Read multiple choice by Alejandro Zambra Megan McDowell Online


Reader, your life is full of choices. Some will bring you joy and others will bring you heartache. Will you choose to cheat (in life, the examination that follows) or will you choose to copy? Will you fall in love? If so, will you remember her name and the number of freckles on her back? Will you marry, divorce, annul? Will you leave your run-down neighbourhood, your long-Reader, your life is full of choices. Some will bring you joy and others will bring you heartache. Will you choose to cheat (in life, the examination that follows) or will you choose to copy? Will you fall in love? If so, will you remember her name and the number of freckles on her back? Will you marry, divorce, annul? Will you leave your run-down neighbourhood, your long-suffering country and your family? Will you honour your dead, those you loved and those you didn't? Will you have a child, will you regret it? Will you tell them you regret it? Will you, when all's said and done, deserve a kick in the balls? Will you find, here, in this slender book, fictions that entertain and puzzle you? Fictions that reflect yourself back to you? Will you find yourself?Relax, concentrate, dispel any anxious thoughts. Let the world around you settle and fade. Are you ready? Now turn over your papers, and begin....

Title : multiple choice
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 31119680
Format Type : Kindle Edition
Number of Pages : 128 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

multiple choice Reviews

  • Elyse
    2019-02-21 01:19

    Did you have 'Test Anxiety' when you were in school?A Yes B No C Sometimes D AlwaysThis teeny-weeny book could take an hour to read --- or weeks. Your choice. You might feel a little intimidated by this tiny pale blue fiction-nonfiction-poetry-all of the of the above-none of the above, book, by Chilean author Alejandro Zamora. Or....You might settle in -and have an awesome and amazing time. Your choice.If you hated taking multiple-choice tests in school, you have a chance to experience taking the tests in this book as an adventure. Breathe, relax, have fun.There are "sentence elimination" sections and short stories to read for "reading comprehension". We are asked - as readers to playfully interact-- and if we do-- we will begin to see under the laughter and silliness, the organize chaos and the limited perception. We may find that answers are correct - but simultaneously invalid. Even by the structure- design of this book --as beautifully clever and crafted as it reminds me of a musical note that's played correctly- but in the wrong score. Paul and I both enjoyed the mental stimulation of taking Zamora's test. It took an hour though to find a #2 pencil in this house.

  • Rebbie
    2019-02-25 22:12

    Very clever indeed! It was a super fast read, although highly enjoyable. I especially love the silent stance the author is taking with the absurdity of (some? all?) standardized testing.

  • Fabian
    2019-02-26 23:14

    A magnificent collision between Dadaism & literature. A radical experiment that depicts a solemn reality behind much artifice and minutiae. It is risky. Overall: one great find for me at the Denver Public Lib! (as usual)

  • Lee
    2019-03-05 01:34

    My first Zambra, other than an interview I translated last year. Quick, clever, painless, joyful, melancholic, unpredictable, clear, cool, refreshing, effervescent -- and therefore like refrigerated lemon-lime seltzer, I guess. At worst felt like a little collection of stories padded by a great formal gimmick, one that I feel like I've seen before (maybe in Fakes: An Anthology of Pseudo-Interviews, Faux-Lectures, Quasi-Letters, "Found" Texts, and Other Fraudulent Artifacts) but I can't remember; at best felt like a collection of stories and suggestions worth rereading to re-encounter the initial questions after the experience of the fuller stories toward the end. Sort of circles around or suggests the times and tribulations of the testmaker, twice divorced, with kids from three marriages, daddy issues of his own, who grew up under the dictator Pinochet, and has a sense of humor and a love for music. Loved the question that was something like "for the story you've just read, which is the worst title, guaranteed to reach the widest possible audience?" The numbers must've been fun to translate, but also all the one-word weighted answer choices, more like poetry than prose. Probably ultimately forgettable considering amount of time spent with it but enjoyable to read over the course of an hour or so in a day and when someone likes this review in a few years I'll re-read this little impression and remember. My first Zambra, but definitely not my last.

