Kamchatka by Marcelo Figueras

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In 1976 Buenos Aires, a ten-year-old boy lives in a world of school lessons and comic books, TV shows and games of Risk—a world in which men have superpowers and boys can conquer the globe on a rectangle of cardboard. But in his hometown, the military has just seized power, and amid a climate of increasing terror and intimidation, people begin to disappear without a trace.

When his mother unexpectedly pulls him and his younger brother from school, she tells him they’re going on an impromptu family trip. But he soon realizes that this will be no ordinary holiday: his parents are known supporters of the opposition, and they are going into hiding. Holed up in a safe house in the remote hills outside the city, the family assumes new identities. The boy names himself Harry after his hero Houdini, and as tensions rise and the uncertain world around him descends into chaos, he spends his days of exile learning the secrets of escape.

Kamchatka is the portrait of a child forced to square fantasy with a reality in which family, politics, history, and even time itself have become more improbable than any fiction. Told from the points of view of Harry as a grown man and as a boy, Kamchatka is an unforgettable story of courage and sacrifice, the tricks of time and memory, and the fragile yet resilient fabric of childhood.

About Marcelo Figueras

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Born in 1962 in Buenos Aires, Marcelo Figueras is an award-winning journalist, screenwriter, and novelist. He has also been a war correspondent and singer. Figueras makes daily contributions to the Spanish-language literary blog El Boomeran: www.elboomeran.com. His books have previously been translated into French, German, Dutch, Polish and Russian; This is his first novel to be published in English.
Published May 3, 2011 by Grove Press, Black Cat. 312 pages
Genres: Literature & Fiction, History. Fiction

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This is why I believe that History is like an ocean into which rivers of individual histories flow…We are bound together in a web that spans all of space—all living creatures are connected in some intimate way: a web large enough to include all those alive today, but also all those of yesterday a...

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The Bookbag

Summary: Set in the late 1970s in Buenos Aires, the time of the brutal oppression, and disappearance of many young and talented people, this novel follows the fate of one young family, and their two sons, as they flee persecution and try to protect their - family.

Aug 19 2010 | Read Full Review of Kamchatka

MostlyFiction Book Reviews

A horizon ringed by towering inaccessible peaks shrouded in sulphurous vapors.” In his imagination the fictional and the real Kamchatka merge into one, a safe and beautiful place where he will travel to when the time comes… The adult Harry is a constant companion voice to that of the ten-year-ol...

Jul 11 2011 | Read Full Review of Kamchatka

The New Yorker

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Jun 13 2011 | Read Full Review of Kamchatka

Shelf Awareness

That's the case with this book rug and although it's probably more of a show piece than a functional item for your home--assuming all the books were destined for an ill-fate anyway--it's actually kind of neat."

Apr 18 2011 | Read Full Review of Kamchatka

Publishing Perspective

Kamchatka, a novel by Marcelo Figueras (translated by Frank Wynne), is a fictional first-person remembrance of childhood in Argentina during the Dirty War (1976-1983), a time of political instability and government-sponsored violence when thousands of civilians were “disappeared.” The story begi...

Jul 19 2011 | Read Full Review of Kamchatka


In the end, the grown-up Harry tells us to “love one another madly, the people you know, but more importantly the people who need love, because love is the only thing that is real, it is the light, everything else is darkness.” Editor’s note: On July 5, 2012, two of Argentina’s former military ...

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