South of Centre
Andrea Carter, Sep 24, 2010 - Fiction - 302 pages
At the edge of Chile's Atacama Desert, a solitary spinster refuses to let her "Latino Clark Gable" die in peace and she weaves him into a bizarre tapestry. Clorinda, a solitary 28-year old with a preternatural talent for fabric, becomes obsessed with an elderly Sr. Ortega when he moves in across the street. He finally befriends her and she cleverly incorporates the details of his cultivated life into her own mundane existence. As she manipulates the threads, Sr. Ortega's life is defined by the story she interprets. As a youth, Sr. Ortega makes an audacious escape from the life of an impoverished miner to enter a world of corruption and wealth. His adventures take him to Chile's capital of Santiago, to Bolivia, Peru, and to Canada before he finally returns to settle in the bags of wool at Clorinda's feet. Over the course of their friendship, Clorinda and Ortega become entangled in the colourful lives of unlikely characters and events that loop back and forth through Chile's recent past. Pinochet's dictatorship, connections with gypsies and miners, and ritual offerings to virgins bind the two characters more closely than they will ever know. South of Centre is a cultural fiction with a touch of magic realism that fuses South American humour and a group of eclectic characters with underlying questions about destiny, social justice, origins of cultural oddities and unresolved relationships.
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