Accompanying her mother for neurological exams, the narrator of this book recognizes the images of brain activity projected on the monitor as similar to the celestial images one is familiar with. From that finding, Nona Fernández begins in this, her first narrative essay, to scrutinize the mechanisms of planetary and human memory. Weaving together the story of her mother’s illness with the story of her country and of the cosmos itself, Fernández braids astronomy and astrology, neuroscience and memory, family history and national history into this intensely imagined autobiographical essay. Scrutinizing the workings of personal, civic, and stellar memory, she seeks to recover what people and countries often prefer to forget. In her first work of nonfiction, Fernández has found a new container for her profound and surreal reckonings with the past.
‘Extraordinary… Astronomy; astrology; astrophysics; neuroscience — each of these is incorporated into a dizzying but sublime poetics that holds Voyager together, like a constellation woven into the fabric of the night sky.’ Financial Times
‘A captivating memoir that not only offers a deeper understanding of one of Chile’s most acclaimed writers, but also a new insight into the history & resilience of the Chilean people.’ New Statesman
“Chilean actor and novelist Fernández braids the mystery of the mind with the cosmos in this roving memoir.” Publishers Weekly
‘Nona Fernández packs a lot into 140 pages, looping through memory, stars and the dead. Fortunately she is an excellent writer, beautifully translated here by Natasha Wimmer, and, like vertebrae in the hands of a well-trained forensic anthropologist, everything falls into place.’ Times Literary Supplement
“Fernández is an expert at weaving seemingly disparate topics together, at finding their common threads.” Literary Hub
“Fernández’s attention to individual acts of resistance, like her grandmother’s, suggests that preserving memories is one way to fight back. Voyager is Fernández’s effort to do that, a written “space-time capsule” she can send to the future, because there is much we need to remember.” Chicago Review of books
‘She is a writer like no other. Her hypnotic rumblings move swiftly from autobiographical remembrances to poetic flights of fancy without skipping a beat.’ New Welsh Review
‘A scintillating autobiographical essay.’ The Bookseller, Editor’s Choice
“Fernández travels in a cosmos where the intimate dimension of daily life, Greek myths, astronomy, astrology, medical science, dreams and nightmares and the recent Chilean history find space in […]a solid and perfect construction.” IL MANIFESTO (Italian Edition)
“A work … about the fragility and importance of memories as the threads that shape our personal and social identities.” – El Mercurio
“Nona Fernández climbs up to the stars to search for the roots of memory. The entire universe turns into the canvas for the memory of all of us.” – Leonardo Sanhueza
“Her words vibrate in her writing, just as the constellations shine from the sky.” – Revista ROSA
180 pages – Original Language: Spanish (Penguin Random House 2019) – Foreign Editions: World English (Graywolf Press, 2023), English/Uk and Commonwealth (Daunt Books, 2023), French (Editions Globe, 2024), Italian (Gran Via, 2021), Audio/Spanish (Scribd, 2021).