Cat sitter, insomniac, former schoolteacher. Ania worries she is a “stand-in occupant,” a substitute in her own life. When she receives a request from her father to visit her dying uncle Agustín in Argentina, she makes the long journey across the Andes from Chile to Campana, where her family immigrated from Italy. Her trip, one she used to make every summer with her father, will be an escape from the present and a journey to the borders of memory.
What follows is an ambitious portrait of alienation and belonging, and of two families and countries separated by a range of mountains. Threaded together with encyclopedia entries, pages from an old immigrant manual, typing class exercises, passages from children’s books, half-faded photos, and letters mailed between continents, The Touch System introduces Alejandra Costamagna as one of the most powerful and subtle writers in contemporary Latin American literature.