Luis Sepúlveda

Chile

© literarische agentur mertin

 

Born in northern Chile in 1949, Luis Sepúlveda is the bestselling author of the longseller The Story of a Seagull and the Cat Who Taught Her to Fly, which sold over five million copies worldwide. He has many highly acclaimed literary awards to his name, among others the Primavera de Novela Prize, the Taormina Prize 2014 and the Hemingway Lugnano Sabbiadoro Prize 2016, and has written short stories, novellas, plays, radioplays and essays. Due to his political activities in the students’ movement Luis Sepúlveda had to leave Chile during the Pinochet dictatorship. Since 1997 he lives in Gijón, Spain. His books have been translated into over 40 languages.

 

In Luis Sepúlveda's new novel El Fin de la Historia („The End of the Story“), sniper Juan Belmonte returns to his hometown of Santiago. Actually, he would prefer to stay in the south of Chile with his girlfriend. During the dictatorship of Pinochet, Verónica was tortured in the notorious Villa Grimaldi by a Russian officer, a Cossack. Now, a client blackmails him: either he accepts a last mission, or ways will be found to destroy his life. His task is to look for a couple of men. His client believes that their goal is to free the Cossack from his luxury prison in order to act as a figurehead in the creation of an independent Cossack state in Russia. Against the backdrop of a stunning storyline, the threads finally run together in a surprising twist. When Belmonte has the Russian in his sights, the question arises: will he avenge his girlfriend?

In this explosive and carefully researched thriller that cleverly uncovers the international entanglements of perpetrators of crimes against humanity, Sepúlveda again demonstrates his outstanding narrative gift, his unshakable humour, but also his quieter poetic vein.

 

 

In his new novel Historia de un perro llamado Leal (“The Story of a Dog Called Loyal“), the bestselling author takes us with him to his roots, to the lands of the Mapuche, bringing the culture and values of the indigenous inhabitants in South America closer to his readers.

As a puppy, the German shepherd Aufman is separated from his companion Aukamañ, a young Mapuche. From then on, Aufman lives an unhappy life. One day his new owners injure the Mapuche and Aufman tries to mislead the group to save his friend. A story about friendship and solidarity, but also about respect for each other and for nature, about humour and about acceptance of foreign peoples.

 

 

Bestselling author Luis Sepúlveda presents us with another beautiful cross-over title: Historia de un caracol que descubrió la importancia de la lentitud (“The Story of a Snail Who Discovered the Importance of Being Slow”): The snail Rebelde doesn’t have an easy life: because of his awkward questions, he is banished by his group. Travelling the world on his own, Rebelde makes new friends and gains wisdom along the way. When he realises his group is in mortal danger, however, he returns home without hesitation. But will they listen to his warning? A hymn to being different and to solidarity. The book sold over 450,000 copies in Italy.

 

A hymn to the benefits of slowness in these hectic times, this lively tale will leave a scintillating trace embedded in your memory.

Le Figaro littéraire

 

This fable is intended for all those who are chasing time, whilst forgetting the importance of remembering and yet dreaming of stopping along the way.

Télérama

 

 

Historia de Mix, de Max, y de Mex (“The Story of Mix, of Max, and of Mex”) can be read in the same line as Sepúlveda‘s best- and longest-selling The Story of a Seagull and the Cat Who Taught Her to Fly, capturing the hearts of young and old alike.

When the kitten Mix gets stuck up a tree, Max tries to save him, but ends up stuck himself. From then on, the two are unseparable, learning the lessons of life together. When Mix goes blind, he makes friends with the mouse Mex, who in return for his name lends the cat his eyes. For friendship means sharing the best that we have. Apparently simple, this cleverly composed book is full of wisdom.

 

An ode to friendship.

Libertà

 

Luis Sepúlveda has the poetic gift of bringing the essential to life.

La Stampa

 

This simple but enthralling fable about different kinds of friendship, even the most improbable, will move young and old alike.

Elle

 

 

Sepúlveda’s most successful novel to date is the story of Antonio José Bolívar Proaño, an old man who reads love stories, Un viejo que leía novelas de amor. The old man lives in El Idilio, a small village in the Amazon region, on which civilization is slowly encroaching. With great suspense the author describes the conflict caused by the confrontation between nature and civilization, without, however, glorifying nature or the life of the Indians.

 

The old Man who read Love Stories is magical, thanks to the author’s skill at describing jungle life. Readers will be enchanted by this finely wrought tale.