  • Trish
    2019-03-23 00:16

    This work is all kinds of novel. Chilean novelist Zambra really puts us through our paces by making us actually participate in the process of his fiction. He gives us choices on how to finish his sentences. He starts simply enough, asking us to decide which word has no relation to the words given. The structure of the book copies the Verbal section of the Chilean Academic Aptitude Test, required of all applicants to university in Chile. Our minds race with the possibilities he’s given us, and we can be as cynical and hard-eyed or hilarious and droll as any teenager in marking the answers and thinking of our own. Next comes “Sentence Order,” and the test-maker is acting like a disaffected teenager himself, his sentences starting out short and perhaps only a little sarcastic, progressing to longer sentences that sound bitter and angry, to his last question featuring a page of sentences we are meant to order, including words like “pain,” and “tumor” and “going from the general to the specific,” and mentioning General Pinochet for the first time.The section marked “Sentence Completion” is pretty easy because the test-maker does not give us as many choices as he might have. He seems almost to be steering us. We can’t just think up answers…he is strong-arming us to conclusions as a result of his sentences. We chafe a little under his direction. In the penultimate section, “Sentence Elimination,” we start getting the feel of the potentiality in this form. Zambia here reminds me of a famous Chekhov monologue called “The Evils of Tobacco.” In that monologue, a distinguished educator who has been asked to give a speech on tobacco veers off topic into the state of his health, what he likes to eat, and how he despairs of his wife. Our test-maker in “Sentence Elimination” starts with short sentences, though they are already evocative, and gradually starts talking about family, a hated father, government eliminations, and other soul-baring terrors. We forget which sentence to eliminate. The final section, “Reading Comprehension,” evokes Saramago. Remember in All the Names Saramago created a government functionary who was supposed to do a boring job filing the names of all the folks who died? That bureaucrat started getting creative, investigating the deaths instead of just filing them away. Well, here our test-maker quite loses his detachment and begins a long confession on how he learned to cheat on tests and how it brought his cheating classmates together…only to further disclose how his classmates lived, loved, played…You get the picture. In the final questions to test comprehension, we see that he has lost all objectivity and is telling us instead what he has learned.Bravo, Zambra. The form fulfills its potential. Translated, by Megan McDowell.

  • David Schaafsma
    2019-03-12 23:10

    Did Alejandro Zambra actually create a novel in the form of a standardized test?!A) Yes, he sure did, modeled on the Chilean Academic Aptitude Test which he himself took in 1993, with 90 multiple choice questions, some of them based on stories included in the testB) No, I’m kidding.C) Chile? That sounds like too cool of a place to have standardized tests!D) None of the aboveE) All of the aboveCorrect answer: AMight you describe this book asA) A tour de force accomplishment?B) A pretentious postmodern experiment?C) A clever commentary on the limitations of such tests to reflect actual meaningful experiences or learning, by implication endorsing storiesD) None of the aboveE) All of the aboveCorrect answer: CDid you find itA) really funny?B) Touching, sometimes moving?C) D is always correctD) The kid next to me marked C, and he is good at these tests, so I should mark CE) StupidCorrect answer: Oh, why does it have to be one answer?! Why do these tests always include answers that, if you thought more deeply, could be correct as well as the one the testmakers thought on the basis of their quick and careless work was correct and now these idiots making billions of dollars on a flawed idea of learning and assessment get to impact your future in a high stakes way.Oh, sorry. My personal answer, which is by no means “correct” for you: I thought it was funny, insightful, sometimes touching, one of my favorite books of the year. I smiled or laughed on almost every single page!

  • Kelli
    2019-02-25 22:29

    If this were graded, I doubt I would receive better than a C-. Presented in test format, I found this to be too much work and often confusing. This could be a brilliant stylistic choice but I tired of it quickly. 2.5 stars

  • Cindy Burnett
    2019-03-03 18:16

    Multiple Choice is a one-of-a-kind read in the best possible way. Chilean author Alejandro Zambra innovatively styled his new book after the Chilean Academic Aptitude Test which students took every December from 1967 to 2003 if they planned to apply to college in Chile. Specifically, he chose the Verbal Aptitude section as he took it in 1993 which consisted of ninety multiple choice questions contained in five sections. While each section of the book was fantastic in its own right, my favorites were Section 2 and 3, Sentence Order and Sentence Completion. As I spent time playing around with the answer choices and manipulating the sentences, I ended up focusing so much more on what he was saying and how he was saying it. Long after I finished a section or put the book down for a bit, I found myself still pondering what a particular question/passage meant or just the concept that rearranging sentences or choosing to delete a sentence or two can so dramatically change the meaning of a particular story.Zambra tackles life, family, Chilean politics, and how education often teaches people to repeat and obey versus learning to think independently. Some questions in Multiple Choice have multiple answers, some have no answers, and others have laugh out loud choices. I learned more about Chilean life under the brutal Pinochet regime, but in such an engrossing manner that I hardly felt like I was being taught a history lesson. His ruminations on family were particularly thought provoking and moving, and several times I had to reread a certain passage before I felt I could move on.I highly highly recommend this book. It is certainly one of the best I have read in a long while; I will be thinking about it for many days to come and most certainly rereading it in its entirety very soon. Thanks so much to Penguin for my copy of this ARC in exchange for an honest review.

