Skip to main navigation Skip to main content

The 2021 Graywolf Press African Fiction Prize is now open for submissions via Submittable through August 31, 2021.

Space Invaders

A Novel
Nona Fernández, Translated from the Spanish by Natasha Wimmer
Space Invaders is the story of a group of childhood friends who, in adulthood, are preoccupied by uneasy memories and visions of their classmate Estrella González Jepsen. In their dreams, they catch glimpses of Estrella’s braids, hear echoes of her voice, and read old letters that eventually, mysteriously, stopped arriving. They recall regimented school assemblies, nationalistic class performances, and a trip to the beach. Soon it becomes clear that Estrella’s father was a ranking government officer implicated in the violent crimes of the Pinochet regime, and the question of what became of her after she left school haunts her erstwhile friends. Growing up, these friends—from her pen pal, Maldonado, to her crush, Riquelme—were old enough to sense the danger and tension that surrounded them, but powerless in the face of it. They could control only the stories they told each other and the “ghostly green bullets” they fired in the video game they played obsessively.

One of the leading Latin American writers of her generation, Nona Fernández effortlessly builds a choral voice and constantly shifting image of young life in the waning years of the dictatorship. In her short but intricately layered novel, she summons the collective memory of a generation, rescuing felt truth from the oblivion of official history.

Share Title

Publication Date
Trim Size
5 x 7.5
A dreamlike evocation of a generation that grew up in the shadow of the dictatorship in 1980s Chile

About the Author

Nona  Fernandez
Credit: Sergio Lo´pez Isla
Nona Fernández was born in Santiago, Chile. She is an actress and writer, and has published two plays, a collection of short stories, and six novels, including Space Invaders and The Twilight Zone, which was awarded the Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz Prize.
More by author
Natasha Wimmeris the translator of nine books by Roberto Bolaño, including The Savage Detectives and 2666. Her most recent translations are Nona Fernández’s Space Invaders and Sudden Death by Álvaro Enrigue. She lives in Brooklyn with her husband and two children.
More by author


  • “A small jewel of a book. . . . Fernández’s picturesque language and dream-like atmosphere is well worth being invaded by. A book to slip in the pocket to read and reread.”Patti Smith
  • “Fernández’s short, hypnotic novel plays with ideas of history and powerlessness, memory and forgetting. . . . In impressionistic snippets of dreams, letter fragments, and the blinking imagery of video games they re-create a portrait of a generation’s lost childhood.”Vanity Fair
  • “In short poetic chapters in which layers of meaning and emotion are compressed into each sentence, Fernández illustrates one more devastating way autocracy robs people, when it steals their ability to ever know for sure what reality is, or was.”—
  • “There is a wonderful fogginess to Fernández’s gorgeous prose, in this novella translated faultlessly by Natasha Wimmer, whose experience translating the works of Roberto Bolaño and understanding of Latin America’s traumatic history with dictatorships aid her in rendering clarity without removing the elements that help Space Invaders do so much, so quickly.”New York Journal of Books
Back to Table of Contents