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.
Alejandro Zambra is the author of the story collection My Documents, 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, which won Chile's Literary Critics' Award for Best Novel. His stories have appeared in The New Yorker, The Paris Review, Harper's, Tin House, and McSweeney's, among others. In 2010, he was named one of Granta's Best Young Spanish-language Novelists.