  • Paul Fulcher
    2019-03-08 19:12

    Unusually for me I won't write a detailed review of this one as everything has been said so much better by reviews from goodreads friends (and yes I know that doesn't normally stop me).The question is whether my views on the book are best reflected by:a) Doug's review which points out that this, in an English original, would be a classic Goldsmiths Prize book. Albeit I'm not sure Doug means this as a compliment given his view of the 2016 winner.b) Tony Messenger's brilliant review which, as in Doug's wonderful demolition of Solar Bones, is in the style of the book - my attempt to do the same here a poor imitationc) The review from Eric the Lonesome Reader, another of my favourite blogs, as warmly generous and eloquent as ever.d) Jeremy's review, where despite admitting he is not a fan of gimmicks in novels, he found this arguably entirely gimmick based novel far more enjoyable than he anticipated.The correct answer is all of the above, although I must admit this was a novel where the conception was for me the key thing, and the execution, while well done, a little slight.And praise as ever is due to the excellent Megan McDowell for her translation (her most recent book I have read being the stunning Fever Dream, originally by Samanta Schweblin.3.5 stars.

  • Speranza
    2019-03-05 20:13

    I agree with those who label this little book as pretentious, but I guess I don’t mind pretentious as long the author:a) Has something interesting to sayb) Says what he has to say in an interesting wayc) Is interested in transmitting something beyond what he is sayingd) Is not interested in how what is saying will come acrosse) All of the aboveI read this in one breath and will need a second read to exhale it now. If the Russians were born drunk, and the French were born perverted, then the South Americans were born insane. And I love them for that, the way I love the French and the Russians – there is never a dull moment with them and they bore and drill into your mind to the point where you can no longer ignore the pain. Or the numbness.

  • Book Riot Community
    2019-03-17 00:28

    I absolutely adore Zambra’s work. He’s wildly inventive, never more so than with this novel, which invites readers to respond to thought-provoking, multiple choice questions, and to read short paragraphs, which illuminate his feelings on love, life, and family. Zambra is a gem, and I highly recommend checking out his backlist titles, too. His books are tiny treasures.Backlist bump: My Documents by Alejandro Zambra (Author), Megan McDowell (Translator)Tune in to our weekly podcast dedicated to all things new books, All The Books:

  • Christy
    2019-03-22 00:05

    This got increasingly clever and poignant and "laugh out loud" funny and was a memorable way to spend a couple hours taking turns reading each "problem" out loud with a girlfriend I'd missed spending time with on a train last summer between Cologne and Berlin last summer. I'd probably not like it as much if I was reading it alone or silently as it wasn't linear and had such a choppy model. It was a mellow and interesting time with the countryside and villages for scenery and my husband and teenage daughter working on math problems on an adjoining table.

  • jeremy
    2019-02-19 18:23

    i'm not overly fond of gimmicks in my fiction (or anywhere else for that matter). having read only a single zambra book previously (bonsai, which left me, admittedly, lukewarm), i thought it altogether likely that this would solidify for me an enduring disinclination to seek out anything further from the chilean author/poet. but it didn't. and, despite myself, i enjoyed multiple choice (facsímil) far more than i thought i would (i anticipated a lazy man's oulipo).based structurally on the chilean academic aptitude test that zambra himself took in 1993, the book (and the test) consists of "ninety multiple-choice exercises presented in five sections." while the text's early sections are rather slight (think word association, sentence sequence, and contextual fill-in-the-blank), multiple choice truly comes alive in the latter portions. innovative or otherwise, zambra's chosen form offers as much to consider as does the content itself. 84. A more or less good title for the text you have just read is:a) "my generation" (the who)b) "generación de mierda" (los prisioneros)c) "i wanna be your dog" (the stooges)d) "father and son" (the cat stevens song that at one point says, "look at me / i am old / but i'm happy," but it doesn't sound like he's happy; in fact it's the saddest moment of the whole song)e) "they really fuck you up, your mom and dad" (philip larkin. really, almost any line from that poem would work, especially the last verse. i mean, really: "man hands on misery to man. / it deepens like a coastal shelf. / get out as early as you can, / and don't have any kids yourself.")* translated from the spanish by megan mcdowell (meruane, schweblin, and three other zambra books, et al.)

  • Amanda Coak
    2019-02-24 23:21

    Multiple Choice is one of the most unique reads I've sat through in awhile. Initially, I was drawn to the text due to its unique format, and because I was intrigued that a book would be written like an aptitude test. I'll be honest, at first, I was perplexed by Zambra. I was worried that the book would be mainly word connections and relations (the first third of the book) but then the novel takes a different turn, and the reader is given short passages that resemble short stories. The reading comprehension questions that follow each passage give a lot of insight into Zambra's life, thoughts, politics, and definitely his views on education (he's frustrated by Chile's education system, clearly). One of the most memorable lines of the book references the fact that students are trained, not educated (That gave me serious pause as a teacher). This book is poetic, funny, and very charming. It's not something I would normally enjoy, but I found it quirky and surprising. If you are looking for a book that entirely stands on its own, this is it.

