The Private Lives of Trees


by Alejandro Zambra

July 14, 2010
novel | pb | 96 pgs
5" x 8"

”Zambra is indeed the herald of a new wave of Chilean fiction.” 
—Marcela Valdes, The Nation

The Private Lives of Treestells 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 BonsaiThe 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.

Translated from the Spanish by Megan Mcdowell

About the Author: Alejandro Zambra is acclaimed as the greatest writer of Chile’s younger generation. He is a poet and critic and currently teaches literature at the Diego Portales University in Santiago. His first novel, Bonsai, was awarded Chile’s Literary Critics’ Award for Best Novel, and the English translation by Carolina De Robertis (Melville House, 2008) was a finalist for the Best Translated Book Award.


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

“One of the greatest literary events of recent years.”
Alfonso Cortínez, Las Últimas Noticias