Yesterday is the first Latin American book from Peirene Press: it’s a Chilean novel first published in 1935 and newly translated by Megan McDowell.
Emar’s narrator tells us what happened to him yesterday. The day began with him witnessing a public execution, then he headed off with his wife to travel the city, becoming involved in a series of strange episodes. A trip to the zoo sees the couple joining in with a group of singing monkeys. A visit to an artist’s studio has the narrator debating colour with the painter, who puts green in everything.
Each chapter ends with the couple exclaiming, “Let’s go!”, but it’s not so easy to leave the day’s events behind. The man’s thoughts and memories continue to spiral around him. What begins as an intriguing account of an off-kilter day becomes a striking look at an interior life.