Manuel Rojas


Manuel Rojas was one of the most important Chilean and Latin American storytellers of the 20th century. Born in Argentina in 1896 to Chilean parents, Rojas settled down definitively in Chile in 1912, where he autodidactically worked on and developed his literary art. After stints in several different jobs—as a painter, electrician and tailor’s apprentice among others—Rojas ultimately chose the art of literature. His first forays into writing came in the form of chronicles about politics and education in anarchist newspapers. Afterwards, he began writing stories and novels. His most famous novel, and perhaps most famous work, is titled Hijo de Ladrón (Son of a Thief). Among his short stories, perhaps the most well-known is “El Vaso de leche” (The Glass of Milk). Based on a simple and mundane plot, the story faithfully reflects the predominant feeling dwelling in the Chilean consciousness: frustration with one’s personal state of affairs, especially regarding one’s relationship to money. As the critic Mario Rodriguez states in his anthology Cuentos Hispoanoamericanos (Hispanic-American Short Stories), Rojas’s narrative centers around “individuals who are helpless, defenseless, and abandoned within a hostile world and who painfully experience their own inner selves. Rojas died on March 11th, 1973 in Santiago, Chile, just months before the military coup. 


  • Puerto Natales
    Leaning on the starboard rail, the sailor seemed to be waiting for someone. In his left hand he held a white paper wrapping, with grease stains in several places. In his other hand he held his pipe. A...

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