Like Bolaño, Zambra was born in Santiago, Chile. However, he was born later, in 1975, part of a generation that spent its childhood under Pinochet’s rule. In Ways of Going Home, Zambra depicts childhood experiences of trying to understand the cryptic comments and peculiar actions of adults, in an atmosphere where children’s simple pleasures – such as going to watch a soccer match at a municipal stadium — bring back memories of terror, incarcerations, and disappeared loved ones for their parents and neighbors.
My father, Hugo Domínguez, had been Hen’s assistant, and one day they were walking in a poor neighborhood, where the kids played soccer barefoot in the dust with a sweater rolled up as a ball. Jorge said to my father, “How many Claudio Araújo’s do you think there are there in that group?” That was his vision.