Chloe Aridjis

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Chloe Aridjis
Chloe Aridjis reading from Book of Clouds
Chloe Aridjis reading from Book of Clouds
BornNew York City, U.S.
  • Mexican
  • American
Alma materHarvard University
University of Oxford
Notable worksBook of Clouds (2009)
Asunder (2013)
Notable awardsPrix du Premier Roman Étranger (2009)

Chloe Aridjis (born 1971) is a Mexican and American novelist and writer. Her novel Book of Clouds (2009) was published in eight countries, and won the Prix du Premier Roman Étranger. Her second novel, Asunder was published in 2013 to unanimous acclaim.[1] Her third novel, Sea Monsters (2019), was awarded the PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction in 2020.[2] She is the eldest daughter of Mexican poet and diplomat Homero Aridjis and American Betty F. de Aridjis, an environmental activist and translator. She is the sister of film maker Eva Aridjis. She has a doctorate in nineteenth-century French poetry and magic from the University of Oxford.[3]


Born in New York City, Chloe Aridjis grew up in Mexico City and the Netherlands, where her father served as Mexico's ambassador. Aridjis studied comparative literature at Harvard University and wrote a thesis on "Night and the Poetic Self" in Charles Baudelaire's Les Fleurs du mal at the University of Oxford, under the supervision of Malcolm Bowie before completing a doctorate on "the interface between high and popular art in nineteenth-century France with a special focus on the relationship between poetry, magic shows and literature of the fantastic".[4][5] As a teenager she had a bilingual exposure to pop in Mexico City, listening to British bands while discovering their Mexican equivalents at a gay goth club.[6]

She met great poets such as Jorge Luis Borges and Ted Hughes at international poetry festivals her parents organised in the early 1980s. This had a lasting effect on Aridjis, who maintained a correspondence with several of them throughout her adolescence.[4] Her favourite authors include Nikolai Gogol, Samuel Beckett, Thomas Bernhard, Franz Kafka, Miguel de Cervantes, Edgar Allan Poe, Horacio Quiroga, Charles Baudelaire,[7] Gérard de Nerval, Stéphane Mallarmé, Arthur Rimbaud, Walter Benjamin, Robert Walser,[4] Gaston Bachelard, Comte de Lautréamont and René Daumal.[8]

Her book of essays on Magic and the Literary Fantastique in Nineteenth-Century France was published in 2002. Her doctoral thesis was published in Spanish as Topografía de lo insólito: La magia y lo fantástico literario en la Francia del siglo XIX (Fondo de Cultura Económica, Mexico, 2005).[4] She publishes in journals and newspapers in England, Mexico, among them essays for Granta on insomnia and the psychological fallout of space travel on Soviet cosmonauts.[9] Aridjis lived in Berlin for five years, and currently resides in London. She taught on the literary novels MA at City, University of London.[10] She has been vegetarian since 1986.[4]

Her debut novel Book of Clouds was published in the US by Grove Press in winter 2009, and by Chatto and Windus in the UK in July 2009, in the Netherlands, and by Mercure de France in September 2009. It was published in Mexico, Spain, Romania and Croatia in 2011 and as a graphic novel in French in early 2012. In his review of Book of Clouds for The Independent, Daniel Hahn described it as an "exceptional debut novel".[11] In The New York Times, Wendy Lesser described it as "a stunningly accurate portrait of Berlin".[12] Regina Marler in the Los Angeles Times drew attention to Aridjis's "magic and poetry", and described "an unsettling atmosphere unlike anything in recent fiction."[13] In November 2009, Book of Clouds won the Prix du Premier Roman Étranger in France.[14]

Her second novel, Asunder, was published in May 2013 by Chatto and Windus in London, and in September by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt in New York City.[6] The novel concerns two museum guards, one at the National Gallery in London, for whom life and art begin to overtake each other in surreal and unsettling ways.[15] It involves a trip to Paris, and carefully contained worlds torn apart.[16] The Times Literary Supplement wrote, "Chloe Aridjis is crafting a poetics of the strange ... This is deft and shimmering fiction" while The Guardian described the novel as "Strange, extravagant, darkly absorbing ... thrills with energy."[17]

Her third novel, Sea Monsters, was published in February 2019. The New Yorker referred to it as "a hypnotic narrative of disenchantment" [18] while The Atlantic called it "a strange symbolist novel that would make Mallarmé proud" [19] and wrote, "Like a magician, Aridjis is obsessed with elusiveness; like a symbolist, she far prefers imagination and metaphor to plain sight."[19] Sea Monsters won the PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction in 2020.[20]

Aridjis was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship in 2014.[21] In 2020, she was awarded the Eccles Centre & Hay Festival Writers Award for her forthcoming novel entitled Reports from the Land of the Bats.[22]

She was co-curator of the Leonora Carrington exhibition at Tate Liverpool that opened in March 2015 [23] and occasionally writes for frieze[24] and other art journals.

