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A dazzling novel about the traces we leave, the traces we erase and the traces we seek to rebuild.

In this innovative novel three losses and three quests are pursued. English writer Aliza Abravanel tries, in a battle with aphasia, to finish her book. A last indigenous speaker is confronted with the fading of his culture and language while an anthropologist struggles to prevent it. And through the construction of an esoteric theatre of memory, a survivor of the Guatemalan genocide of the 1970s and ’80s seeks to recover the memories lost after the traumas of war. And behind these three threads lies the narrator’s own story: Julio, a disillusioned university professor, must try to understand and complete his friend Aliza’s novel, and come to terms with a past he shared with her but has blanked for thirty years.

From the Guatemalan wilderness to the high Peruvian Amazon, passing through Nueva Germania, the anti-Semitic commune founded in Paraguay by Nietzsche’s sister, Austral takes us on a long journey south, following a trail of ecological and cultural destruction to excavate contemporary xenophobia.


Carlos Fonseca was born in Costa Rica in 1987, brought up in Puerto Rico and studied in the USA. He was selected by the Hay Festival as part of the Bogotá 39 group (2016), by Granta magazine as one of the twenty-five best young Spanish-language writers (2021) and by Encyclopaedia Britannica as one of the twenty most promising writers in the world for their ‘Young Shapers of the Future’ (2022). He is the author of Colonel Lágrimas, Natural History, and Austral, all translated by Megan McDowell. His novels have been translated into more than ten languages. He is a lecturer at the University of Cambridge, where he is a fellow of Trinity College.


May 30th - 5:00pm

Jenny Erpenbeck and Carlos Fonseca talk to Daniel Hahn
Hay Festival

April 1 - 6:00pm

Carlos Fonseca interviewed by Boyd Tonkin
Oxford Literary Festival
Letter A in orange crayon


Short Story “Art Brut” in The Brooklyn Rail
Short Story “The Last” in Litro
Excerpt of Colonel Lágrimas in The Guardian
“Ruins in Reverse” from Granta 155, Best of Young Spanish Language Novelists 2
“Welcome to the Jungle” Review in the TLS of Pilar Quintana’s Abyss
On the Work and Legacy of Ricardo Piglia in Lit Hub
Conversation with Ilan Stavans in Lit Hub
Conversation with Gunter Silva in Words Without Borders
“This Is as Far as We Come” from Granta 162



Joshua Porter
Farrar, Straus and Giroux
120 Broadway, 24th Floor
New York, NY 10271


Sandra Pareja
Casanovas & Lynch Literary Agency S.L.
Balmes 209, 6-2, 08006 Barcelona
+34 93 212 4791