Michael Eaude

Presumed Dead

The Remainder

By

And Other Stories 240pp £10 order from our bookshop

In a powerful scene in the middle of The Remainder, Felipe remembers how, as an orphan of about ten or twelve, he ran away from home. Picked up by the police, he is taken to the station and asked his name. The policeman makes a call to check, then puts down the phone, red-faced and angry. ‘Impossible,’ he shouts, ‘Felipe Arrabal is presumed dead.’ Felipe bears the same name as his father.

The scene sums up the novel’s central theme: Felipe feels dead, like his lost father, who is ‘presumed dead’. Even his name is not his own. He and Iquela, who narrate the novel in alternating chapters, live in post-Pinochet Chile. Children of left-wing activists, they cannot escape the pain of the past. You have your mother’s eyes, Iquela is told in an innocuous comment. No, they’re mine, mine, mine, she screams.

Sign Up to our newsletter

Receive free articles, highlights from the archive, news, details of prizes, and much more.

Follow Literary Review on Twitter

  • Last Tweets

    • The mystery of Jack the Ripper's identity has long been agonised over. But what do we know about his victims?… ,
    • A piece of Literary Review history from way back in 1983: John Haffenden talks to the great Iris Murdoch. ,
    • Britain’s only travelling lit fest, the Garden Museum Literary Festival is heading to Houghton Hall, Norfolk, for a… ,
    • 'The 19th-century German sage is not my idea of a pleasant travel companion' goes hiking with Friedr… ,
    • If you want ideas about what to read next, sign up to our free email newsletter, and get book reviews, archive mate… ,
    • 'The heroic male nude could not, I think, be used today to signify civic pride and glory', as Michelangelo’s 'David… ,
    • 'Munch’s later works show us a man liberated from the torments that gave rise to some of the best-known early works… ,