterpiece. Part coming-of-age, part meditation on poverty, grief and environmental collapse, I’ve never read anything quite like it.” —Mark Haber, author of Reinhardt’s Garden
Alone again in a Chile, Nancy reflects on her life as she waits for her cancer to take her away. Before her illness, before her husband’s ridiculous death, before she fled home hidden in the back of a truck, she spent her youth at Playa Roja, swimming alongside the creepy old gringos amid rumors of young women gone missing and young men found dead. Nancy’s bitter mother abandoned the family and her brother disappeared without explanation. Then her father, the only person she had left, befriended a pair of Mormon missionaries. Left to fend for herself in a world determined to crush her spirit, Nancy keeps going, despite all the barriers in her path. And in the end she’s able to see her whole life as it rises again from the calendar of crossed-out days.
A reflective deathbed novel stylishly punctuated by photographs, x-rays, bible verses, and X after X after X, Bruno Lloret’s English-language debut is a triumph of innovative, heartfelt storytelling and the marker of an incredible new voice in Chilean letters. Nancy’s life of challenges, seen through her own eyes as she battles late-stage cancer, takes on a renewed brilliance though its cast of unforgettable characters: smugglers, creepy Americans, Mormon missionaries, her missing brother, and more.
“‘After a while, their silence is worse than being at death’s door. Maybe even worse than hope,’ says the protagonist of this beautiful, terrifying novel, which at times recalls César Vallejo’s poems, at times Robert Browning’s dramatic monologues, and at times Herta Muller’s ferocious fiction. A single, simple special effect—pages sown with ‘x’s, stained with crosses—transforms the reading into an incessant, painful blinking. Readers vacillate, shift position, try out obvious or sophisticated or whimsical interpretations, and are as mistrustful of these tricks as Nancy herself would be of strangers who suddenly seem too interested in listening to her. An inventory of abandonment and abuse, inevitable diary of death and of growing up, a diatribe against routine religious fervour (‘and so papá tonto became a Saint: papá santo’, says Nancy about her father’s conversion to Mormonism), and a bitter collection of involuntary poetry (‘why can’t cancer be like this, why can’t it disappear, like words, like cigarettes’) this extraordinary novel far transcends denunciation and the exercise in style, reaching a new, unexpected, dissident realism.” —Alejandro Zambra, author of My Documents and Multiple Choice
“A devastating, psychic exploration of our crumbling world, told in a visceral style that proves Bruno Lloret to be a force among the emerging Chilean writers of today.” —Fernando A. Flores, author of Tears of the Trufflepig
“An alarming, beautifully compassionate novel. Original and perfect for these strange times we live in.” —Jazmina Barrera, author of On Lighthouses
“Bruno Lloret’s Nancy is a requiem, a funeral pyre, a poetic novel dedicated to the factory towns and its unremembered inhabitants. Told with breathless economy, an entire world of Romany and gringos, sinners and the devout walk across the serrated desert of this Chilean masterpiece. Part coming-of-age, part meditation on poverty, grief and environmental collapse, I’ve never read anything quite like it.” —Mark Haber, author of Reinhardt’s Garden
“A moving, masterful debut…Death, trauma, violence, sexuality, family, religion, class, Nancy, in offering a tale of one, juxtaposes the individual’s singularity with the similarity of shared human experience. With sparse prose and uncanny realism, Lloret thrusts the reader into a staccato reminiscence of a life spent in struggle and defeat. Nancy resonates; Nancy eulogizes; Nancy dignifies—perhaps most of all, Nancy empathizes, with and for a life, however fictional, that seldom enjoyed the grace it so quietly deserved.” —Jeremy Garber, Powell’s City of Books (Portland, OR)
“A profound and disturbing meditation on the nature of belief, poverty and the human detritus of global capital.” —The Saturday Paper
“Nancy is a work of great emotional and intellectual maturity. It is surprising that it is a debut novel. With it, Bruno Lloret announces himself as a writer who is unafraid to explore life at the margins of society, but who is sensitive to the complexity of his subject. The stark, brutal simplicity of the prose, rendered in translation by Ellen Jones, highlights the brutality of the world created on these pages.” —3:AM Magazine
“An atmospheric, expansive story of melancholy situated somewhere between the Pacific Ocean and the Atacama Desert.…Nancy works at the height of fiction’s power to bring us closer to others.” —ArtsHub (5/5 stars)
“[Nancy] uncovers the painful wounds inflicted by belief and by poverty, when life has become a wilderness, a minefield, an act of survival, in which even love and desire are reduced to nothing, witnesses to a happiness as improbable as it is precarious.” ―Leonardo Sanhueza
“We have here an extremely sensitive, intelligent, talented writer…A marvel.” —Rodrigo Hidalgo, El Guillatún
“One of the most original books of the year” —Natalia Berbelagua, Revista Intemperie
“A novel that flows naturally and can be read quickly, which is not to say that it’s simple – quite the opposite. It toys with existential questions about what it means to be human.” —Juvenal Romero Pérez, Revista Lecturas