Set in a declining Chilean gold mining town in the recent past this a sad story of lost love, missed opportunities, abandonment and madness. In spite of all this, it is not a depressing read. (Honestly!) The story is narrated by the main characters in different chapters and the chronology can be a little confusing, but stick with it. Clorinda is an exceptional heroine and a brilliant creation. A very unusual first novel and a great read.
Clorinda's tapestry was going to be her life's work. She wasn't sure what 'life's work' meant to anyone else, but for her it was an interpretation of the activities, both physical and spiritual of the universe itself. This consisted of the town of Tocopilla and its population, both human and animal, that dotted a patch of desert ground about eight hours south of the Peruvian border, trapped between the Pacific Ocean and the steep, barren Andes, but mostly it consisted of Senor Ortega. It was an ambitious project.