Alone but for her memories, Nancy has returned to Chile to wait 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—mi madre mala, Nancy calls her—abandoned the family and her brother disappeared without explanation. Then her father, who was all she had left, took up with a pair of young Mormon missionaries, and Nancy was left to fend for herself in a world determined to crush her spirit.
Through the haze induced by her medication, Nancy gazes deep into her adolescence and, despite the horrors that society, poverty, and family inflicted on her as a young woman, she rediscovers life—jubilant and proud. Bruno Lloret’s debut novel, moodily translated from Spanish by Ellen Jones, combines formal invention and heartrending storytelling punctuated by graves, footprints, x-rays, and crosses.