Caroline is seven years old when her family flees Pinochet’s regime, leaving Chile for Montreal on Christmas Eve, 1986. She fears Santa won’t find them on the plane but wakes to find a new doll at her side, her mother preserving the holiday even amidst persecution and turmoil. This symbol of care is repeated throughout their relocation as her parents work tirelessly to provide the family with a new vision of the future.
Once in Canada, Caroline accompanies her parents as they clean banks at night. She experiences racist microaggressions at school, discovers Québécois popular culture, and explores her love of reading and writing in French. Slowly, the Andean peaks disappear from Caroline’s drawings and a fracture between her parents’ identity and her own begins to grow.
This expansive coming-of-age autobiographical novel probes the plurality of identity, elucidating the interwoven complexities of immigrating to a new country. As the Andes Disappeared tenderly reflects the journey of millions and is a beautiful ode to family commitment and the importance of home—however layered that may be.
Praise for As the Andes Disappeared:
“In As the Andes Disappeared, Caroline Dawson achieves a rare feat—the expression of exile as experienced by a child. Poignantly, vividly, through Anita Anand’s perfect translation of Dawson’s elegant and easy-flowing prose, we are drawn into the world of a girl plucked out of Chile and its overwhelming cordillera, and dropped into the emotional, physical, and linguistic space of 1980s Québec. Memory, whether inherited, remembered, lived, or made anew, is at the core of this utterly human and beautifully written novel. An essential addition to Canadian culture.”—Beatriz Hausner, author of She Who Lies Above and Beloved Revolutionary Sweetheart
“This beautiful, poetic book vividly captures an immigrant experience that drew me in from the very first sentence to the very last. As an immigrant myself, I saw my own experiences mirrored similarly. I’m so grateful to have read this and I hope you will, too.” —Hasan Namir, author of Umbilical Cord and War/Torn
“The power of this largely autobiographical novel lies in its refusal to let anger give rise to gratitude. Nor is gratitude permitted to soften the rage of knowing that the comfort of the rich continues to be built with the egregiously paid labour of those who cannot push back.” —Le Devoir
“There are books that make us better people, and Dawson’s is among them.” —Michel Marc Bouchard, le Combat national des livres de Radio-Canada
“When exactly does a child from Chile, an immigrant to Québec, cease including the Andes in the background of her drawings? What parts of us are erased as we construct our identities? With sensitivity, humour and engaging lucidity, Dawson’s autobiographical novel shows us that there are many lived realities and that it is essential to be attentive to everyone’s experience. To read As the Andes Disappeared is to acquire tools to understand the Other and to confront one’s own perceptions of society.” —Marc-Étienne Brien, Librairie Biblairie GGC
Most Anticipated: Our 2023 Fall Fiction Preview —49th Shelf
2023 Fall Preview: Fiction and Short Fiction —Quill & Quire
“Chilean-born, Montreal-based author and sociology teacher Caroline Dawson digs up and grieves such disowned fragments of self in her gripping autobiographical novel, skillfully translated by Anita Anand from the original French Là où je me terre (2020). In this powerful coming-of-age story, a fictionalized “Caroline” shares memories of her family’s immigration, raising issues of social injustice and racism while reviewing her own cultural integration with candour, humour, and depth.”—Kimberly Bourgeois, Montreal Review of Books
“What begins as an intimate, intergenerational portrait of a family taking refuge is ultimately a story of one woman’s politicization, self-discovery, and literary beginnings. Sitting somewhere between a memoir, a novel, and a love letter to decades of women who came before her, As the Andes Disappeared is a bold, beautiful, and tender account of becoming a writer.” —Quill & Quire