Winner of an English PEN Award
‘He is not a good writer, thank goodness. He is a great one’ Jonathan Safran Foer
A gripping novel about an unusual family’s breakdown, set in 1950s-60s South America
Loosely based on real events, Affections tells the story of the eccentric, fascinating Ertl family, headed by the egocentric and extraordinary Hans, once Leni Riefenstahl’s famous cameraman and Rommel’s ‘personal photographer’. Having fled Germany shortly after the country’s defeat in the war, the family now lives in Bolivia. However, shortly after their arrival Hans – an enthusiastic adventurer and mountaineer – decides to embark on an expedition in search of Paititi, a legendary Inca city. The failure of their outlandish quest into the depths of the Amazon rainforest proves fateful, initiating the end of a family whose subsequent voyage of discovery ends up eroding everything which once held it together.
Against the backdrop of the both optimistic and violent 1950s and 1960s, Affections traces the Ertls’ inevitable breakdown through the various erratic trajectories of each family member – from Hans and his constant engagement in colossal projects, to his daughter Monika, heir to his adventurous spirit, who joins the Bolivian Marxist guerrillas and becomes known as ‘Che Guevara’s avenger’ – and the story of a woman in search of herself, the story of the heartrending relationship between a father and a daughter, the story of a family adrift.
‘Hasbun’s writing has a strange power. He likes to reach into the darkest places. Reading him is like… a journey to the brink of an abyss’ El Pais
This is one of those books that you can immediately see as a film... It's strangely moving. Evening Standard A Bolivian novelist explores the inner lives of a real exiled Nazi and his Marxist assassin daughter... intriguing Financial Times A finely atmospheric book... admirably translated... written with... elegance and understanding -- Allan Massie The Scotsman Beautifully translated by Sophie Hughes, Affections is a richly atmospheric and evocative portrait of fractured familial bonds that takes the reader into the darkness where the protagonists dwell The National A coming-of-age story with a hand grenade at its heart National Geographic Lyrical and starkly realistic The Lady It's taut, it's a little strange... but it says a lot Bookbag What makes this book such a first-class work is the complexity of the relationships The Modern Novel An elegantly put together family chronicle and beautifully translated... Fascinating and a pleasure to read A Fiction Habit (blog) [Rodrigo Hasbun] weaves a disparate narrative, that highlights different moments in the lives of all members of this family Word by Word He is not a good writer, thank goodness. He is a great one Jonathan Safran Foer A splendid short novel El mundo The conciseness of the prose... suggests much more than the story itself tells Babelia Rodrigo Hasbun's writing has a strange power El Pais Dark, deep, disturbing. No concessions, no sweeteners: here everything hurts. Through this ably crafted family saga, Hasbun manages to explore the permanent conflicts and contradictions of a whole nation. -- Andres Neuman In Affections, a family elegy is woven into an epitaph for the radical politics of South America and the result is an act of literary hypnosis you won't soon forget Adam Haslett Affections is charged by a bright kaleidoscope of perspectives, the voices of exiles, a post-war German family in Bolivia. The father's past, a centrifugal pulse, propels the outward direction of Hasbun's dark, stunning novel. Hasten has spun a tale of displacement, of political turmoil, in which the characters' motives are as complicated as the Bolivian jungle they explore. The reader's journey through this novel, like its characters', feels both actual and impossible. It's a fascinating book Lynne Tillman
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