VerÃ³nica is late, and JuliÃ¡n is increasingly convinced she won’t ever come home. To pass the time, he improvises a story about trees to coax his stepdaughter, Daniela, to sleep. He has made a life as a literature professor, developing a novel about a man tending to a bonsai tree on the weekends. He is a narrator, an architect, a chronicler of other people’s stories. But as the night stretches on before him, and the hours pass with no sign of VerÃ³nica, JuliÃ¡n finds himself caught up in the slipstream of the story of his life – of their lives together. What combination of desire and coincidence led them here, to this very night? What will the future – and possibly motherless – Daniela think of him and his stories? Why tell stories at all?
Â Â Â The Private Lives of Trees, Alejandro Zambra’s second novel, now published in the UK for the first time in a revised translation by Megan McDowell, overflows with his signature wit and his gift for crafting short novels that manage to contain whole worlds.