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From dazzling white salt flats and the driest desert on earth, to ice fields and snow-capped volcanoes, Chile boasts a breathtaking variety of landscapes. Vibrant cities such as Valparaiso contrast with awe-inspiring Andean scenery, while world-class skiing, trekking and surfing vie for attention with Chiloe’s myths and the mystery-shrouded moai of Easter Island. (Excerpt from The Rough Guide to Chile)

We stock a range of travel guide books and maps for Chile, as well as selected books based in the country including fiction, travel writing, biographies, history, food and more. Below you’ll find our recommended books to read before you go.

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The House of the Spirits

The House of the Spirits brings to life the triumphs and tragedies of three generations of the Trueba family. The patriarch Esteban is a volatile, proud man whose voracious pursuit of political power is tempered only by his love for his delicate wife, Clara, a woman with a mystical connection to the spirit world. When their daughter Blanca embarks on a forbidden love affair in defiance of her implacable father, the result is an unexpected gift to Esteban: his adored granddaughter Alba, a beautiful and strong-willed child who will lead her family and her country into a revolutionary future. One of the most important novels of the twentieth century, The House of the Spirits is an enthralling epic that spans decades and lives, weaving the personal and the political into a universal story of love, magic, and fate.

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Ines of My Soul

This is the story of the first Spanish woman to arrive on Chile's shores in the 1500s. A real historical figure, Inés Suarez came to Chile with the Conquistadors in 1540, helping to claim the territory for Spain and to found the first Spanish settlement in Santiago. In this remarkable novel, Isabel Allende – one of the world's most spellbinding storytellers – re-imagines Inés's life and that of the two men who become her lover and husband respectively. Inés of My Soul evokes the conflict and drama of the Conquistadors' arrival in Chile, as well as helping restore the reputation of Inés, a powerful woman long neglected by history and a patriarchal society. It also finds Allende returning to territory beloved of her and her readers – imaginative historical fiction, evocatively told – and to the familiar landscape of her native country.

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The Postman (Il Postino)

Boisterously funny and passionate, The Postman tells of young love ignited by the poetry of Pablo Neruda. Set in the colourful, ebullient years preceding the Pinochet dictatorship in Chile, the book has been translated into nearly twenty-five languages around the world.

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In Patagonia

An exhilarating look at a place that still retains the exotic mystery of a far-off, unseen land, Bruce Chatwin's exquisite account of his journey through Patagonia teems with evocative descriptions, remarkable bits of history, and unforgettable anecdotes. Fueled by an unmistakable lust for life and adventure and a singular gift for storytelling, Chatwin treks through 'the uttermost part of the earth' - that stretch of land at the southern tip of South America, where bandits were once made welcome - in search of almost-forgotten legends, the descendants of Welsh immigrants, and the log cabin built by Butch Cassidy. A masterpiece of travel, history and adventure, this award-winning book captures the spirit of the land, history, wildlife and people of Patagonia.

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Chile: Travels in a Thin Country

Squeezed in between a vast ocean and the longest mountain range on earth, Chile is 2,600 miles long and never more than 110 miles wide - not a country which lends itself to maps, as Sara Wheeler found out when she travelled alone with two carpetbags from the top to the bottom, from the driest desert in the world to the sepulchral wastes of Antarctica. This is Sara Wheeler's account of a six-month odyssey which included Christmas Day at 13,000 feet with a llama sandwich, a dubious hotel in Santiago and a trip round Cape Horn delivering a coffin. Eloquent, astute and amusing.

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Main image by Paula Porto on Unsplash