  • Susan
    2019-03-04 22:15

    I love epistolary novels so when I saw a recommendation for this one I immediately added it to my TBR list. A book written in the form of multiple choice tests could potentially be either really great or provoke nervous flashbacks of high school. It turned out to be the most enjoyable standardized testing experience of my life, although the bar was set pretty low on that one! The first part is full of clever wordplay and becomes surprisingly deep. I don't know how it's possible to convey such emotion in so few words. By part two a story starts to form and come together. It is by turns hilarious and heartbreaking. I don't know much about Chilean history or politics other than a little about Pinochet but this has made me interested in learning more. Although it is quite a short book, I found that I didn't want to rush through it and read one section at a time with time to process and absorb in between. Only a genius could turn standardized tests into poetry!I received this book free for review but my opinions are my own.

  • Jim Elkins
    2019-02-27 18:14

    What Happens When Constrained Writing Doesn't Follow Its Constraints?Constrained writing, including Oulipo, depends in part on its constraints, or at least it advertises itself as depending on them. In the clearest cases, the constraint is simple and known to the reader, as in the Oulipean lipogram. In other instances, the constraints are multiple or private, and they lead the reader to puzzle over the text, deducing its departures from some normative path.Since so much experimental writing is constrained in some way, it's interesting to ask what happens when the writing fails to follow its own rules. Alejandro Zambra's "Multiple Choice" is a good example. In a note at the end of the novel, Zambra says he modeled it on the Chilean Academic Verbal Aptitude Test for 1993, which was clearly modeled on North American scholastic aptitude tests from the 1950s onward. In translation, the book presents itself as a reasonable facsimile of the SAT I took years ago.The novel starts with a half-title page: "I. Excluded TermIn exercises 1 through 24, mark the answer that corresponds to the word whose meaning has no relation to either the heading or the other words listed."The next page begins:"1. MULTIPLEA) manifoldB) numerousC) untoldD) fiveE) two"Except for the playful similarity of D) and E), this question is fairly standard. I began, for fun, with a pencil, marking my text as I went. (The final page of the novel is the answer sheet, with the open circles meant to be filled in with those soft pencils they used to distribute.)The first sign that there won't always be right answers is on p. 5:"8. BEARA) endureB) tolerateC) abideD) pandaE) kangaroo"This is, I thought, too obvious a marker that the novel won't be answerable, because it plays too simple-mindedly on the two meanings of "bear." On the next page there is this:"10. COPYA) cutB) pasteC) cutD) pasteE) undo"This has a correct answer, by the test's logic, but the first four choices make it obvious that something else is at stake. Since this is a novel, I concluder Zambra wants readers to assume that he is introducing a metanarrative here: the narrator's voice will appear in this novel in the form of playful interventions within the aptitude test form itself. This strategy develops for several pages.But soon another kind of question appears:"16. PROTECTA) care forB) cover forC) dote onD) watch overE) book after."Again there is a correct answer (B), but it points in a different direction: it feels like "Multiple Choice" is going to have a plot, and it's going to turn on betrayal, care, or fidelity. Let me call the first kind of metanarrative question, the one in question #10, "Playing with texts" (PWT). This second sort of question could be called "Playing with plots" (PWP). A third sort of question seems to speak for the narrator's mood:"21. SPAREA) timeB) roomC) changeD) tireE) life."Let me call this one "Playing with existentialism" (PWE). There are questions of this sort throughout, which use surprise choices to convey a sense of existential randomness or general blackness. Part one of the book's five parts ends with several more PWP questions, in which loyalty and fidelity are again at stake.A reader can use these three kinds of questions to go most of the way through the book. Here is one more example, from Part two, where you're supposed to pick the best order of the sentences:"27. A CHILD1. You dream that you lose a child.2. You wake up.3. You cry.4. You lose a child.5. You cry.A) 1-2-4-3-5B) 1-2-3-5-4C) 2-3-4-5-1D) 3-4-5-1-2E) 4-5-3-1-2"There is no reason to work at this one as a test-taker has to, because it is an example of PWP and PWE. Once questions like this begin to appear, readers like me who were trying to see how far they'd get pretending they were students may put their pencils down. Questions like these are signs to the reader that they don't need to think like students. But what, exactly, does the achievement-test form contribute once a reader stops searching for optimal answers?The book's title suggests that readers should think of life's multiple choices, but only a small percentage of the questions in the book actually lead to branching narratives. Perhaps, then, it matters that the novel is a test, because several stories in the book -- the stories get longer as the book goes on -- have to do with cheating. But I think cheating is only a convenient theme, not the book's central concern, which is more like regret and reconciliation. What, then, is contributed by questions that do not ask to be read as questions? Let me call questions like the one I just quoted "No reason to play" (NRP). They become the predominant sort of question, and it reaches the point where the final ten or twenty questions in the book are just pastiches of actual achievement test sorts of questions, and add very little to what is already apparent in the texts themselves.In short -- and I am abbreviating an entire book full of my notes -- PWT becomes PWE and PWP as readers begin to care more about nascent plots and narrator's concerns than with the test, and finally the test form itself becomes a superficial style, because there's No reason to play, NRP. About halfway through, I noticed that it seemed Zambra was dividing his time between thinking up entertaining new forms of questions and answers (PWT) and hinting at the narrator's life. The two purposes divided: the constrained writing began to be a constraint, or at least an irrelevance, to the author's interest in constructing stories about his narrator's life. The jokes got more obvious, there were more uninteresting choices, and even some false notes (as when the "fucking voice faker" suddenly appears, p. 52).The novel doesn't fail because it fails to follow its constraints. (It does follow them, all the way to the last page.) It fails because the narrator, and by implication the author, becomes interested in things that do not require the constraints. And as I watch the implied author's attention divide in that way, between the increasingly superficial game of the test and the increasingly compelling stories of the narrator's failures, I find myself losing interest in the book, because the glue between those is what makes constrained writing work -- at least in this case.

