Multiple Choice

Paperback | July 19, 2016

byAlejandro ZambraTranslated byMegan Mcdowell

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“Latin America’s new literary star.” The New Yorker

Brilliant . . . Like a literary exercise for the mind, but strangely fun to decode." —Elle

“The most talked-about writer to come out of Chile since Bolaño,” (The New York Times Book Review), Alejandro Zambra is celebrated around the world for his strikingly original, slyly funny, daringly unconventional fiction. Now, at the height of his powers, Zambra returns with his most audaciously brilliant book yet.

Written in the form of a standardized test, Multiple Choice invites the reader to respond to virtuoso language exercises and short narrative passages through multiple-choice questions that are thought-provoking, usually unanswerable, and often absurd. It offers a new kind of reading experience, one in which the reader participates directly in the creation of meaning, and the nature of storytelling itself is called into question. At once funny, poignant, and political, Multiple Choice is about love and family, authoritarianism and its legacies, and the conviction that, rather than learning to think for ourselves, we are trained to obey and repeat. Serious in its literary ambition and playful in its execution, it confirms Alejandro Zambra as one of the most important writers working in any language.

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From the Publisher

NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE SUMMER BY THE WALL STREET JOURNAL, ELLE, THE HUFFINGTON POST, THE MILLIONS, VOX, BBC, AND PUREWOW“Latin America’s new literary star.” —The New Yorker“Brilliant . . . Like a literary exercise for the mind, but strangely fun to decode." —Elle“The most talked-about writer to come out of Chile since Bolañ...

Alejandro Zambra is the author of the story collection My Documents, which was a finalist for the Frank O'Connor International Short Story Award, and three previous novels: Ways of Going Home, The Private Lives of Trees, and Bonsai. His books have been translated into more than ten languages. He has received numerous prizes in Chile, i...

other books by Alejandro Zambra

My Documents
My Documents

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The Private Lives of Trees
The Private Lives of Trees

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Ways of Going Home: A Novel
Ways of Going Home: A Novel

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see all books by Alejandro Zambra
Format:PaperbackDimensions:128 pages, 7.49 × 5.51 × 0.37 inPublished:July 19, 2016Publisher:Penguin Publishing GroupLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0143109197

ISBN - 13:9780143109198

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Editorial Reviews

"A brilliant, book-length meditation on the limits of meaning, or the lack thereof. Formatted as an SAT-style test, Multiple Choice uses the form of the dreaded standardized test to create a philosophical playground for readers that’s anything but standard." —Huffington Post, "22 Summer 2016 Books You Won't Want To Miss""Brilliant . . . Like a literary exercise for the mind, but strangely fun to decode. Keep yourself sharp with one of the most interesting writers working right now." —Elle, "19 Summer Books That Everyone Will Be Talking About""Witty and experimental . . . It’s like taking a test by a test writer gone mad." —Vox, "18 New Books to Read This Summer""Zambra’s stories are both playful and profound. . . . His comic timing is impeccable." —BBC, "10 Books to Read in July""An exercise in flouting literary conventions . . . This sly slender book is divided into 90 multiple-choice questions suggesting that how we respond to a story depends on where the writer places narrative stress. The witty follow-up questions suggest that the true beauty of fiction is that it has no use for pat answers." —The Millions, "Most Anticipated: The Great Second-Half 2016 Book Preview""The perfect next step for an author who has always specialized in short, lyric works and who has increasingly embraced a hybrid genre of fiction that sort of acts like a novel but kind of looks like a short story collection . . . [The] multiple choice questions . . . are in fact tiny, deconstructed narratives." —Literary Hub, "21 Books You Should Read This July""As exciting as it is mind-bending . . . Zambra’s novel is wildly inventive and utterly confusing in the best way possible." —PureWow“Amusing and unexpected . . .  In just a few pages [Zambra] manages to be repeatedly engaging, smart, funny, and sad." —Publishers Weekly"Consistently witty and provocative . . . True or false: can effective fiction be written in the format of a standardized test? Answer: pretty much, and few are as equipped to do it as well as Chilean writer Zambra." —Kirkus Reviews“Zambra is the defining light of today’s Latin American literature—an author whose cult is about to take over, the one we'll all be congratulating ourselves on having known about in the early days, before his deceptively slender masterpieces lay on every American reader's night table. Multiple Choice is the most daring distillation yet of his inimitable, take-no-prisoners genius.” —John Wray, author of The Lost Time Accidents “When I read Zambra I feel like someone’s shooting fireworks inside my head. His prose is as compact as a grain of gunpowder, but its allusions and ramifications branch out and illuminate even the most remote corners of our minds.” —Valeria Luiselli, author of The Story of My Teeth“Zambra builds an elegant structure out of the important elements of life—competition, pride, vigor, death, sex—against a landscape of political menace. Read his book and, as with all true art, you'll be left wondering what it means but feeling that you know.” —Atticus Lish, author of Preparation for the Next Life “Multiple Choice is unlike anything I've ever encountered before. With his test questions and answers, the incomparable Alejandro Zambra creates verbal playgrounds for reverie, imagination, thought, and memory, and leads you through labyrinthine corridors in which you inevitably encounter yourself. Reading this book is a wonderfully disconcerting and unforgettable experience.”  —Francisco Goldman, author of Say Her Name"There is no writer like Alejandro Zambra, no one as bold, as subtle, as funny. Multiple Choice is his most accomplished work yet, an apparently playful literary game you quickly realize is also deadly serious. This book is not to be missed." —Daniel Alarcón, author of At Night We Walk In Circles“Falling in love with Zambra’s literature is a fascinating road to travel. Imaginative and original, he is a master of short forms; I adore his devastating audacity.” —Enrique Vila-Matas, author of The Illogic of Kassel"I loved Multiple Choice. I hate exams, but I've sat this one a few times already. I'd give it an A-. The minus for being too smart and getting away with it." —Stuart Evers, author of Your Father Sends His Love"As slim as Chile herself. As serrated and complex as her riddled coastline. There's so much to admire and enjoy in this dazzling little book." —Gavin Corbett, author of Green Glowing SkullPraise for My DocumentsNamed one of the best books of 2015 by James Wood ( and John Freeman (The Boston Globe)A New York Times Book Review Editor’s ChoiceFinalist for the Frank O'Connor International Short Story Award “All of [Zambra’s books] are very short and strikingly original . . . In his new book, Zambra returns to the twin sources of his talent—to his storytelling vitality, that living tree which blossoms often in these pages, and to his unsparing examination of recent Chilean history.”  —James Wood, The New Yorker “The most talked-about writer to come out of Chile since Bolaño . . . [Zambra’s] generous stories satisfy our demand for narrative even as they question it.” —Natasha Wimmer, The New York Times Book Review “Zambra’s books have long shown him to be a writer who, at the sentence level, is in a world all his own....[My Documents burns] brighter than most anything we’d call exceptional, yesterday or today and in any language.” —NPR“This dynamite collection of stories has it all—Chile and Belgium, exile and homecomings, Pinochet and Simon and Garfunkel—but what I love most about the tales is their strangeness, their intelligence, and their splendid honesty.” —Junot Díaz, author of This Is How You Lose Her “Zambra is so alert to the intimate beauty and mystery of being alive that in his hands a raindrop would feel as wide as a world.” —Anthony Marra, author of A Constellation of Vital Phenomena  “My Documents is an act of literary levitation—luminous, magical and profound, written with the mysterious quality of weightlessness.” —Jess Walter, author of Beautiful Ruins