South of Centre cover This novel fuses Chilean humour and eclectic characters with questions about destiny and social justice. The fast-moving plot weaves through unresolved relationships, highlights cultural and class differences and incorporates touches of magic realism. Read the reviews…

At the edge of Chile’s Atacama Desert, a solitary spinster refuses to let her “Latino Clark Gable” die in peace and she weaves him into a bizarre tapestry.

Clorinda, a solitary 28-year old with a preternatural talent for fabric, becomes obsessed with an elderly Sr. Ortega when he moves in across the street. He finally befriends her and she cleverly incorporates the details of his cultivated life into her own mundane existence. As she manipulates the threads, Sr. Ortega’s life is defined by the story she interprets.

As a youth, Sr. Ortega makes an audacious escape from the life of an impoverished miner to enter a world of corruption and wealth. His adventures take him to Chile’s capital of Santiago, to Bolivia, Peru, and to Canada before he finally returns to settle in the bags of wool at Clorinda’s feet.

Over the course of their friendship, Clorinda and Ortega become entangled in the colourful lives of unlikely characters and events that loop back and forth through Chile’s recent past. Pinochet’s dictatorship, connections with gypsies and miners, and ritual offerings to virgins bind the two characters more closely than they will ever know.

Read the first three chapters
Buy the book