  • Cosimo
    2019-03-22 19:04

    Una vita senza di me57. (1) Il coprifuoco consiste nel divieto di circolazione in orario notturno nelle strade di un determinato territorio. (2) Di solito viene indetto in tempo di guerra o di sommosse popolari. (3) In Cile la dittatura lo impose dall'11 settembre 1973 al 2 gennaio 1987. (4) Una sera mio padre uscì a fare un giro. Era estate. Non si rese conto dell'ora e dovette fermarsi a dormire da un'amica. (5) Fecero l'amore, lei rimase incinta, sono nato io.Alejandro Zambra è uno degli autori di maggiore talento e creatività nel panorama letterario sudamericano odierno. Ho trovato straordinaria la sua raccolta di racconti pubblicata da Sellerio con il titolo I Miei Documenti. Questo nuovo testo, il cui titolo originale è Facsimile, ha un contenuto interessante ed è innovativo e intrigante, ma manifesta qualcosa di poco spontaneo, rivelando aspetti strutturali e scelte stilistiche poco convincenti e deludenti, un insieme frammentario di universi testuali e narrativi che non mi è sembrato all'altezza delle qualità letterarie dello scrittore cileno. Le cose che ho apprezzato di più sono memorie affettive sulla relazione con il padre, che consolano e completano un sentimento insicuro e fragile. Il gioco letterario conduce il lettore in territori immaginari e reali, alternando finzione e storia, facendo convivere il bisogno di risposte con l'impossibilità di interrogarsi. Ma a tratti il dialogo si indebolisce, sembra condotto con una malcelata superficialità di fondo. Certo questo atteggiamento vagamente cinico corrisponde all'impossibilità di raggiungere verità sostanziali su temi così delicati e oscuri come il crescere in una dittatura, o lo sconvolgimento che l'estremismo politico porta nelle relazioni personali e familiari; qui la quotidianità e la biografia, la singolarità di chi scrive, sembrano smarrirsi in una nostalgia indolente, in uno sperimentalismo rabbioso che rimane sterile di fronte agli indizi, ai fallimenti, alle contraddizioni. E' interessante l'idea di rappresentare una vita programmata e di voler cercare una dimensione invece priva di cause prevedibili, ed è fantasioso il tentativo di Zambra di raccontarne una formula, un modello. Manca la capacità di inventare un altro sguardo attraverso il racconto, di far nascere nel lettore il desiderio di andare oltre l'apparenza, in un mondo dove osservare altre realtà dietro le regole. Quindi è ironico e umile, tratta di repressione e riflette sul silenzio, ma è molto ermetico, gravoso e acerbo e ha una inclinazione alla parodia che non mi riconcilia con il noi, che non mi trasmette quell'idea di intima ricerca e di favoloso sognare che cerco in un racconto. “Il giorno in cui sei nato è stato il più felice della mia vita, ma ero talmente agitato che non so se felicità è la parola che meglio descrive ciò che provai quella notte. Ritengo mio dovere dirti, malgrado l'amore assoluto che nutro per te, malgrado la grandissima gioia che hai portato nella mia vita e immagino in quella di tua madre [...], malgrado tutto questo, devo dirti che nei diciotto anni che sono trascorsi da allora non ho mai smesso di domandarmi come sarebbe stata la mia vita se tu non fossi nato”.

