Undiscovered: A Novel (Hardcover)

Undiscovered: A Novel By Gabriela Wiener, Julia Sanches (Translated by) Cover Image
By Gabriela Wiener, Julia Sanches (Translated by)
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“An intimate story from the family archive that is also the infamous history of our continent.”—Valeria Luiselli, author of Lost Children Archive 

Award-winning Peruvian journalist Gabriela Wiener delivers her stunning English breakthrough in this "appealingly raw" (NPR) and "incisive" (Publishers Weekly) work of autofiction that explores colonialism through one woman’s family ties to both the colonized and colonizer. 

Alone in a museum in Paris, Gabriela Wiener confronts her complicated family heritage. She is visiting an exhibition of pre-Columbian artifacts, spoils of European colonialism, many stolen from her homeland of Peru. As she peers at countless sculptures of Indigenous faces, each resembling her own, she sees herself in them—but the man responsible for pillaging them was her own great-great-grandfather, Austrian colonial explorer Charles Wiener. 

In the wake of her father’s death, Gabriela returns to Peru. In alternating strands, she begins to probe her father’s infidelity, her own polyamorous relationship, and the history of her colonial ancestor, unpacking the legacy that is her birthright. From the eye-patched persona her father adopted to carry out his double life to the brutal racism she encounters in her ancestor Charles’s book, she traces a cycle of abandonment, jealousy, and fraud, in turn reframing her own personal struggles with desire, love, and race. 

Translated by Julia Sanches

About the Author

Gabriela Wiener is a Peruvian writer and journalist. Her books include Sexographies, a collection of gonzo journalism about contemporary sex culture. Her work has been widely published in anthologies and translated into six languages. In 2018, she was awarded Peru’s National Journalism Award for her part in an investigative report on gender violence. She currently resides in Madrid.

Julia Sanches is a literary translator working from Portuguese, Spanish, and Catalan. Recent translations include Undiscovered by Gabriela Wiener, shortlisted for the International Booker Prize in 2024, Boulder by Eva Baltasar, shortlisted for the International Booker Prize in 2023, and Migratory Birds by Mariana Oliver, for which she won the 2022 PEN translation prize. Born in Brazil, she currently lives in Providence, Rhode Island.

Praise For…

"Gabriela Wiener is a completely unique talent: a graceful storyteller, an acute observer of human vanity, a writer of bold, often delightful insights. Every book she writes is an event not to be missed." — Daniel Alarcón, PEN/Faulkner Award Finalist and Author of At Night We Walk in Circles

“Undiscovered has an appealingly raw, confessional tone, but its prose is highly polished. Sanches' translation does not have an extraneous word. It is also—fittingly, for a book about post-colonial history—committed to retaining the original text's Peruvian-ness. . . . Gabriela, who calls herself ‘the most Indian of the Wieners,’ cannot forget that: In Sanches' exceptional translation, neither can anyone else.” — NPR

"Gabriela Wiener's ease and grace allow her in Undiscovered to explore family, desire, racism, colonialism and being a migrant both tenderly and crudely, vulnerable yet resolute like her beautiful prose." — Mariana Enríquez, Author of Our Share of Night

"Reading Undiscovered, I wondered what so captivated me about this novel. Was it Gabriela's innate ability to plunder all sorts of convention? Her persistent exploration of our deepest despairs–the weight and falsehoods of the stories and imperatives we inherit? All this, but Undiscovered is also spurred on by a yet more profound and radical strength: the spirit of fury. Powerful and searing, this novel snaps, bucks, heals, and snaps again..."
Samanta Schweblin, Author of the National Book Award winning Seven Empty Houses

"[An] incisive work of autofiction . . . shift[ing] seamlessly from the historical to the intimate, often with humor. . . . Wiener's slim and affecting novel will whet readers' appetites for more." — Publishers Weekly

"To trail Gabriela Wiener, to follow in her footsteps, dreaming of reaching her, is one of the few luxuries we have left." — Alejandro Zambra, Author of Chilean Poet and Ways of Going Home

“Even as it probes the author’s own family legacy, Undiscovered reminds readers of the importance of confronting the white-savior myths that form the basis of so much of what we call ‘history.’” — BookPage

"A compelling search for identity that explores the complicated relationship between the person you want to be and the stories of the past that might have made you. This is an exploration of colonialism’s surprising effects on a writer investigating her antecedents and ancestors starting from a display case of Peruvian artefacts in Paris and ending in a story of family, love and desire." — Jury of the 2024 International Booker Prize

"Powerful, genre-transcending... A quiet, lucid triumph" — Irish Times

"Can you imagine a book starring the search for a European ancestor who was a Peruvian ceramic thief, of a bleached and bastard great-grandfather, of polyamory and its deceits, of the grief for a father’s loss, of the heterosexual family and their shameful secrets, of the anticolonialist sex workshops. . . ? Step by step, what seems to be a random encounter of a sewing machine and an umbrella on a dissection table becomes the best book that I’ve read about filiation and love in the contemporary postcolonial condition. Gabriela Wiener has created queer and decolonial psychogenealogy!" — Paul B. Preciado

"An investigative odyssey prompted by a fresh wound . . . where the intimate drama of a family is subsumed into the grander cosmos of colonialism. . . . A beautiful artifact." — Dolores Reyes, Author of Eartheater

“Wiener uses as raw material the arrogance of Eurocentric violence to create radically beautiful and necessary narrations for the antiracist fights.”  — Daniela Ortiz

"A collective autobiography in the key of decolonization; a reckoning unafraid to interrogate itself . . . that inspires awe and shudders." — Cristina Rivera Garza

"A rollicking decolonial fact-fiction remix of ... [Wiener's family] histories, the life of her great-great-great grandfather, the explorer Charles Wiener, and how all this time plays out in her own body, and her current life, and polyamorous household in Madrid." — Electric Literature

Product Details
ISBN: 9780063256682
ISBN-10: 0063256681
Publisher: HarperVia
Publication Date: September 26th, 2023
Pages: 192
Language: English