The Private Lives of Trees (Open Letter)

The Private Lives of Trees tells the story of a single night: a young professor of literature named Julián is reading to his step-daughter Daniela and nervously waiting for his wife Verónica to return from her art class.

Each night, Julián has been improvising a story about trees to tell Daniela before she goes to sleep, and each Sunday he works on a novel about a man tending to his bonsai, but something about this night is different. As Julián becomes increasing concerned that Verónica won’t return, he reflects on their life together in minute detail, and imagines what Daniela—at twenty, at twenty-five, at thirty years old, without a mother—will think of his novel.

Perhaps even more daring and dizzying than Zambra’s magical Bonsai, The Private Lives of Trees demands to be read in a single sitting, and it casts a spell that will bring you back to it again and again.

“The Private Lives of Trees confirms Alejandro Zambra as one of the most interesting writers of the younger generation.”

Álvaro Enrigue

”Zambra is indeed the herald of a new wave of Chilean fiction.”

Marcela Valdes, The Nation

“The Private Lives of Trees is small novel, in the best sense. . .despite being less than a hundred pages long, it is a surprisingly full-bodied and resonant work.”

The Complete Review



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