El tercer paraíso
Miami: Alfaguara, Penguin Random House Grupo Editorial, 2022. First Edition. Paperback. 295p., indices, wrps. New. Item #78487
Premio Alfaguara de novel 2022
The 2020 confinement is approaching and the protagonist is tempted to retire to his cabin on the outskirts of Buenos Aires to face whatever may come from there. While he waits, he cultivates a garden with all kinds of plants and flowers. His love for nature leads him to investigate the formation of scientific thought, the birth of botany and the great adventure of the European expeditions of the 18th century. At the same time, he recalls the history of his family, which was uprooted from its roots in Daglipulli, Chile, by the Pinochet dictatorship.
Little by little, this unique setting is flooded by the memory of the humble dahlias that his grandmother Alba planted, the exuberant and threatening presence of the Amazon jungle that Humboldt encountered in 1799, and the controlled security of the hybrids that he now buys in nurseries. In this paradise in different degrees of conservation, the natural landscape of the Southern Cone becomes a fundamental character, with its own rhythms, with the traces left by the men who tried to populate it. History, botany and the family story come together in it and mark the character of the protagonist, his life choices and his way of being in the world.
This novel is a luminous story about the daily life of an individual but also about the collective tragedies that lie in wait for us. The small, the simple, that personal paradise that we build as a refuge is also, ultimately, what always saves us.