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Shorts by P-HarpercollinsPubl

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A genre-bending collection of tales from one of Latin America's most radically original mindsIn Shorts, Alberto Fuguet brilliantly chronicles the occasionally bizarre, unceasingly turbulent existence of the geographically and emotionally displaced.From the tale of a childless Chilean couple with an antiseptic life philosophy to an account of a desperate man who "disappears" himself in Texas, dreaming that someone actually wants to find him, Shorts opens our eyes to the reality of rich kids from poor countries swilling their cosmopolitans in New York, scared to death of their own homelands, and shows the influence of American pop culture on the hearts and minds of those who have never set foot in "Yankee Bohemia."Unsettling and enlightening, Shorts conveys the American phenomenon of self-invention at its most extreme, as the culturally confounded rage against deflated fantasies in the face of obstinate realities.

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									Shorts
Author: Alberto Fuguet
Description

A genre-bending collection of tales from one of Latin America's most radically original mindsIn Shorts,
Alberto Fuguet brilliantly chronicles the occasionally bizarre, unceasingly turbulent existence of the
geographically and emotionally displaced.From the tale of a childless Chilean couple with an antiseptic
life philosophy to an account of a desperate man who "disappears" himself in Texas, dreaming that
someone actually wants to find him, Shorts opens our eyes to the reality of rich kids from poor countries
swilling their cosmopolitans in New York, scared to death of their own homelands, and shows the
influence of American pop culture on the hearts and minds of those who have never set foot in "Yankee
Bohemia."Unsettling and enlightening, Shorts conveys the American phenomenon of self-invention at its
most extreme, as the culturally confounded rage against deflated fantasies in the face of obstinate
realities.
Excerpt

I spent that year -- the year I want to tell you about -- attending a prep school for lost rich kids who
needed to "find themselves." I wasn't rich, but I knew I needed to find myself, and that being "lost" wasn't
going to do me any good.I felt like that decorated cadet who stumbled in the middle of the Parada Militar.
Remember him? They say it was Pino-chet's nephew, or somebody related to Lucía Hiriart, Pinochet's 
fucking wife. I don't know; the details were a little sketchy. But they'd coddled him and spoiled him with
trips to Disneyland and South Africa, yet all that pampering didn't amount to much in the end because
the guy stumbled. And I don't mean metaphorically -- he tripped and fell right in the middle of the Parque
O'Higgins ellipse with TVN broadcasting live from Arica to Punta Arenas. Falling in public sucks, because
it comes with an added bonus: everyone can see you."He vanished," Raimundo Baeza told me as we
were leaving our advanced history and geography class. "He made their whole family look ridiculous.""But
how?""He fucked up, that's how. He had to leave the country. What did you think, Ferrer, that they'd give
him a medal?"I went to class every morning. I didn't have friends per se, but I did have something of a
clique. They'd also been left back, of course -- Cristóbal Urquidi, Claudia Marconi (Florencia's sister), and 
Raimundo Baeza with his thick eyebrows and his exaggerated smile. I'd met all of them during that year.
We had two semesters to prepare ourselves by taking practice tests and answering the usual multiple-
choice questions. We were paralyzed by the idea that the rest of our lives would be defined by a single
three-day exam. Our only goal was to do whatever it took to increase our scores on that exalted, famous,
feared, arbitrary, and -- at the time -- detested assessment of future success that was the Prueba de
Aptitud Académica, for we belonged to the hopeless group who'd scored in the 400 600 range. Those
who'd triumphed by breaking the 700-point barrier were going on to college, while the gates of Higher
Education had been slammed in our faces for at least another year.Sometimes I would take the Metro to
the Universidad Católica station, where I'd get off and just look at the big Casa Central. I'd stare at the 
students walking out into the sun, their faces lit up with happiness and their notebooks emblazoned with
the pontifical logo. I was on the outside looking in. Those people had something I didn't have. Plus, they
probably didn't even realize what they had, because you're only conscious of things like that when you
don't have them. I couldn't deal with the fact that most of my friends, acquaintances, and former
classmates had managed to get accepted, leaving me on the edge, on the fringe, on the fuckin'
sideline.The teachers at the prep school insisted to us that this was nothing more than a stepping-stone
and didn't have anything to do with our abilities as students. Plus, a year to mature would do us good.
Even so -- or maybe even because of that -- we felt like losers. And when you feel like a loser, you start
to act like a loser. You're overcome by envy, your soul jumps out of you, it takes you over, it shakes you
until it controls you. When you envy someone, you feel it so much that you stop feeling everything else.
That year, I envied people I didn't even know. Those who scored in the nation's upper echelons had their
names printed in the papers and were shown on TV. You could see the little geniuses in their homes,
with their TVs and proud grandmothers in their living rooms. The moral imperative was: grow up, take the
lead, and come...
Author Bio
Alberto Fuguet
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.

								
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