The Twilight Zone

Finalist, National Book Awards 2021 for Translated Literature

ISBN 9781644450475
Graywolf Press
Nona Fernández

Nona Fernández was born in Santiago, Chile. She is an actress and writer, and has published two plays, a collection of short stories, a work of nonfiction, and six novels, including Space Invaders and The Twilight Zone, which was awarded the Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz Prize. (Photo credit: Sergio Lopez Isla) More about this author >

Natasha Wimmer

Natasha Wimmer is 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. (Photo credit: Natasha Wimmer) More about this author >

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Translated from the Spanish


It is 1984 in Chile, in the middle of the Pinochet dictatorship. A member of the secret police walks into the office of a dissident magazine and begins to talk to a reporter, who records his testimony. The narrator of Nona Fernández’s mesmerizing and terrifying novel The Twilight Zone is a child when she first sees this man’s face on the magazine’s cover with the words “I Tortured People.” His complicity in the worst crimes of the regime and his commitment to speaking about them haunt the narrator into her adulthood and career as a writer and documentarian. Like a secret service agent from the future, through extraordinary feats of the imagination, Fernández follows the “man who tortured people” to places that archives can’t reach, into the sinister twilight zone of history where morning routines, a game of chess, Yuri Gagarin, and the eponymous TV show of the novel’s title coexist with the brutal yet commonplace machinations of the regime.

How do crimes vanish in plain sight? How does one resist a repressive regime? And who gets to shape the truths we live by and take for granted? The Twilight Zone pulls us into the dark portals of the past, reminding us that the work of the writer in the face of historical erasure is to imagine so deeply that these absences can be, for a time, spectacularly illuminated.

Judges Citation

In this urgent, inventive, and deeply affecting novel, a documentarian reckons with collective trauma while investigating a man who tortured people during Pinochet’s dictatorship. Interweaving memoir, popular culture, and accounts real and imagined, Nona Fernández illuminates the lives and events absent from the archives, confronts incomprehensible horrors, and gives voice to the resulting grief. In Natasha Wimmer’s exquisite translation, Fernández’s incantatory prose draws readers into the abyss and asks us to bear witness alongside her.


Nona Fernández and Natasha Wimmer, 2021 NBAwards Translated Literature Finalists, read from The Twilight Zone