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Short War

Short War

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By Lily Meyer

Told in three distinct voices, Short War brings together a rapturous teenage love story set in Chile, the hunt for the author of an eye-opening literary detective story, and a complex reckoning with American political intervention in South America.

Publication Date: April 9, 2024

Paperback ISBN: 9781646053155
eBook ISBN: 9781646053308


When sixteen-year-old Gabriel Lazris, an American in Santiago, Chile, meets Caro Ravest, something clicks. Caro, who is Chilean, is charming, curious, and deeply herself. Gabriel dreams of their future together. But everybody’s saying there’s going to be a coup—and no one says it louder than Gabriel’s dad, a Nixon-loving newspaper editor who Gabriel suspects is working with the C.I.A. Gabriel’s father is adamant that the moment political unrest erupts, their family is going home. To Gabriel, though, Chile is home.

Decades later, Gabriel’s American-raised adult daughter Nina heads to Buenos Aires in a last-ditch effort to save her dissertation. Quickly, though, she gets sidetracked: first by a sexy professor, then by a controversial book called Guerra Eterna. A document of war and an underground classic, Guerra Eterna transforms Nina’s sense of her family and identity, pushing her to confront the moral weight of being an American citizen in a hemisphere long dominated by U.S. power. But not until Short War’s coda do we get true insight into the divergent fortunes of Gabriel Lazris and Caro Ravest.

Shaped by the geopolitical forces that brought far-right dictators like Pinochet to power, their fates reverberate through generations, evoking thorny questions about power, privilege, and how to live with the guilt of the past.

Biographical Note
Lily Meyer is a writer, translator, and critic. She is a contributing writer at the Atlantic, and her translations include Claudia Ulloa Donoso's story collections Little Bird and Ice for Martians. She lives in Washington, D.C.

"A stellar roller coaster of a debut." —Megan McDowell, National Book Award winning translator of Samanta Schweblin's Seven Empty Houses

Short War is a sharp exploration of the long afterlife and peripheral impact of historical trauma. Meyer vividly introduces a compelling psychological thread and a mystery that unfolds across generations, asking us to consider the personal and structural forces that have shaped us. This debut introduces an important and accomplished new literary voice.” —Danielle Evans, author of The Office of Historical Corrections 

"Lily Meyer writes with transfixing concision. In this excellent, assured first novel, Meyer's knowledge of Chile comes vividly to life. Short War is astute and absorbing, a complex novel about adolescence and the insidious role of the United States in the Pinochet dictatorship." —Idra Novey, author of Take What You Need 

“Lily Meyer's Short War is a breathtaking debut: a deeply felt portrait of youth and longing, and also a geopolitical barnburner of a story that spans continents and generations, exposing US foreign policy on the scale of an intimate human drama. Meyer's prose is beautifully understated, conjuring up a style on her own. Short War is the most assured debut I've read in a very long time. This is the announcement of a major new talent.” —Dwyer Murphy, author of The Stolen Coast

“I think I left a little bit of my soul behind after reading Lily Meyer's Short War. Meyer has an unparalleled ability to get into her characters' heads and emotions, whether it's teenage lust or adult rage. And even if you're not an expert on CIA-backed coups, she is also excellent at giving you enough historical detail while never losing sight of the story and fully immersing you in the landscape and culture. There are family secrets, survivor guilt, hopelessness and hope; this fairly short novel manages to contain them all. This is already one of my favorites of 2024!” —Anton Bogomazov, Politics and Prose