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Hi, This Is Conchita: And Other Stories Paperback – April 30, 2013

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The Turner House
The Turners have lived in the same house for over 50 years—a remarkable feat considering the house is in the embattled city of Detroit, surrounded by vacant lots and worth just a tenth of its mortgage. Find out what happens to the house and the offspring brought up in it
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 176 pages
  • Publisher: Two Lines Press (April 30, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 193188322X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1931883221
  • Product Dimensions: 7.9 x 5 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,549,599 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


Praise for Hi, This Is Conchita:

“Santiago Roncagliolo is one of the writers of my generation I most admire. He is rigorous, fearless, and funny, with a keen eye for absurdity embedded within the everyday. A new book by Roncagliolo is a cause for celebration.” — Daniel Alarcón

“There’s a lot to like—and laugh at—here, especially riffs on the awfulness of Meg Ryan movies.” — Publishers Weekly

"Ultimately, Hi, This Is Conchita resolves its proceedings in a way both satisfying and unpredictable, all the while keeping the reader engaged. . . . Readers curious about contemporary European lit, or who have a penchant for formal experimentation, or who are just looking to read something a bit different, may well find themselves taken by Roncagliolo’s playful nonconformity." — PopMatters

"In an age where the isolating effects of social media are continuously analyzed, the short story collection Hi, This is Conchita by Peruvian writer Santiago Roncagliolo offers an encompassing view of the ways we become detached from intimacy and the painful, misguided ways in which we attempt to retrieve it. . . . The collection . . . highlights Roncagliolo’s literary virtuosity." — Tottenville Review

"Roncagliolo quite cleverly and nicely spins a tale of crossed lives (and one or two crossed lines) out of these dialogues. The connections that turn out to be there all the time make the failure of communication all the more damning. . . . Roncagliolo has a nice, sure touch throughout . . . a nice little collection, with some sly dark humor, and makes for an entertaining read." — The Complete Review

"Roncagliolo is an incredibly gifted storyteller who is able to execute many writing styles. . . . Roncagliolo reminds us that, although we are isolated by default, we are all connected to each other in some way." — Three Percent

"Hi, This Is Conchita and other stories is a funny book from an up and coming star of Latin American fiction. A reader would do well to spend a little time with this short volume of freely rendered conversations." — By The Firelight

Praise for Red April:
“Within the frame of a puzzling whodunit, Roncagliolo crafts an unsparing view of life controlled by a repressive and paranoid government.”
Publishers Weekly

“The second half of this novel is a tour de force. Suspense builds excruciatingly against the great festive crescendo that is Ayacucho's Holy Week, with its heady mix of iconography and emotion. . . . This novel teaches us to look askance at its every expression of identity, from the most atavistic to the most modern and progressive.”
Times Literary Supplement

About the Author

Santiago Roncagliolo is a Peruvian novelist and investigative journalist. His first novel, Red April, won the Premio Alfaguara in 2006 and the Independent Foreign Fiction Prize in 2011. In 2010 Granta named him one of its 22 Best Young Spanish-Language Novelists. He contributes to El País and other leading Spanish-language newspapers. Santiago Roncagliolo lives in Barcelona.

Edith Grossman is one of the English-language’s most renowned translators, having translated key works by Nobel laureates Gabriel García Márquez and Mario Vargas Llosa. Her translation of Don Quixote was praised by Harold Bloom for “the extraordinarily high quality of her prose.” Grossman lives in New York City.

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By John L. Sparks on June 30, 2013
Format: Paperback
I found though the writing was good technically, and the translation made it sound written in English and not translated like some books I've read in translation, I didn't like this book at all. It could be summed up in a old t-shirt slogan: life's a bitch and then you die. The characters are the type of people I try to make sure that if they invade my life, I get rid of them. There was no insight for me or the characters. The only "resolution" was death for some of the characters. The characters bored me. Publisher's Weekly loved the rifts on the horribleness of Meg Ryan movies. Really? Though I am not a rom com fan, I don't think people who like such movies are stupid. At least there is hope, growth and resolution even if predictable. I prefer to add positive things to my life through reading as reality is often so awful. Luckily most real people aren't as 2D as these characters and do try to get somewhere even if often ineffectively. Unless you love to read about hopeless people getting nowhere, like being cynical about life, don't bother.
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Format: Kindle Edition
A meek and insecure office worker calls a phone sex line and almost immediately thinks he has established a special and permanent relationship with "Conchita." Another man has the all too common experience of calling "customer service" and, after enduring the endless hold music, receives nothing resembling service. A married man who wants to be rid of an overly possessive girlfriend places a call to a strangely reluctant contract killer. And finally a man with obvious mental problems leaves a long and bitter message on his ex-girlfriend's answering machine.

In the title novella of Hi, This Is Conchita and Other Stories, told entirely in phone dialog, these four sub-plots not only develop but begin to interconnect in subtle ways. The result is a poignant but often funny look at modern life where we are always talking but so seldom communicating. The novella is followed by three short stories.

In "Despoiler," set in Barcelona during Carnival, a middle-aged woman finds her childhood obsession with a stuffed animal suddenly revived. In "Butterflies Fastened with Pins," a story very reminiscent of the writing of Bret Easton Ellis, the narrator looks back on his drug-fueled youth which has seen one friend after another commit suicide. And in the macabre finale, "The Passenger Beside You," a young woman sits down next to a man on a bus, shows him the gaping bullet wound where her heart used to be, and tells him what it's like to be dead.

The only complaint I have about this collection of fast-paced, captivating, and unsettling stories is that there isn't more of it.
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Hi, This Is Conchita: And Other Stories
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