Curfew

Curfew

by Jose Donoso, Donoso
     
 

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Curfew takes place during one twenty-four hour period in January 1985. Matilde Neruda, widow of the Nobel Prize-winning poet, has just passed away, and various factions are rallying to turn the event to their advantage: for Pinochet's junta, it represents a chance to assert political authority, while for the intellectuals who had basked in the Nerudas' light,

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Overview

Curfew takes place during one twenty-four hour period in January 1985. Matilde Neruda, widow of the Nobel Prize-winning poet, has just passed away, and various factions are rallying to turn the event to their advantage: for Pinochet's junta, it represents a chance to assert political authority, while for the intellectuals who had basked in the Nerudas' light, it is an opportunity to grab the spoils of the estate. Against this backdrop of complex, often conflicting motivations, Donoso weaves a portrait of a society struggling to fashion a daily existence for itself, and of an intelligentsia vainly attempting to salvage the remnants of glory days long gone by. But Curfew is also a story of the tragic love between Judit Torre, an upper-middle-class radical who wants to escape her bitter past; and Mañungo Vera, a native son returning after a successful career as a European pop singer. In the zone between documentary-like realism and grotesque absurdity, José Donoso evokes the suffocating atmosphere of a country under dictatorship, and its quietly devastating effect on the actions of those who live there.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
This is the political novel Donoso was unable to write while in exile from Chile. Unlike the allegorical A House in the Country, his seventh book provides a gritty, realistic, yet eloquent vision of the author's beleaguered homeland12 years into Pinochet's dictatorship. Manungo Vera, a pop singer who has had some success in Europe but is now on the way down, returns to Santiago and is swept up in preparations for the funeral of Matilde Neruda, widow of the poet. Vera meets an old lover, Judit Torre, at a bar. The radical daughter of a wealthy fathera front page headline called her a ``Debutante Turned Criminal''Judit symbolizes elitist alienation. After an intense bout of lovemaking, and a near brush with death, the two join the huge crowd that has gathered at the cemetery for the funeral, now an anarchic battleground as both the left and right try to manipulate the event to their own advantage. Time is compressed into 24 hours, giving a heady urgency to the lovers' plans. Donoso's powerful vision of contemporary Chileseen through the grotesque optic that is his trademarkmakes Curfew an important literary event. (May)
Library Journal
The renowned Donoso, home in his native Chile after years of living abroad, tackles the post-Allende situation in his newest work. Pablo Neruda's widow, Matilde, has just died, and everyone is scurrying to turn the ritual of death into a power struggle. Meanwhile, a popular rock star returns from the haven of Paris and becomes involved with Judit Torre, rich girl-turned-leftist who has relatives in the Pinochet regime; together they witness the brutal death of a friend in a police station. Even as he recreates the suffocating atmosphere of a regime that has managed to stay in power through 13 years of lies, violence, and economic disaster, Donoso demonstrates that those who fight dictators may also be cowards or fools. Jack Shreve, Allegany Community Coll., Cumberland, Md.
Jacobo Timerman
The first original reflection on contemporary Chile to appear in its literature.
The New Yorker

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780802133816
Publisher:
Grove/Atlantic, Inc.
Publication date:
01/28/1994
Edition description:
Reissue
Pages:
320
Sales rank:
1,079,337
Product dimensions:
5.97(w) x 8.93(h) x 0.83(d)

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John Wideman
Like all great novels, Curfew confers a vision, a world seen and rendered as it's never been before, but once revealed, indispensable.
—(John Edgar Wideman

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