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A Distant Father

Best Seller
A Distant Father by Antonio Skarmeta
Sep 16, 2014 | ISBN 9781590516263

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  • Sep 16, 2014 | ISBN 9781590516263

    Available from:

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“Skarmeta treats his characters with a tender hand and, with impressive economy, balances dark humor with a sober and realistic portrait of a stagnant culture whose people are always longing for something better.” —Publishers Weekly

“In this jewel of a novella, Chilean Skármeta…exhibits [a] master touch…The beauty of the telling offsets the sadness and desolation of small-town life and the confusions and revelations that Skármeta describes are common to us all.” Library Journal

“A cunning little novella.” —Shelf Awareness

“[Skarmeta] knows how to use language without overusing language.” —Tweed’s

“Compelling.” —CounterPunch

“It is amazing how, in so few words, Skármeta is brilliantly able to paint the soul’s complexities and turn the world into a less uncertain place. With exquisite prose, as faint as a sigh, Skármeta weaves a fun and ironic story of the torturous road toward  maturity.” —Félix J. Palma, author of the New York Times bestseller The Map of Time

“In this spare, but emotionally rich and big-hearted new novella A Distant Father, the prize-winning Chilean author Antonio Skármeta accomplishes his usual magic of rendering with profound dignity the dilemmas of the human heart. Jacques, a young schoolteacher in the small village of Contulmo is on the cusp of a defining moment, a crisis of identity and manhood that unfolds in a masterfully told story. Desire confronts Jacques with life choices that present a clash of values: to stay with his beloved mother in their rustic idyll; to reunite with his abandoning Parisian father and pursue a more cosmopolitan life; or to explore a passionate relationship with the lovely Teresa. A poetic soul who finds beauty in the ordinary—winter apples, spiders building webs in a corner—Jacques’s haunting journey is archetypal and one we all share: becoming a Self. Written with exquisite calligraphic precision, A Distant Father is a book that plunges the reader into longing and loss, possibility and hope, and never strays from the heart’s truths.” —Dale M. Kushner, author of The Conditions of Love

A Distant Father sparkles. It’s an exquisite bow to life’s absurdity. Antonio Skarmeta’s prose is Chaplinesque—at once gentle-sad and drop-dead funny. And he has a magical touch with physical detail: time and again this tiny novella springs alive in our hands like a pop-up book.” —Leah Hager Cohen, author of No Book but the World

“An enchanting, touching memory of what it feels like to grow up, and the ambivalent knowledge one gains in the meantime.” —Nürnberger Zeitung

A Distant Father reads just like a summer love story right before coming of age: painful, but at the same time beautiful.” —Berliner Zeitung

“Antonio Skármeta is a cardiac surgeon who is working with words instead of a scalpel.” —Osnabrücker Zeitung

“Skarmeta’s narrative reminds me of fairy tales. Odd fairy tales without fairies and without ogres and without spells, but with just absolutely common people instead. It’s the magic of the commonplace.”  —O Globo

“Each fragrant line of A Distant Father is in just the right place. Without excess, every word is positioned with the precision of an artist who works with their eyes closed, fluidly. Without artifice, without sterile rhetoric, and without pyrotechnics.” —La vanguardia

“Poetic.” —El Periódico de Catalunya

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