In Buenos Aires, in the mid-Seventies, a ten-year-old boy lives in world of school lessons and Superman comics, TV shows and games of Risk - a world in which men have superpowers and boys can conquer the globe on a square of cardboard. But in the outside world, a military junta have taken power; and amid a political climate of fear and intimidation, people are beginning to disappear without trace...When his mother unexpectedly takes the boy and his kid brother out of classes, she tells them they're going on an impromptu family 'holiday'. But he soon realizes that the rules of the game are shifting. This will be no holiday: his parents are known supporters of the opposition, and they are going into hiding...Holed up in a ramshackle safe-house in the remote hills outside the city, they assume new identities and make believe that life continues as normal. Naming himself Harry, after his hero Houdini, the boy spends his days of enforced exile learning the secrets of escape. And in a world of seeming chaos and uncertainty, he attempts to imagine he has control over himself and his surroundings.
A deeply moving and wise novel, written with immense heart, Kamchatka is an adventure story about a young boy forced to square fantasy against reality when reality and all its trappings - family, politics, history, and time itself - are more improbable than any fiction. Ultimately, it is a novel about the imaginative spaces we retreat to when we need to make sense of an unimaginable world.