Never Did the Fire by Diamela Eltit, translated by Daniel Hahn / ISBN 9781913867218 / 136-page paperback with flaps from Charco Press (Edinburgh) / brand new copy discounted due to corner damage from inbound shipping
Never Did the Fire unfolds in the humdrum of everyday working class existence, making the afterlife of an agitator that of anyone living next door. For one old couple, brought together years ago in an underground cell, the revolution has ended in a small apartment, a grinding job caring for the bodies of the unwell well-to-do, and all the aches and pains that go with a long life and a long marriage. Untethered from the political action that defined them, and mourning the loss of their child, their bonds dissolve, but the consequences of their former life, and their dependence on each other, won't let them go.A literary icon in Chile and a major figure in the anti-Pinochet resistance, Diamela Eltit is at the height of her powers in this novel of breakdowns. Never Did the Fire evokes the charged air of Chile's violent past, and the burdens it carries into the present-day, when the structures we built, and the ones we succumbed to, no longer offer us any comfort or prospect of salvation.
Diamela Eltit is one of Latin America’s most daring writers. During the Pinochet dictatorship, she participated in the collective CADA, staging art actions against the dictatorship, and publishing her first novels to acclaim. She is currently the Distinguished Global Professor of Creative Writing in Spanish at NYU. She lives in Chile and New York.
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