David Unger, THE NEW YORK TIMES

 

35 years on from Pinochet's putsch, the three former exiles Cacho, Lolo and Lucho meet up again in their home of Chile, as La sombra de lo que fuimos (“A Shadow of What We Were”): pot-bellied, balding and grey-bearded. They are reunited in a tumbledown shack, but at least they have wine and fried chicken. The three men's plan is to finally unearth a treasure the police have never tracked down: the loot from the famous bank robbery of 16 July 1925, its anniversary fast approaching.

While they wait for the grandson of Pedro Nolasco Arratia, who was directly involved in the heist itself, a marital row is brewing at the home of Coco Aravena and his wife Concha, with all sorts of domestic appliances flying out of the window. An unfortunate passer-by is killed by a falling record player, and even more unfortunately that passer-by is Pedro's grandson, the fourth friend in on the plan. Coco shall go instead of him and is recognized as an old comrade, amazing his re-found friends with the story he tells. And they decide to go all out one last time: "Well? Are we all in then? -Lolo Garmendia asked, and they raised their glasses in unison on that rainy night in Santiago."

Early next morning, they make their way into the Café Dragón Feliz, where they actually find the money and documents they had suspected there and this time the press reports on the story in all detail. Coco and his wife, meanwhile, leave the interrogation a free man and woman, holding hands like a love-struck young couple. On this 16 July, they say, it even stopped raining in Santiago.

Affectionate, funny and with a good pinch of irony, Sepúlveda's novel tells of society's losers, who have never lost their faith in humour and love  and so end up as winners after all.

 

An amazing book, a mixture of heartbreak and humour.

The Huffington Post

 

Sepúlveda’s magical prose becomes a tense masterpiece, drawing as much from Hemingway as from the tradition of magical realism.

The Times

 

Those who don’t know Sepúlveda yet will delight in this authentic, pure and powerful narrator.

El País

 

The enchanting story of a little seagull and a big black fat cat, Historia de una gaviota y del gato que le enseñó a volar (“The Story of a Seagull and of the Cat Who Taught Her to fly”), which takes place in the harbour of Hamburg, Sepúlveda’s “home”-town for many years. The book has become one of the favourites of young and adult readers and is a bestseller in many countries all over the world until today.

 

A charming tale of devotion, courage and the importance of keeping one’s word.

Publishers Weekly

 

 

Luis Sepúlveda's project Últimas noticias del Sur ("Last News from the South"), a book combining texts and photos reading like a novel, has its roots in a journey to Patagonia undertaken with the well-known photographer Daniel Mordzinski. Describing beautiful encounters in a magical landscape, the authors evoke a Patagonia lost, making the reader feel a little bit closer to heaven.

 

Sepúlveda’s readers are aware of his great passion: travelling, wandering through the world, observing its peoples and listening to their stories. But the author has another passion, you could say in symbiosis with the first one, which is, that he loves to tell stories his way, stories he has heard elsewhere, and others which, thanks to his overwhelming narrative capacity, enrich reality, transforming them into literature like in Patagonia Express or in Desencuentros (“Disencounters”).

 

Together with Mario Delgado Aparaín, Sepúlveda wrote Los peores cuentos de los hermanos Grim (“The worst Stories of the Grim Brothers”), a humorous epistolary novel. A Patagonian and a Uruguayan professor mean to investigate the life of Caín and Abel, two musicians and poets of the early 20th century. Feeling extremely important, they mainly talk about women, alcohol and money, witty parody of history, science and adventure stories

 

In La lámpara de Aladino ("Aladdin's Wonderlamp ") Luis Sepúlveda once again spirits the reader into the magical world of his storytelling. He stretches a broad sky above his cast of characters: clouds heavy with snow above a Hamburg station where the homeless and the lovesick seek a little warmth. The green leafy roof of the Amazonas, which slowly but surely overgrows a place that was once a haven of friendship. Blinding sunlight over the Rio Carnival, which two women use for a con trick. A starry firmament in the Orient, under which a man dreams of a romantic encounter. The Straights of Magellan and their mountains, in which nature is desolate and life is harsh and simple. The endless vastness of Patagonia, where a lonely tree defies the perpetual winds. The characters are sometimes lonely and sometimes have to go their separate ways. But again and again they stand together in friendship, solidarity and love. And it truly exists, Aladdin's magiclamp which holds  a delightful surprise, not just for its owner.

