Caroline is seven years old when her family flees Pinochet’s regime, leaving Chile for Montreal on Christmas Eve, 1986. She fears Santa won’t find them on the plane but wakes to find a new doll at her side, her mother preserving the holiday even amidst persecution and turmoil. This symbol of care is repeated throughout their relocation as her parents work tirelessly to provide the family with a new vision of the future.
Once in Canada, Caroline accompanies her parents as they clean banks at night. She experiences racist microaggressions at school, discovers Québécois popular culture, and explores her love of reading and writing in French. Slowly, the Andean peaks disappear from Caroline’s drawings and a fracture between her parents’ identity and her own begins to grow.
This expansive coming-of-age autobiographical novel probes the plurality of identity, elucidating the interwoven complexities of immigrating to a new country. As the Andes Disappeared tenderly reflects the journey of millions and is a beautiful ode to family commitment and the importance of home—however layered that may be.