Praise. Praise for Alejandro Zambra’s Bonsai “The ‘last truly great book’ I read has to be Alejandro Zambra’s Bonsai. A subtle, eerie, ultimately wrenching. Through both the distance and closeness of these young lovers, Alejandro Zambra brilliantly explores the relationship between art, love, and life. Bonsai is. A review, and links to other information about and reviews of Bonsai by Alejandro Zambra.

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And better still after the third reading. If anyone is interested in reading this one and needs a copy of Macedonio Fernandez’s Tantalia, feel free to give me a shout and I’ll email you the 5-page story pronto. Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.

Want to Read saving…. Want to Read Currently Reading Read. Refresh and try again. Open Preview See a Problem? Thanks for telling us about the problem. Return to Book Page. Preview — Bonsai by Alejandro Zambra. Bonsai by Alejandro Zambra Goodreads Author.

Paperback84 pages. Published October 7th by Melville House first published February 1st To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up. To ask other readers questions about Bonsaiplease sign up. No en asuntos sino en el enfoque dubitativo, un poco lejano. See 2 questions about Bonsai…. Lists with This Book. Dec 03, s. There is a feeling of weightlessness to the prose and story that still alfjandro to weigh heavy in zwmbra heart and soul upon completion.

It is the story of two young lovers, lovers of one another and literature, and what happens to them once they part. It is as simple as that, yet complex in its mechanics and implications. There is a sweet simplicity and breathless fluidity to this tiny aleiandro.

Characters silently zambrw on and off the stage, love is found and lost within the length of alejzndro paragraph, revelations are made and people are lost forever, all without rising from a soft idyllic tone that Zambra executes with the care of one polishing expensive glassware. There is also a wry humor integrated in the otherwise somber plot that gives it wings and keeps it from plummeting into melodrama.

The rest is literature. There is a gorgeous character study at play: Anyone that has loved or loved and lost can find charm in the hazy tale Zambra has created. Julio and Emilia lie to one zambrw on their first sexual encounter, zamrba claiming to have read Marcel Proustand embellish the lies with partly-true details to bring their falsehoods to life. In a way, they are creating literature and as their relationship continues, full of lies and truths and half-truths like any young couple, they further their depth as characters both literally and metaphysically.

A bonssi is an artistic replica of a tree, in miniature. It consists of two elements: The two elements must be in harmony and the selection of the zambrs pot for a tree is almost an art form in itself.


The people that come and go from their lives are like the limbs of the bonsai tree which are carefully cut to grow in a desired shape. However, the story itself is a series of containers. It is the intricate potting of a story within a story that really sticks with the reader, the half-truths of life that go on to become a work of art, the literature housed in the container of experience.

Bonsai is a quiet little novel with quite the emotional punch. What I love most is the way this novella makes literature seem like the most important aspect of life. The fragility of life and love is explored in beautiful and breathless prose that alejandrl this elliptical little novel well bonasi the time.

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Bonsai by Alejandro Zambra

The world is of tantalic inspiration. Zambra makes reference to it. I encourage readers to get a copy and read it—bizarre and an incredible complement to this novella c And better still after the third reading. I encourage readers to get a copy and read it—bizarre and an incredible complement to this novella complement in its older sense of something which completes. The stories fit together like complimentary angles. Do yourself a favor, read them both. Going against the grain.

So here I am. Building a cushion against the time I start my own next whopper. So, a long-winded approach to a review of Bonsai. Ya gotta love suggestions like that. So, now I was determined: Get Bonsai and read it.

I started it almost immediately upon its arrival and have now read it twice. Bonsai begins with what appears as the beginning of a framed story—it leaves no doubt where the story will go, only how it will get there.

In the story of Emilia and Julio, in any case, there are more omissions than lies, and fewer omissions than truths of the kind that are called absolute and that tend to be uncomfortable. Followed on the next page with the passage: The relationship between Emilia and Julio was riddled with truths, with intimate revelations that rapidly established a complicity that they wanted to understand as definitive. This, then, is a light story that turns heavy.

This is the story of two students who are enthusiasts of truth, of scattering sentences that seem true, of smoking eternal cigarettes, and of closing themselves into the intense complacency of those who think they are better, purer than others, than that immense and contemptible group known as the others. All shoved into the briefest of 83 pages. I liked this one.

Absurdist, like the novel. View all 36 comments. It is a stunning accomplishment. Zambra accomplishes in 86 pages what other writers take hundreds of pages to accomplish.

Just as the silence between notes in a musical composition can define a work, so too do the silences in Bonsai define this work. Bonsai is the story of Julio and Emilia, a young Chilean couple who become lovers almost inadvertently.


While the narrative starts with them getting together, it also shadows them for countless years, situations, and affairs that happen away from each other. As the lives of Julio and Emilia move ahead, they meet other people who play important roles in their personal story, but still the two ex-lovers remain present, like quiet ghosts that hang around in shadowy places.

In an oblique way, this is a book about literature. The two lovers take central stage, but their props are books and their dialogue centers around books for most of the first third of the narrative; this gives the story unexpected depth. As university students with a fondness for prose, Emilia and Julio share their love for the written word. Bonsai is an amazing read that gives one a sense of having experienced something magical.

May 16, Adina rated it it was ok Shelves: Bonsai is the first piece of literature that I read in Spanish. It was the right choice for me from the language point of view. The narrative was simple and the vocabulary did not raise many difficulties.

Bonsai by Alejandro Zambra | : Books

I definitely recommend alfjandro if you are an intermediate Spanish learner and want to learn by reading. However, this novella did not stir any feelings in me. It was like I was reading a textbook.

I though it might be that I was reading in Spanish but I do not think so. I am bit puzzled why this won the prize, maybe there weren’t many books published that year, who knows. The author tried to do something interesting, modern and fresh using a conversational, detached tone. It worked just great if the intention was to make the reader detached as bonnsai.

The novella is basically the love story of Julio and Emilia and what happens to their life after they separate spoilers: It bomsai a simple plot but the message wants to be deeper. The only problem is that I completely missed it. What I did not miss is how uninteresting the reading experience was and if there was a deeper meaning then I could not care less.

I really hope that one is going to be a better experience. View all 8 comments. Was it a very bad year? Were there no other novels published? Were the critics all first year double majors in post-modern literature and philosophy? I don’t get it!! Don’t get me wrong I think you get my gist. Lots of literary alejamdro dropping, random stories bonsxi interact in almost a predictable and dull fashion and two-dimensional characters living their lives rather emptily.

I was bored, zambrs but very perplexed at the many accolades given to this novella.