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The Nanny and the Iceberg: A Novel Paperback – July 8, 2003


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Seven Stories Press (July 8, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1583225676
  • ISBN-13: 978-1583225677
  • Product Dimensions: 0.8 x 6.1 x 8.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 2.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,639,030 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

A Chilean exile in New York, 23-year-old Gabriel McKenzie has a serious sexual complex: the specter of his father, a modern-day Don Juan, makes him fail every time in the bedroom. In Ariel Dorfman's keen comedy The Nanny and the Iceberg, Gabriel goes home with his mother in hopes of solving his problem. Dorfman marvelously tangles this story up with the intricacies of post-Pinochet Chilean politics. Gabriel was conceived the night of Che Guevara's burial. The next day, his father bet his best friend that he would have sex every day for the next 25 years, while his friend bet that he would become the most powerful man in the country. When Gabriel returns to Chile, both men are on track to win. This is also the year in which Chile is preparing to send a chunk of ice from Antarctica to Seville for the 1992 World's Fair (which actually happened). Our hero enmeshes himself and his family in this politically sensitive project, thinking that by putting both parents on the ice-collecting boat he can solve his bedroom complex. "That," says Gabriel, "was my blueprint for sexual success; like in some crazy porno Disney film for kids, I had to get my parents back together again." Of course, his problems are more complicated than that. As Dorfman tracks Gabriel's journey--in which his old nanny is powerfully present--he unleashes some of the major themes of existence: politics, family, lust, and anger. With a marksman's skill, he nails much of what's important in life and what's funny about it. The Nanny and the Iceberg lets life be messy, just as it is. --Katherine Anderson --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Publishers Weekly

Framed as a suicide note from a lovelorn Chilean-American to his Internet sweetheart, Dorfman's eccentric new novel convolutes with its narrator's obsessive musings and exquisite bad luck. On the eve of his 25th birthday, Gabriel McKenzie recounts the events of two years before when, a sex-fanatic and virgin, he returned with his mother from self-imposed exile in Manhattan to his father and his fatherland. In Santiago, Gabriel (nicknamed Cara de Guagua, or Baby Face) tries to win his father Crist?bal's affection and learn the amorous secrets that have given Cris the reputation of a contemporary Don Juan. Because of a bet made on the day after Gabriel was conceivedAthe day of Cris's own 25th birthday and two days after Ch? Guevara's deathAGabriel's dad must sleep with a different woman every night until he turns 50. This obligation preoccupies Cris and his surrogate son, Polo, even as it frustrates and humiliates Gabriel. The other participants in the wager are as single-minded in their efforts to win as Cris is: Pablo Bar?n is determined to be the most powerful minister in Chile, and Cris's brother Dancisco does all he can to ensure that the entire continent will be socialist in 25 years. When Bar?n receives a note threatening to harm the iceberg he plans to retrieve from Antarctica and display in Sevilla in honor of the 500th anniversary of Columbus's discovery of the New World, he charges Cris and Gabriel with the task of identifying its author. Suspects abound: even Gabriel's beloved Nanny seems to know more than she lets on. What ensues is an only fitfully amusing caricature of Chilean political life post-Pinochet, an examination of the fraught relationship between father and son and a record of the painful ordeal of first, lost love. Dorfman's (Heading South, Looking North) tendency to reiterate information and recast Gabriel's difficulties is comic in an unsustainably hyperactive way, and the giddiness that at first impels the novel with manic energy soon gives way to confusion.
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Customer Reviews

2.7 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By D. Brigandi on August 28, 2008
Format: Paperback
A playful novel and exceptionally well written. It has been a difficult transition for many of the 'political' writers of the 1970s to write in a contemporary, "less immediate" Latin America...Dorfman, with this novel, manages the transition well. The novel has been likened to those produced by Vargas Llosa and is worthy of this high praise. My only reservation is the exceptionally hermetic last two (or so) paragraphs...nevertheless, if the journey is more worthy than the final destination, the novel will not disappoint at all.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful By M. Carstens on February 4, 2005
Format: Hardcover
I should have put this book down when my gut told my so, but went ahead anyway and it took me forever to struggle through it. It made very little sense and is very contradictory and most confusing! I suppose it makes sense to some, but I really tried and came up with straws.
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4 of 9 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on May 7, 2004
Format: Hardcover
What a stupid story, I am just sorry that I wasted time in this book!
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