 

In his new short story collection Historias de aquí y de allá (“Stories from Here and There”), Luis Spúlveda gathers up his recollections of an eventful life. Through his inimitable narrative force, he masterfully transfigures observations and episodes into fascinating stories. In 1990 Sepúlveda returned home for the first time after fourteen years in exile, in his luggage a photo of five children taken coincidentally in the late 1970s. The aim of his journey was to find these children and photograph the group again. He managed to do so, but there was a gap in the picture – one of the children was no longer alive. Taking this boy’s story as his starting point, Sepúlveda writes about the state of Chile after seventeen years of dictatorship, his critical but affectionate and humorous stories set in various Latin American countries sending messages from a world that no longer exists.

 

Literary awards:

Premio Gabriela Mistral de poesía, 1976

Premio Rómulo Gallegos de novella, 1978

Premio Tigre Juan de novella, 1988

Premio de relatos cortos «La Felguera» ,1990

Premio Primavera de Novela, 2009

Taormina Prize, Italy 2014

Hemingway Lugnano Sabbiadoro Prize, Italy 2016

 

 

 

Rights sold in over 40 languages, several film adaptations. Please ask for separate list.

 

Fables:

 

Historia de un perro llamado Leal

Barcelona: Tusquets 2016, 94 p.

Complete English translation by Nick Caistor available

Over 300.000 copies sold in Italy

 

Historia de un caracol que descubrió la importancia de la lentitud

Barcelona: Tusquets, forthcoming

(III. of the German edition by Quint Buchholz)

Complete English translation by Nick Caistor available

Over 450.000 copies sold in Italy

                            

Historia de Mix, de Max, y de Mex

Madrid: Espasa Calpe 2012, 70 p.

Italy: Domus de Janas

 

Historia de una gaviota y del gato que le enseñó a volar

Barcelona: Tusquets 1996, 138 p.

5 million copies sold worldwide

 

Novels:

 

El Fin de la Historia

Barcelona: Tusquets 2017, 199 p.

 

Últimas noticias del Sur

Photos by Daniel Mordzinski

Barcelona: Espasa Calpe 2012, 215 p.

 

La sombra de lo que fuimos

Barcelona: Espasa Calpe 2009, 174 p.

Primavera de Novela Prize 2009

 

Together with Mario Delgado Aparaín:

Los peores cuentos de los hermanos Grim

Barcelona: Roca 2004 Buenos Aires: Seix Barral 2004, 220 p

 

Hot Line

Barcelona: Ediciones B 2001, 94 p.

 

Diario de un killer sentimental seguido de Yacaré

Barcelona: Tusquets 1998, 140 p.

 

Nombre de torero

Barcelona: Tusquets 1994, 223 p.

 

Mundo del fin del mundo

Barcelona: Tusquets 1989, 145 p.

 

Un viejo que leía novelas de amor

Barcelona: Tusquets 1989, 137 p.

 

 

Stories:

 

El uzbeko mudo y otras historias clandestinas

Sold in France, Greece, Italy, Poland, Portugal

 

Historias de aquí y de allá

Barcelona: Norma 2010, 138 p.

 

La lámpara de Aladino

Barcelona: Tusquets 2008, 174 p.

 

Historias marginales

Barcelona: Seix Barral 2000, 153 p.

 

Desencuentros

Barcelona: Tusquets 1997, 240 p.

 

Patagonia Express

Barcelona: Tusquets 1995, 178 p.          

 

 

Other texts:

 

Vivere per qualcosa

Milan: Guanda 2017, 93 p.

 

Un’idea di felicità

Milan: Guanda 2014, 168 p.

 

Escritura en tiempos de crisis

Sold in France, Italy, Portugal

 

Los calzoncillos de Carolina Huechuraba

Santiago de Chile: Aún creemos en los sueños 2006, 66 p.

 

El poder de los sueños

Santiago de Chile: Aún creemos en los sueños 2004, 63 p.

 

Moleskine, apuntes y reflexiones

Barcelona: Ed. B 2004, 268 p.

 

La locura de Pinochet y otros artículos

Gijón: Literastur 2002, 100 p.

 

 

Participation in anthologies:

 

Poesie senza patria

Italy: Guanda 2003

 

Tu nombre flotando en el adiós

Barcelona: Ediciones B 2003

 

Cuentos del mar

Barcelona: Ediciones B 2001

 

Cuentos apátridas

Barcelona: Ediciones B 1999