South of Centre

South of Centre is a saga that exposes the intertwined lives of an obsessive spinster who lives in a small town at the edge of Chile's Atacama Desert, and that of an exotic, elderly gentleman who returns there to die.

Clorinda becomes obsessed with Sr. Ortega after she sees him move in across the street. When he finally befriends her, the unlikely story behind their relationship begins to unravel, taking us for a spin through the decades before and after Chile's dictatorship.

Sr. Ortega, born a poor miner's son at the end of a long line of faded Spanish aristocracy, defies destiny at the age of 15. His single audacious impulse provokes a series of events that take him far beyond his dusty, coastal hometown, and back again.

Dressed in her 'calendar wardrobe,' Clorinda recycles fibres from used garments to create beautiful tapestries. Obsessed as she is with Sr. Ortega, she picks through the threads of his life to weave his story into a bizarre work of art that can have only one fate.

Full of quirky humor and tragic circumstances, South of Centre is sprinkled with magic realism. Its underlying questions cut through decades of change and bring us to a point of unexpected convergence.

South of Centre weaves through a lifetime of love and corruption, where characters are connected and then separated by cosmic trickery or a single thread.

–an opportunity for discussions about relationships, lost and found–


IT WAS THE BEST BOOK I READ LAST SUMMER. I'm looking forward to the sequel to see if the father and daughter do meet. My daughter is recommending this book for her book club.
– Amazon reader review

A GENTLE LOVE STORY... I absolutely love this book and couldn't put it down until the very end. I kept wanting to know what would evolve.
– Amazon reader review

ONE OF THE FINEST I'VE EVER READ... Andrea Carter, a Canadian living in Chile has fashioned materials from folklore and to some extent historical events into a captivating tale of lovable and pitiful characters whose lives intersect and blend unexpectedly. The story lines, although independent for the most part come together smoothly, making it impossible to put the book down. .
– Amazon reader review

BEAUTIFUL LOVE STORY FULL OF ECLECTIC CHARACTERS. I loved this story from the first page, it made me both curious and inspired. The characters are wonderfully full, and the place, well, it's a strange and wonderful town full of comedy and love.
– Barnes & Noble reader review

THIS IS A GREAT READ... set in Tocopilla, in northern Chile, it features brazen miners, gypsies, saints, and unusual friendship and a bittersweet twist at the end. a story about loss and companionship, a peak behind the closed doors of quiet people you might not notice, only to discover that their lives are as complex as the patchwork and weavings created by the novel's most engaging, surprising character.
– Amazon reader review

Inspiration for

South of Centre

My Chilean family is from the north and we've spent a lot of time there. I'm enchanted by the fact that the cemetery and bakeries are meeting places, that local fishermen sell door-to-door, that they build huge papier mache statues to burn on New Year's Eve, that they yell into each others' houses, that they visit the cemetery every week. There are eternal delays and distractions. There is a lack of rain, and so much heat and dust. There is an abundance of superstition and local saints. Really striking is the fact that it's often impossible to get to the bottom of an issue. Networks are broad and stories change as they weave their way through. There is never one single version of anything. And not necessarily because of misunderstandings but rather because of deliberate actions to protect either themselves or a loved one, often resulting in chaos. My father-in-law told me some stories and my husband answered my questions. And that was just the beginning.

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Contact Author

Andrea Carter

Las Condes
Santiago de Chile

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