Voyager: Constellations of MemoryNona Fernandez More by this author...£9.99
Translated by Natasha Wimmer
One of the world’s foremost spots for astronomical observation, the Atacama Desert in Chile is also where, in October 1973, twenty-six people were executed by Pinochet’s Caravan of Death. Decades on, a petition gathers for a constellation’s stars to be dedicated to them. Nona Fernández is made a godmother to Mario Argüelles Toro, star HD89353, and asked to write a message to his family.
When her own mother begins to suffer from fainting spells, Fernández accompanies her to neurological examinations. There, the mapping of her mother’s brain activity – groups of neurons glowing and sparking on screen – calls to mind the night sky, as memories light up into a complex stellar tapestry.
Weaving together the narrative of her mother’s illness with stories of the cosmos and of her country, Fernández braids astronomy and astrology, neuroscience and memory, family history and national history into an intensely imagined autobiographical work.
A profound reckoning with the past, Voyager is a refusal to allow lives to be forgotten and truths inconvenient to those in power erased. It confirms Nona Fernández as one of the great chroniclers of our time.