Lily Meyer presents Short War, in conversation with Jennifer Wilson

April 4th
McNally Jackson Seaport
RSVP Required — see below

Told in three distinct voices, Short War brings together a rapturous teenage love story set in Chile, the hunt for the author of an eye-opening literary detective story, and a complex reckoning with American political intervention in South America.

“Lily Meyer's Short War is a breathtaking debut: a deeply felt portrait of youth and longing, and also a geopolitical barnburner of a story that spans continents and generations, exposing US foreign policy on the scale of an intimate human drama. Meyer's prose is beautifully understated, conjuring up a style on her own. Short War is the most assured debut I've read in a very long time. This is the announcement of a major new talent.” —Dwyer Murphy, author of The Stolen Coast

When sixteen-year-old Gabriel Lazris, an American in Santiago, Chile, meets Caro Ravest, something clicks. Caro, who is Chilean, is charming, curious, and deeply herself. Gabriel dreams of their future together. But everybody's saying there's going to be a coup--and no one says it louder than Gabriel's dad, a Nixon-loving newspaper editor who Gabriel suspects is working with the C.I.A. Gabriel's father is adamant that the moment political unrest erupts, their family is going home. To Gabriel, though, Chile is home.

Decades later, Gabriel's American-raised adult daughter Nina heads to Buenos Aires in a last-ditch effort to save her dissertation. Quickly, though, she gets sidetracked: first by a sexy professor, then by a controversial book called Guerra Eterna. A document of war and an underground classic, Guerra Eterna transforms Nina's sense of her family and identity, pushing her to confront the moral weight of being an American citizen in a hemisphere long dominated by U.S. power. But not until Short War's coda do we get true insight into the divergent fortunes of Gabriel Lazris and Caro Ravest.

Shaped by the geopolitical forces that brought far-right dictators like Pinochet to power, their fates reverberate through generations, evoking thorny questions about power, privilege, and how to live with the guilt of the past.

"A stellar roller coaster of a debut." —Megan McDowell, National Book Award winning translator of Samanta Schweblin's Seven Empty Houses

Short War is a sharp exploration of the long afterlife and peripheral impact of historical trauma. Meyer vividly introduces a compelling psychological thread and a mystery that unfolds across generations, asking us to consider the personal and structural forces that have shaped us. This debut introduces an important and accomplished new literary voice.” —Danielle Evans, author of The Office of Historical Corrections

Lily Meyer is a writer, translator, and critic. Her translations include Claudia Ulloa Donoso's story collections Little Bird (Deep Vellum, 2021) and Ice for Martians (CUNY, 2022). She lives in Washington, D.C.




Jennifer Wilson is a contributing writer at The New Yorker.




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