A curious novel set in FRANCE
South of Centre
Era(s): before and after the Pinochet Regime
South of Centre sets out to expose the truth behind the relationship of an obsessive spinster who lives at the edge of Chile’s Atacama Desert, and an exotic, elderly gentleman who returns there to die.
Clorinda becomes obsessed with Sr. Ortega after she sees him move in across the street. When he finally befriends her, the unlikely story behind their relationship begins to unravel, taking us for a spin through the decades before and after Chile’s dictatorship.
Sr. Ortega, born a poor miner’s son at the end of a long line of faded Spanish aristocracy, defies destiny at the age of 15. His single audacious impulse provokes a series of events that take him far beyond his dusty, coastal hometown, and back again.
Dressed in her ‘calendar wardrobe,’ Clorinda recycles fibres from used garments to create beautiful tapestries. Obsessed as she is with Sr. Ortega, she picks through the threads of his life to weave his story into a bizarre work of art that can have only one fate.
Full of quirky humor, mythology and tragic circumstances, South of Centre is sprinkled with magic realism. Its underlying questions cut through decades of change and bring us to a point of unexpected reality.
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