  • Beverly
    2019-02-27 21:16

    A luminous engaging inventive novel of micro-tales!I was initially drawn to this book by the appealing cover as I like taking multiple choice tests, especially when I will not be graded. I was having much fun with Section 1 – Excluded Term, justifying to myself why I chose what I thought what the correct choice should be – there were a couple of times I changed my mind which changed the overall connection of the words in the group. But I thought to myself how cool this is this as I felt I was not only participating in the story but was controlling the story being told. But the last exercise in this section alerted me to something more serious is happening here then the author letting me play around with words. As I progressed through each of the sections, the author took more control of the stories until I realized he is laying out the beauty and malice of the Chilean realities. I found the micro-tales written with both sincerity and vigor and the multiple choices presented were difficult choices for the characters.I have never quite read a book like this one and for me it was a successful experimental format and showcases the genius of Zambra. Kudos to the translator for the excellent translation!This imaginative book will provide for lively bookclub discussions.This book was provided by the Penguin in exchange for an honest review.

  • Wiebke (1book1review)
    2019-02-19 20:18

    This is a quick read that is basically an Academic Aptitude Test. Well, not really. It is written in the style of one, but it quickly becomes apparent that it is questioning the practice of such tests and allows you to draw your own conclusions and reflect on the questions and ridiculousness of the answer choices.It was a fun and thought provoking read, however, I missed a result at the end. Some kind of score and evaluation of my answers. But the frustration of not getting one is probably also a play on the expectations one has of such a test: a clear result.

  • Viajerovertical
    2019-03-21 23:33

    Otra vez hay hombres solos y niños tristes. Otra vez la apática clase media cuyos miembros se despiertan todas las mañanas en una casa que, si todo sale bien, terminarán de pagar en veinte años en un barrio feo de una ciudad fea del tercer mundo, con hijos que no desearon y esposos que acaso tampoco, se meten en un elevador, evitan mirar a los ojos, no hablan con nadie y pasan sus días sentados en una oficina pensando su vida en meses sin intereses. Otra vez familias rotas e hijos sin hijos. [Así empezaba la reseña que hice para Letras Libres.]

  • Palindrome
    2019-03-06 20:23

    Naslov “Faksimil” uz koji odmah piše “zbirka zadataka” najavljuje knjigu baziranu na testu jezičke sposobnosti i rečitosti. U fusnoti je termin “faksimil” objašnjen kao “naziv za reprodukciju u svim pojedinostima nalik na original: autografa, crteža, grafičkih listova, dokumenata. No, reč ‘faksimil’ u Čileu nedvosmisleno asocira na Ispit akademske sposobnosti...”Nesumnjivo, Alehandro Sambra, pisac i profesor sa Čileanskog univerziteta stvorio je igrivu književnu poslasticu sačinjenu od pet poglavlja koncipiranih kao i pomenuti test na koji direktno upućuje.Kroz poglavlja: Izbaci neodgovarajuću reč; Redosled rečenica; Dopuni rečenicu; Ukloni neodgovarajuće rečenice; Razumevanje pročitanog teksta, autor nas je sproveo kroz sve suštinske čarolije književnog teksta, kroz svu magiju stvaranja teksta i još više: kroz sve humorne, umorne i neumorne potencijalne susrete čitaoca i autora/ čitaoca i teksta/ autora i teksta.Usredsređen ponajviše na Čile, na Pinočeov režim i apsurd politike, putem ovako sklopljenog štiva uspeo je da me zagolica i nasmeje svojim manirom angažovanog autora.Petica za igrariju, petica za ideju, petica za humor ali četvorčica jer sam htela i iščekivala njegovu pravu prozu koja mi baš prija, ali super knjiga za vrle čitaoce željne izazova.

  • Santiago González
    2019-03-20 20:14

    Zambra de mi esperanzaHacía mucho tiempo que quería leer algo de Zambra. En el taller de escritura me dieron esta especie de autobiografía. Al principio me gustaba la forma elegida: una especie de test multiple choice. Era simpático, pero era pura forma. Pero al final se va poniendo espeso... Y tremendo. El último capítulo es demoledor (se recomienda tener cierta edad como para leerlo). En un momento estallé de la risa.Es un ejercicio de comprensión de esto que llamamos vida moderna en la forma de un ejercicio de comprensión de texto.Vengo muy generoso de estrellitas, pero creo que tiene mejor ganadas sus cuatro mucho más que alguno que leí recientemente. Me dieron muchas ganas de leer sus otros libros. Y tiene una virtud extra: se puede leer de un tirón en una tarde de café en la que decidas no ir a terapia.

