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How to Order the Universe

A novel by

“A dreamscape of a book. I adored this compelling, wise, and utterly unique coming-of-age tale.” —Tara Conklin

For seven-year-old M, the world is guided by a firm set of principles, based on her father D’s life as a traveling salesman. Enchanted by her father’s trade, M convinces him to take her along on his routes, selling hardware supplies against the backdrop of Pinochet-era Chile. As father and daughter trek from town to town in their old Renault, M’s memories and thoughts become tied to a language of rural commerce, philosophy, the cosmos, hardware products, and ghosts. M, in her innocence, barely notices the rising tensions and precarious nature of their work until she and her father connect with an enigmatic photographer, E, whose presence threatens to upend the unusual life they’ve created.

María José Ferrada expertly captures a vanishing way of life and a father-daughter relationship on the brink of irreversible change. At once nostalgic, dangerous, sharply funny, and full of delight and wonder, How to Order the Universe is a richly imaginative debut and a rare work of magic and originality.

Genre: Literary Fiction

Praise for this book

"How to Order the Universe is a dreamscape of a book. In an assured and striking voice, María José Ferrada tells the story of M, a girl who skips school to join her traveling salesman father on the road. Along the way, M witnesses tragedy, desire, secrecy and grief as she finds her own truths and learns to separate her father’s disappointments from her own. I adored this compelling, wise and utterly unique coming-of-age tale." - Tara Conklin

"Ferrada’s novella has the poetic simplicity and dark wisdom of a fairytale. In it, we experience the machinations of repression during Chile’s dictatorship through the eyes of a seven-year-old girl and, at the same time, through the adult version of this girl, who bears the burden of memory. Over the course of the story, both girl and woman attempt to understand the transience of existence and human connection. Ferrada gifts us with a story that is like an egg: complex in its simplicity, full of life and mystery. I wanted to hold it close, and with great care." - Frances de Pontes Peebles

Used availability for Maria Jose Ferrada's How to Order the Universe

Hardback Editions

February 2021 : USA Hardback

Title: How to Order the Universe
Author(s): Maria Jose Ferrada
ISBN: 1-951142-30-6 / 978-1-951142-30-8 (USA edition)
Publisher: Tin House Books
Availability: Amazon   Amazon UK   Amazon CA   Amazon AU   

Kindle Editions

February 2021 : USA, Canada Kindle edition

Title: How to Order the Universe
Author(s): Maria Jose Ferrada
Publisher: Tin House Books
Availability: Amazon   Amazon CA