In the Distance with You
by Carla Guelfenbein
Pub Date 05 Jun 2018
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Vera Sigall, now eighty years old, has lived a mysterious, ascetic life far from the limelight of literary circles. This powerful character has a profound effect on those around her—Daniel, an architect and her neighbor and friend, unhappy in his marriage and career; Emilia, a Franco-Chilean student who travels to Santiago to write a thesis on the elusive Vera; and Horacio, an acclaimed poet with whom Vera had a tumultuous, passionate affair in her youth.
As Daniel, Emilia, and Horacio tell their stories, they reconstruct Vera’s past, and search for their own identities. Spanning from modern-day Chile to the 1950s, 60s, and through the years of the Pinochet dictatorship, With You at a Distance reveals successive mysteries anddiscoveries like a set of Russian nesting dolls.
“Guelfenbein’s elegantly structured, psychologically astute novel moves with the urgency of a detective novel, but its real mysteries turn on questions of authorship, reading, interpretation, and the strange power of fiction to enter the speechless realm of human erotic desire.” —Siri Hustvedt, author of The Blazing World
“The subject of this profound and intricate novel is the irreducible mystery at the core of every human person, the buried lines of history and desire that render us inscrutable even to ourselves. Carla Guelfenbein is an important and powerful writer, and this translation is a gift to English-language readers.” —Garth Greenwell, author of What Belongs to You
“Three figures gather around the comatose body of a legendary Latin American writer, trying—in different ways and before it’s too late—to unveil the dying woman’s secrets. With In the Distance with You, Carla Guelfenbein has created a truly thrilling book about books, a novel about the spell great writers cast on either side of the grave.” —Benjamin Moser, author of Why This World: A Biography of Clarice Lispector