Incredible Books Set In Chile That Will Take You Back In Time And Across The Country

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Chile is one of my top bucket list destinations. I’ve wanted to go for years and actually started planning in 2016! I haven’t made it yet haha.

Since I won’t be going there anytime too soon, I decided now would be the perfect time to write my list of books set in Chile after making my bucket list.

It was also fitting because I’m on my Latin America book post kick. There is only one more after this (for now, I’m sure I’ll do more later) and I’ll switch things up a bit more.

This list is mostly fiction books set in Chile but there are a couple of non-fiction and travel books set in Chile, too.

I haven’t read any of these yet but I’m sure a few will make it onto my TBR. I don’t think I’ve really included any travel ones that are around South America and include Chile, either.

  • If you want to listen to some of these, consider trying Audible! You can get your first month free (one free book) plus tons of others they have for free.  Get that Audible deal here.
  • If you’re on more of a budget, try Scribd!  You can get your first month free there. You can read books and listen to audiobooks. It is unlimited (especially the reading) but if you listen to tons of new audiobooks you may be restricted after a few. I don’t listen to enough to confirm this, but I do use Scribd myself and like it a lot.
  • If you want to read more on your Kindle but don’t want to buy books, Kindle Unlimited is a wonderful option. It’s $9.99 a month but if you read a lot and like to read more than just new releases, it could be worth it. Get Kindle Unlimited here!
  • Get $5 off of $25 from BookOutlet! This is a great place to find new books for pretty cheap. They also have sales quite a bit, so keep an eye out for those. I tend to check here for books I want if they’re more expensive other places. They don’t have everything but they do have a lot. Get that deal here.
  • Thrift Books has become my go-to when I’m looking for a book and want it cheap. It’s great if you like buying used books. With this you can get a free book after spending $30!
  • Shop my book lists here! You can find every book list I have on Bookshop.org (except my monthly round-ups) and I add everything I can but they occasionally won’t have some. I do occasionally add extras though. If any lists are empty, they’ll be filled in shortly! Shop my bookshop.org book lists here.

Dark Echoes of the Past

First up is actually a book by a Chilean author that was translated into English!

While Private Investigator Heredia spends his days reading, with his cat, or watching the river from his Santiago apartment. The city he loves is changing and he can’t stop chasing the ghosts of his past that have now come to him.

Virginia Reyes’s brother is a former political prisoner that was killed in an apparent armed robbery. But nothing of value was taken. The case is closed but Virginia knows things aren’t right and asks Heredia for help, but he can’t shake the feeling she isn’t telling him everything.

Ways of Going Home

We actually have another book by a Chilean author here, too!

It starts with an earthquake, seen through the eyes of an average, unnamed nine-year-old boy in Santiago. With his neighbors camping out, he sees Claudia for the first time who asks him to spy on her uncle Raul.

In the second section, the protagonist is the writer of the story in the first section. His father is a man of few words and claims to be political but quietly sympathizers with the Pinochet regime.

This switches between author and character and past and present.

By Night in Chile

This takes place in a single night, providing a terrifying and clandestine view of the strange relationship between church and state in Chile.

It recounts the tale of a poor boy hoping to be a poet but ending up as a half-hearted Jesuit priest and conservative literary critic.

Father Urrutia is offered a tour of Europe by agents of Opus Dei to study the disintegration of the churches, then to secretly teach Pinochet at night about Marxism. Soon, his memories go from bad to worse.

Seeing Red

This is fiction, but it’s an autobiographical novel about a young Chilean writer who moved to New York. She suffers a stroke and is left blind and more dependent on those around her than ever.

This is a mix of fiction and autobiography about the relations between the body, illness, science, and human relationships.

We Were Never Here

This book is set in Chile and Wisconsin! Woo! I cannot wait to read this one and got it on a Kindle deal when I made this list.

Emily is having the time of her life in Chile with her friend Kristen on their annual reunion trip. On the last night of the trip, Emily comes back to find broken glass and blood all over their hotel room and Kristen says the cute backpacker she brought back attacked her and she had to kill him in self-defense. What’s weirder, it’s eerily similar to what happened on last year’s trip. Is it really a coincidence?

Back in Wisconsin, Emily tries to bury her trauma and throws herself into her relationship and work. But when Kristen shows up for a surprise visit, Emily is forced to face her dark past.

I Lived on Butterfly Hill

Celeste Macaroni is a dreamer living in Valparaiso, Chile. It’s an idyllic town until the day warships are spotted in the harbor and classmates start disappearing from class without a word. The only thing that’s clear now is that no one is safe anymore.

