Multiple Choice

Alejandro Zambra

Published: 3 August 2017
Paperback, B Format
129x198mm, 112 pages
ISBN: 9781783782710

About the author

Image of Alejandro Zambra

Alejandro Zambra was born in Santiago, Chile in 1975. He is the author of two books of poems, Bahía Inútil and Mudanza; a collection of essays, No leer; and three novels, Bonsái, which was awarded a Chilean Critics Award for best novel, The Private Lives of Trees, and Ways of Going Home, which was awarded the Altazor Prize, selected by The National Book Council as the best Chilean novel published during 2012, and won an English Pen Award. He was selected as one of Granta's Best of Young Spanish-Language Novelists and was elected to the Bogotá39 list. More about the author


‘[Multiple Choice] blends fiction and memoir and messes enthusiastically with form. It is funny, melancholy, surprising. It is silly at times, profound at others. Its interactivity will entertain you, and might just change the way you think about fiction’ Chris Power



Multiple Choice is unlike anything I've ever encountered before. With his test questions and answers, the incomparable Alejandro Zambra creates verbal playgrounds for reverie, imagination, thought, and memory, and leads you through labyrinthine corridors in which you inevitably encounter yourself. Reading this book is a wonderfully disconcerting and unforgettable experience’ Francisco Goldman, author

‘A masterful act of transformation that turns the reader into writer. Zambra gives us fragments, but he also gives us the autonomy to shore them up into something new: our very own book’ Chris Power

‘A metatextual blast... the only real problem with this unusually pleasurable exam is that it's over far too quickly’ Roger Cox

‘An experimental novella, written in the form of a multiple choice examination... Brilliant, innovative, beautiful - David Markson's Vanishing Point meets Junot Diaz's This Is How You Lost Her.’ Taiye Selasi, Summer must-reads

‘As slim as Chile herself. As serrated and complex as her riddled coastline. There's so much to admire and enjoy in this dazzling little book’ Gavin Corbett, author

‘Brilliant... funny... part philosophical parody, part satire, this is a highly original and poignant book’ Joanna Kavenna

‘Brilliant... Like a literary exercise for the mind, but strangely fun to decode. Keep yourself sharp with one of the most interesting writers working right now'’ 19 Summer Reads That Everyone Will Be Talking About

‘Falling in love with Zambra's literature is a fascinating road to travel. Imaginative and original, he is a master of short forms; I adore his devastating audacity’ Enrique Vila-Matas, author

‘I loved Multiple Choice. I hate exams, but I've sat this one a few times already. I'd give it an A-. The minus for being too smart and getting the fuck away with it.’ Stuart Evers, author

‘I loved Multiple Choice. I hate exams, but I've sat this one a few times already. I'd give it an A-. The minus for being too smart and getting the fuck away with it’ Stuart Evers, author

‘Intriguing... [Multiple Choice] starts as comic wordplay but morphs gradually into a volley of melancholy nano-stories... inventive in form’ Anthony Cummins

‘One of the books of 2016... Full of wit, spark, pathos and insight... Multiple Choice goes beyond all expectations in terms of originality... [It is] one of the most thought-provoking, original and rewarding reads of the year... [as well as] a surprisingly touching and immersive experience... Once I'd finished it the urge to immediately read it again [was] pretty much irresistible. It was even better the second time’ Jane Graham

‘Original and deeply moving’

‘Slowly, but surely, the questions and potential answers reveal profound takes on life in Chile under the dictatorship of General Augusto Pinochet - both funny and melancholic... For all the plainness of the prose, read aloud this exercise and it almost takes the form of a sonnet. It is also heartbreaking’ Ben East

‘Tantalising... Mordantly funny and highly arresting [...] with nods to that great Latin American experimentalist Borges’ Claire Allfree

‘There is no writer like Alejandro Zambra, no one as bold, as subtle, as funny. Multiple Choice is his most accomplished work yet, an apparently playful literary game you quickly realize is also deadly serious. This book is not to be missed’ Daniel Alarcón, author

‘This is composition set in the key of fun - ironic, playful, sometimes bitter. The translation by Megan McDowell skims across the tricky terrain with grace and ease, capturing the comic absurdities and dark moments without any apparent linguistic stumble or pause... [Zambra has] a wonderfully seductive, ludic charm. Multiple Choice will be embraced by Zambra's devoted followers. Open-minded readers new to his quirky world could find it opening doors. Multiple doors perhaps’

‘This year I was very happy to discover Alejandro Zambra. His new book, Multiple Choice, brilliantly translated from the Spanish by Megan McDowell, manages to blend Oulipian poetry, funny-sad short stories and choose-your-own-advevnture’ Joe Dunthorne, Best Books of 2016

‘To my mind, the best of what experimental fiction be’ Taiye Selasi, Best Books of 2016

‘When I read Zambra I feel like someone's shooting fireworks inside my head. His prose is as compact as a grain of gunpowder, but its allusions and ramifications branch out and illuminate even the most remote corners of our minds’ Valeria Luiselli, author

‘Zambra builds an elegant structure out of the important elements of life-competition, pride, vigor, death, sex-against a landscape of political menace. Read his book and, as with all true art, you'll be left wondering what it means but feeling that you know’ Atticus Lish, author

‘Zambra is the defining light of today's Latin American literature - an author whose cult is about to take over, the one we'll all be congratulating ourselves on having known about in the early days, before his deceptively slender masterpieces lay on ever American reader's night table. Multiple Choice is the most daring distillation yet of his inimitable, take-no-prisoners genius’ John Wray, author of The Lost Time Accidents

‘Zambra offers a series of vignettes - even short stories by the end - with multiple interpretations, or versions, layered on top of each other’

‘Zambra's field of enquiry overspills the historical and political. It spreads far beyond Chilean borders and slips the bounds of narrative to question the very idea of a single, correct and definitive answer’ Stephen Phelan

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