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SMOKE (working title)

Gabriela Alemán

  • Original Title: HUMO
  • Publication date: February 2017
  • Country: EC
  • 201 print pages
  • Drama


  • Epoch: Mixed
  • Time Period: 20th century, 21st century
  • Location setting: Argentina, Paraguay
  • Themes: FAMILY, Paternity, Filiation, PEOPLE facing life, Search for the truth, Disease, Death, Moral dilemma, Facing failure, SOCIETY DYSFUNCTIONS, Violence, Power, Totalitarian regime, War and other conflicts, Corruption, SOCIAL CHRONICLES, Commitment, LOVE / HATE, Destruction, Sex


Set over two timeframes, HUMO tells the story of Gabriela, a woman that after many years travels to the home of the sons of an old friend of hers who died in obscure circumstances. An investigation into one man’s murky past and his involvement with South America’s longest serving dictator.


Gabriela Alemán is an Ecuadorean author and screenwriter. The recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship in 2006, she has published numerous collections of short stories, as well as the novels BODY TIME (2003), and POSO WELLS (2007).


A subtle novel that, by submerging you in the history of Paraguay, ends up reflecting a tragedy that all of the South American continent shares.

A woman returns to Paraguay seventeen years after having left. She returns to collect an envelope that her friend Andrei has left her. This envelope acts as a time bomb. When she opens it, memories flood back to her of a “land where everything has been scoured with cleaning fluid and is left wide-open”; the Chaco War, Stroessner’s dictatorship and a present-day scarred by fire.

SMOKE is narrated by different voices across overlapping eras. At the center of the story is a house that is falling apart in a city haunted by ghosts, where the border between the past and the present no longer exists.

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