In February 2016, her English translation of her father's book The Child Poet was published.[25]

Aridjis is a founding member of Writers Rebel, a group of writers that is part of the Extinction Rebellion and that focuses on the climate emergency. She is particularly interested in issues involving species extinction, and animal welfare in general.[26][27]


  • Magic and the Literary Fantastique in Nineteenth-Century France. University of Oxford, 2002.
  • Topografía de lo insólito. Fondo de Cultura Económica, México, 2005.
  • Book of Clouds. Chatto and Windus, 2009.
  • Asunder. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. 2013. ISBN 978-0-544-00351-4.[28]
  • Book of Clouds. Grove/Atlantic, Incorporated. 2009. ISBN 978-1-55584-919-1.
  • Sea Monsters. Chatto & Windus, 2019.
  • Dialogue with a Somnambulist: Stories, Essays & a Portrait Gallery. House Sparrow Press, 2021. ISBN 978-1-913513-29-0.


  1. ^ "The Omnivore » Asunder by Chloe Aridjis".
  2. ^ "Announcing the Winner of the 2020 PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction: SEA MONSTERS by Chloe Aridjis | The PEN/Faulkner Foundation".
  3. ^ "News Room". Grove Atlantic. 23 January 2017.
  4. ^ a b c d e "Night Train - Interview - Chloe Aridjis". Archived from the original on 2012-02-18. Retrieved 2012-11-26.
  5. ^ "Interview: Chloe Aridjis | the Jewish Chronicle". Archived from the original on 2009-09-30. Retrieved 2010-02-20.
  6. ^ a b "The Documentary, Sleevenotes, Chloe Aridjis". BBC. 2020-12-14. Retrieved 2021-01-07.
  7. ^ "Book of a lifetime: Le Spleen de Paris, By Charles Baudelaire". The Independent. June 6, 2013.
  8. ^ Aridjis, Chloe (20 June 2013). "Ideal Syllabus: Chloe Aridjis | Frieze". Frieze (156).
  9. ^ "Chloe Aridjis".
  10. ^ "Literary Novels | City University London". Archived from the original on 2013-12-21. Retrieved 2012-11-26.
  11. ^ "Book of Clouds, by Chloe Aridjis - New Articles - the Independent". Archived from the original on 2015-09-25. Retrieved 2017-08-25.
  12. ^ Lesser, Wendy (March 12, 2009). "Berlin Story (Published 2009)". The New York Times.
  13. ^ "Human footprints as fleeting as the weather". Los Angeles Times. April 3, 2009.
  14. ^ "Sodis". Archived from the original on 2009-11-07. Retrieved 2009-11-30.
  15. ^ "AgentQuery :: Find the Agent Who Will Find You a Publisher".
  16. ^ "About us".
  17. ^ "Order Asunder, ISBN 0544003462 | HMH".
  18. ^ Waldman, Katy. "Chloe Aridjis's "Sea Monsters" Is a Hypnotic Narrative of Disenchantment". The New Yorker.
  19. ^ a b Meyer, Lily (February 17, 2019). "The Strange Beach Novel That Would Make Mallarmé Proud". The Atlantic.
  20. ^ Mendoza, Enrique (April 9, 2020). "Chloe Aridjis gana Premio Pen/Faulkner de Ficción 2020".
  21. ^ "Chloe Aridjis - John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation". Archived from the original on 2014-07-14. Retrieved 2014-07-06.
  22. ^ "The Eccles Centre & Hay Festival Writers Award".
  23. ^ "Leonora Carrington transcended her stolid background to become an". The Independent. March 4, 2015.
  24. ^ Aridjis, Chloe (October 2017). "Tea and Creatures with Leonora Carrington | Frieze". Frieze (6).
  25. ^ "The Child Poet by Homero Aridjis". Archipelago Books.
  26. ^ "About".
  27. ^ "UK's Top Writers speak truth to power to highlight the Ecological and Climate Emergency". Extinction Rebellion UK. 2019-10-01. Retrieved 2022-01-31.
  28. ^ Alexandra Harris (31 May 2013). "Asunder by Chloe Aridjis – review". The Guardian. She dares add one more straining element because she knows that her novel – like the paintings she most admires – will be more intensely alive the more it seems to be just on the verge of falling apart.

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