Doorstoppers, slim volumes, loose leaves stacked in a box, bound pages fretworked with holes, epistolary exchanges, online postings, palimpsests…. Fiction comes in all shapes and sizes — and that’s just the format, before you get to the content, which might include fractured grammar, reversed chronology, parallel plots, contradictory footnotes, dead or unborn narrators and labyrinthine text.
Never though, until now, have I encountered a work of fiction set out as an examination paper. From first page to last here are 90 questions, a sly parody of the Chilean Aptitude Test for university applicants, right down to the numbered multiple choice boxes to tick. If this sounds off-putting, tricksy, a little too overtly experimental, think again: the initially disconcerting format speedily draws the reader into a beguiling, comic and oddly recognisable universe of marital breakdown, parental anxiety and thwarted hopes.