  • Lavinia
    2019-03-11 21:19

    What even is this experiment? Flash fiction? Poetry? Political commentary?Very clever. Loved it.Favourite part: Reading Comprehension.4.5*

  • Jenny
    2019-02-24 00:17

    I am having a hard time reviewing this book. On the one hand, this is wildly creative. On the other hand, I feel like if I was someone else, I would have extracted a lot more.This is apparently structured like a Chilean college entrance exam, which appears similar to the American SAT. There are 5 parts: Excluded Term, Sentence Order, Sentence Completion, Sentence Elimination, and Reading Comprehension. The first one was the weakest for me, although it was clever in some parts (for example: BEARA) endureB) tolerateC) abideD) pandaE) kangaroo)This was originally written in Spanish, so it's hard to know if the point was how some words are harder to define without context. If this was originally published in English, I would say it's a joke mocking the English language, which we all realize makes no sense sometimes.The second section was more clever in that it asked the reader/"test-taker" to order the sentence. The point seems to be that sometimes you don't need to order sentences for the point to be made. For example:1. Your father argued with your mother.2. Your mother argued with your brother.3. Your brother argued with your father.4. It was almost always cold.5. That is all you remember.A) 2-3-1-4-5B) 3-1-2-4-5C) 4-1-2-3-5D) 4-5-1-2-3E) 5-1-2-3-4Some of them had options that weren't really options - one sentence organization's choice E was : 5-5-5-5-5.The third section, Sentence Completion, got a little more interesting. Again, it demonstrated how many words can fit. For example:1. _______ the thousand amendments they've made to the it, the Chilean Constitution of 1980 is a piece of shit.A) AfterB) Due toC) In spite ofD) Thanks to E) NotwithstandingThe last few options all have the same basic parts:You were a bad son, ____ you write.You were a bad father, ____ you write.You are alone, _____ you write.These have various options, and seem to indicate that the author has an agenda/back story.I liked the last two sections best because it felt more like short stories. I also learned more about Chilean culture, like how divorce wasn't legal for a long time (in fact, it was the second to last country to make it legal) and even when it was, it was cheaper to get an annulment. This last section reminded me of the Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao because it was about a culture about which I don't know much. So I enjoyed that part. I also like how in the last section, some personality came, especially in some of the options to the multiple choice questions (I.e. answer E) to question 79 "If you can't be with the one you love, honey, love the one you're with"). Or funny, like this question about the passage written by a father to his son about how he did love him, in his own way. - Question 89. After reading this text, you would rather: A) Not have read itB) Not have childrenC) Have many childrenD) Not have a fatherE) Have a parrot But the tone of the whole book was quite solemn, and can be described by question 82: (which asks, "The end of this story - the one about the narrator's wedding and then later divorce from his first wife - is, without a doubt:I: SadII: HeavyIII: IronicIV: AbruptV: ImmoralVI: RealisticVII: FunnyVIII: AbsurdIX: ImplausibleX: LegalisticXI: BadXII: It's a happy ending, in its own way

  • Tonymess
    2019-03-20 19:06

    This novel is _______?a) Experimental fictionb) Non fictionc) Autobiographyd) Fictione) All of the aboveThe latest work from Alejandro Zambra is structured on ________?a) The Chilean Academic Aptitude Testb) Which was in place between 1967 and 2003c) The need to pass this test to enter Universityd) The Verbal Aptitude test that Zambra took in 1993e) All of the aboveThe work is constructed into five sections. Which is your favourite?a) Excluded Termb) Sentence Orderc) Sentence Completiond) Sentence Eliminatione) Reading ComprehensionWhen I quote actual questions how will you tell them apart from the ones I am writing in my review?a) I will put the text in boldb) I will put the text in italicsc) I will not differentiate the quotes from my questions in any wayd) I will highlight them in both bold and italicse) All of the aboveFor my full review go to

  • Bart Van Overmeire
    2019-02-20 00:30

    Wie me wat kent, weet dat ik het niet zo heb voor literaire spielereien. Het hoeft voor mij zeker geen dertien in een dozijn verhaal te zijn, maar geef me toch maar een mooi (zij het enigszins deprimerend) verhaal met een duidelijke plot. Het was dan ook met een zekere argwaan dat ik Alejandro Zambra's laatste 'Begrijpend lezen' heb meegenomen uit de Limerick, want opgesteld als een meerkeuzetoets (naar het voorbeeld van de eindexamens op Chileense scholen). Anderzijds, met 'Bonsai' had hij wel al een absoluut meesterwerk geschreven. Voor de zekerheid heb ik vorige week dan maar eerst zijn 'Manieren om naar huis terug te keren' gelezen, een conventioneler verhaal en weer een voltreffer.Gisteren me dan toch gewaagd aan 'Begrijpend lezen' en ik kan alleen maar bevestigen data) Alejandro Zambra een absoluut genie is,b) Ja,  zelfs beter dan Valeria Luiselli (sorry, Valeria

