The Movies of My Life

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9780060534622: The Movies of My Life

Beltrán Soler is from Chile, a land in constant movement. A seismologist who knows more about the science of tectonic plate movement than about life, he is cocooned in a world of seismic data, scientific articles, and natural disasters. Beltrán believes he can protect himself from the world around him by losing himself to theoretical pursuits, but thousands of feet above the ground he so meticulously analyzes, on a flight to L.A. -- the capital of film and the city in which he was raised -- he has a conversation that sparks in him a firestorm of nostalgia. Suddenly, Beltrán finds himself recalling the fifty most important movies of his life -- films both precious and absurd that affected him during his childhood and adolescence in the 1960s and '70s.

From Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory to Close Encounters of the Third Kind to kitschy disaster films such as Earthquake!, as well as cult classics of '70s sci-fi such as Logan's Run, Beltrán connects with his past by remembering the films he saw, the people with whom he saw them, and even the theaters in which they were shown. Recalling one movie after another, he reconstructs the unusual history of his eccentric and dysfunctional family, coming to terms with his obsession with the movies that helped define him -- often whether he wanted them to or not.

Set in the oddly parallel worlds of Nixon's suburban California and Pinochet's Santiago de Chile, this ingenious novel throws us into the claustrophobic world of an adolescent who tries to escape from a tumultuous and fragmented existence, one caught between two languages, two cultures, and two families that watch the same movies. Written in the eloquent, compelling, and often hilarious style that has brought Alberto Fuguet world renown, The Movies of My Life is a book about film and about how movies embed themselves in our souls, helping us all share a blinding fondness for the magic of make-believe.

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About the Author:

Born in Santiago de Chile, Alberto Fuguet spent his early childhood in California. He is one of the most prominent Latin American authors of his generation and one of the leaders of the literary movement known as McOndo, which proclaims the end of magical realism. He has been a film critic and a police reporter. He lives in Santiago de Chile.

Alberto Fuguet nació en Santiago de Chile, y pasó su infancia en California. Es uno de los autores latinoamericanos más destacados de su generación y uno de los líderes de McOndo, el movimiento literario que proclama el fin del realismo mágico. Ha sido crítico de cine y reportero policial. Vive en Santiago.

From Publishers Weekly:

Fuguet is the central figure of a loose group of young Latin American writers-a movement known as McOndo-who identify themselves in opposition to magical realism. In the author's second pop-culture saturated novel to be published in English (after Bad Vibes), seismologist Beltran Soler tells the story of his childhood via a catalogue of movies that influenced him at pivotal moments. The setup is stiff-the adult Beltran is on his way to a conference in Tokyo when he is inspired to hole up in a hotel room in L.A. and begin writing his film-linked memoirs-but once Fuguet begins piecing together Beltran's lopsided, bicultural life, the novel speeds along, overflowing with ironic insight. Born in 1964, Beltran lives in Encino, Calif., until he is 10, when his family (father, mother and younger sister Manuela) move back to Santiago. Bourgeois in Chile, but barely middle class in the U.S., the family inhabits a weird in-between world. In Encino, Beltran reenacts The Poseidon Adventure with his friends; in Santiago, the family across the street (dubbed the Chilean Waltons by Beltran) wins a family singing contest with its Sound of Music medleys. The ongoing political upheaval in Chile feels like another Technicolor drama, with a few alarming incursions into reality. But the novel's true turmoil is personal: Beltran's difficult adjustment to life in Chile, his adolescence and his family's collapse (his father leaves his mother the night Saturday Night Fever opens). The movie titles heading each chapter serve as subtle triggers for reminiscence, but never become a structural straitjacket, and Fuguet's pop archness is tempered with honest feeling. Despite the rocky start, this is a fresh, notable effort.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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