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.
“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), Italian (Gran Via, 2021), Audio/Spanish (Scribd, 2021).