  • Kaitlin
    2019-02-26 23:30

    This is my first Alejandro Zambra book and I really enjoyed it.The format is totally different from anything I've ever seen -- taking its form from the aptitude tests in Chile -- and I thought the stories, especially in the reading comprehension sections were devastating, hilarious, poetic, thoughtful and on and on. He is one of those writers who can encompass many different feels within one (and multiple) story.His line "you were not educated, you were trained" is burned into my mind.I recommend this book. The first section gets you thinking, or at least me, about writing structure and how stories can shift and change depending on the options we choose. A choose your own adventure of story writing. The second about superfluous details, among other things. And I was engrossed by the longer texts. Such interesting stories.

  • Nnenna
    2019-03-02 21:05

    I may have missed the point of this book completely, and yet I still enjoyed it. It’s structured like a multiple choice test and based on the Chilean National Aptitude test. I give this all the points for originality with the structure. Towards the end of the book, there are longer essays, which felt like short stories, and were easier for me to grasp. Even though I wasn’t sure I was understanding everything, I felt like I was exercising my mind, which is a good thing. Reading this also made me want to pick up more of Zambra’s work, probably in a format that I’m a bit more used to!

  • Sheldon
    2019-03-07 17:07

    I grew up on tests.My parents were the stereotypical Asian-American parents that forced their children to excel in school and make A's. That, of course, involved standardized tests. I'd stare at bubble sheets, and they would stare back at me, mirroring my own life: a series of questions in which there was only one right answer, and neatly confined to one little bubble. "Bubble" is used today to describe an isolated space free from outside thought, which is a perfect allegory for standardized tests.Alejandro Zambra's book definitely instilled a sense of deja vu. Except for one key difference: the questions were all open ended, and some had no right answer, or answers that were all the same. It was a delight to try out all the answer options and marvel at how neatly all of them worked. The answer choices also made me think critically on question structure.The most brilliant section was the three reading comprehension stories at the end. The stories themselves would often have a sentence in which I would infer something obvious about, only to have my inference dismantled in the next sentence. The passages truly felt as open to interpretation as the questions themselves. Every question and answer choice felt lively and entertaining, and fostered a truly critical analysis of modern standardized tests.

  • Vivek Tejuja
    2019-03-10 21:08

    I remember loving multiple choice questions at school. I would actually look forward to that option at any exam or test, given that I could at least deduce some and get my answer and be almost sure that it would be the right option that I had chosen. Alejandro Zambra’s new book “Multiple Choice” is a book which is inventive, playful and based on the Chilean Academic Aptitude Test. It is one of the highly inventive books I have across in a long time (after Hopscotch by Cortazar I think and even he was Latin American) and I can in all honesty say that I loved it immensely. “Multiple Choice” is a collection of micro-stories which engages the reader at every turn of the page – by giving them options to choose from. At the same time, it doesn’t really give you a choice and that’s when the clever writing of Zambra kicks in. This is not a novel for sure. It isn’t even a collection of short stories. I love the way this book breaks all norms and becomes something which no one can define. The irony lies in the postmodern prose where it challenges everything postmodern as well. The book does take some time getting into and understanding the format – but once you do, you cannot help yourself but finish it. The book is divided into forms of multiple choice sections where as a reader you have to do either of these: exclude a term, reorder a sentence, decide on how to fill in the blanks in a sentence, eliminate sentences from a short narrative or show comprehension skills of stories. What the book then ends up doing is automatically laying ground for many perspectives to emerge from each short piece. What is interesting is the hidden political criticism that emerges in most short stories, almost defying a system in place.Alejandro Zambra’s books are not easy to get into, as I mentioned earlier but what they do manage to do is leave a lot of thoughts lingering with the reader. “Multiple Choice” is a smart book that will make you feel clever and also underutilized at the same time. Some pieces are deeply moving as well – I loved the reading comprehension story on divorce which will choke you a bit. Sometimes the unconventional novel or a literary work challenges the way you think and rightly so. I strongly think more works of literature should do that, given the times we live in.All said and done, “Multiple Choice” is also this good because of the fantastic translation by Megan McDowell. Every word, no matter how small stands out in the reading comprehension pieces and makes so much sense when connected with the questions at the end of it. I think that is the beauty of fiction that doesn’t follow the norm – it all ends up together one way or the other. “Multiple Choice” is deeply emotional, passionate, and political, and to forget a brilliant moving read. One of the best I’ve read in this genre and form in a while.