The government that took over has declared artists, protestors, and anyone that helps the needy dangerous to Chile’s future. Her parents have to go into hiding before they “disappear”, too, but before they do, they send Celeste to America to protect her.

While she adjusts to life in Maine, she always dreams of Chile, but even when the country is restored to democracy, will her parents ever come out of hiding?

The House of the Spirits

Esteban is a proud but volatile man whose pursuit of political power is only tempered by his love for his delicate wife, Clara, a woman with a mystical connection to the spirit world.

Their daughter Blanca’s forbidden love affair in defiance of her father gives Esteban an unexpected gift, Alba, his adored granddaughter who will lead her family and country into a revolutionary future.

The Postman

This is the story of young love ignited by the poetry of Pablo Neruda in the colorful years before the Pinochet dictatorship in Chile.

Lost & Waiting

Evangeline has been waiting for a sign and when she comes across a Victorian plant hunter’s journal at Kew, she knows she’s found it. In it, the author, Edwin ‘Chile’ Morgan, claims to have found the fabled World Tree. His words offer life lessons and reflections that give her a way to overcome the grief of a stillbirth.

Journal in hand, she sets off on a journey to Chile in search of the World Tree meeting an unprincipled pharmacist, an oil company set on deforestation, and an enigmatic art aficionado whose interest in her takes an unsettling turn.

Deep Down Dark

When 33 men were buried in a Chilean mine, journalist Hector Tobar received exclusive access to the miners and their tales. They saw the mine as a cavern inflicting constant torment, as a kind of coffin, and as a church where they sought redemption through prayer.

They agreed that if any of them make it out alive, they would only share their story collectively and Tobar was the one they chose to listen to and tell that story.

A Long Petal of the Sea

Spain is gripped in civil war in the 1930s and hundreds of thousands flee over the mountains to the French border. Roser, a pregnant young woman, is one of them and she finds herself entwined with Victor Dalmau, an army doctor and brother of her deceased love.

To survive, they need to unite in a marriage neither of them wants. Among two thousand other refugees, they flee on a ship chartered by Pablo Neruda to Chile.

They embrace the exile, starting life over on a new continent, facing trial after trial but still finding joy as they await the day they may return home.

My Invented Country: A Nostalgic Journey Through Chile

This book (one of the few non-fiction Chile books on this list) revolves around two major events: the 1937 assassination of Allende’s uncle which sent her into exile and inspired her literary career; and 9/11, the attacks on her adopted homeland.

It goes between places and times as a monumental tribute to history, the immigrant experience, and a personal consideration of what it means to pursue a reflective life in a contradictory world.

Travels in a Thin Country

I’ve wanted to read this one for so long and I finally got it over the summer! But I haven’t read it yet, of course.

This is Sara’s account of her six-month journey across Chile from the Atacama to Antarctica with few maps and two carpetbags.

It includes her Christmas at 13,000 with a llama sandwich, a sex hotel in Santiago, and a trip around Cape Horn delivering a coffin.

Eight Men and a Duck: An Improbable Voyage by Reed Boat to Easter Island

Nick heard fellow bus passengers discussing the improbable plan to sail the 2,500 miles from Northern Chile to Easter Island in a boat made of reeds. They wanted to revive the pre-Incan boat building method while having an incredible adventure.

Nick talked his way on board to find himself plagued with uncertainty, especially when the crew was made of a tree surgeon, a jewelry salesman, and two ducks. Where’s the navigator? Does anyone here know how to sail? Where is the life raft?

This is perfect for fans of adventure and sailing books.

Miracle in the Andes: 72 Days on the Mountain and My Long Trek Home

At first, there was nothing but black and perfect silence. Nando was unconscious for three days after the plane his rugby team and their families were on crashed in the Andes.

Many were dead or dying and the rest were stranded on a glacier almost 12,000 feet above sea level with no supplies or way to call for help.

Nando knew he had to get home or die trying so he led an expedition through the snow-capped mountains, across forty-five miles of wilderness to find help.

Clandestine in Chile

In 1973, film director Miguel Littin fled Chile when Pinochet became dictator and instituted a reign of terror. He returned in 1985 disguised as an Uruguayan businessman, desperate to see the homeland he left years before.

With the help of three film crews from different countries, each supposedly making a movie to promote tourism, he would secretly put together a film showing the world Pinochet’s benighted Chile, capturing the world’s attention.

Have you read any of these books set in Chile? Which ones? Any other Chile books I should check out?

Author: Megan Johnson

I'm Megan, a cheesehead at heart currently residing in the Sunshine State. You can probably find me reading, watching Forensic Files, or both.

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