Not all good novels have to be long. There are times when you read a book and wish it was not that short. I have read “Bonsai” by Alejandro Zambra a couple of times. This was another time that I had to re-read it. “Bonsai” is a love story. It is a story on art and life. It is about life and its misery. It is also about how one can live and how one does. Alejandro Zambra’s debut novel (or actually a novella) is profound and yet funny in some parts. It is a story that is meant to be simple and ends up being extremely complex.
Julio and Emilia are two Chilean university students. Julio loves Emilia. Emilia loves Julio. They both are avid readers. They lie to each other about having read Proust. They read in bed. They are grand when it comes to love and also doubtful and unsure about their love. They drift apart. Emilia then disappears from Chile without a word and that is when the story begins, merging the past and the present. There is also another story within this story and one more which will leave the readers spellbound.
Bonsai of course does have a major role to play in the book and that I will not speak about in my review. Each word is essential. Everything is in place. The writing is accessible. It is melancholic and superlative. This is the kind of book that shows you that you do not need too many words to say what you want to. The tragic end of the story and the way it begins is enough for the reader to know that he or she is sold. The book is edgy, will be a treat for literary lovers and for those who want to explore the different side of fiction.