Departing at Dawn: A Novel of Argentina's Dirty War [NOOK Book]

Overview

“I just loved it because of its immense human depth and high quality of writing.”—David William Foster, author, critic, and professor

“Deeply endearing. . . . The author offers no apologies or heroes, only humble beings . . . whose portraits are remarkably true-to-life. All kinds of readers will recognize themselves somewhere in this compelling narrative.”—Artenauta periodico de cultura

March 23, 1976. Berta watches as her lover, Atilio, a union organizer, is thrown from a ...

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Departing at Dawn: A Novel of Argentina's Dirty War

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Overview

“I just loved it because of its immense human depth and high quality of writing.”—David William Foster, author, critic, and professor

“Deeply endearing. . . . The author offers no apologies or heroes, only humble beings . . . whose portraits are remarkably true-to-life. All kinds of readers will recognize themselves somewhere in this compelling narrative.”—Artenauta periodico de cultura

March 23, 1976. Berta watches as her lover, Atilio, a union organizer, is thrown from a window to his death on the sidewalk below. The next day, Colonel Jorge Rafael Videla stages a coup d’etat and a military dictatorship takes control of Argentina. Though never a part of Atilio’s union efforts, Berta is on a list to be “disappeared” and flees to relatives in the countryside. There she becomes part of the family she knows only from old photographs: Aunt Avelina, who blasts records from an old player; Uncle Nepomuceno, who watches slugs slither in the garden every afternoon; and Uncle Javier, who sits in his tiny grocery store day and night. When Berta learns that government officials are still looking for her, she realizes she must run even further to save her life.

Gloria Lise describes a terrifying period in her nation's history with a touch that is light yet penetrating. A powerful portrait of Argentinians caught up in traumas that have haunted the country ever since.

Gloria Lise is a lawyer, professor, and accomplished musician. She was fifteen years old in 1976 when a coup d'etat overthrew the elected government of Isabel Martinez de Peron.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

This quiet, powerful novel from Argentinian author Lisé is told by a young woman caught up in the country's March 1976 coup d'etat. As General Videla's thugs prepare to overturn the government of General Peron's widow, 20-year-old medical student Berta witnesses her Peronist lover thrown off a balcony. Fearing for her safety as the province of Tucuman succumbs to chaos, Berta flees to her mother's sister, then to the family's hardscrabble farm at Olpa to live with her uncle. Nearly two years pass at this idyllic outpost, with time spent among a happily mixed community descended from original Spaniards and native Indians, where Berta uses her medical training to aid the local, aging midwife, before danger encroaches again. Avoiding ponderous political allegory with graceful writing, lawyer and professor Lisé sketches Berta's quest for autonomy and self against the vivid, violent backdrop of a country seeking the same: "Argentina was like an unfinished poem somebody was keeping in a bottle, for later." (Aug.)

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Library Journal
Relatively new to the literary scene, Argentine lawyer and professor Lisé sets her novel early in General Videla's repressive regime, a seven-year era following Isabel Perón's overthrow in 1976 that became known as the Dirty War, when thousands of political victims were imprisoned or killed or simply disappeared. Berta Rojas watches helplessly as her boyfriend, Atilio, is hurled from a Tucumán balcony to his death for his outlawed union activities and immediately realizes that her own life is in danger. She hides out first with her uncle and aunt in La Rioja and then at her Uncle Tristán's farm in Olpa, eventually heading for Buenos Aires, determined to leave the country. Lisé's thinly veiled work of fiction reads like a personal diary, as we eavesdrop on Berta, who at any moment risks being denounced. Ultimately, Berta, who risks everything, symbolizes how a national crisis affects innocent citizens at the individual level. VERDICT A well-written and engaging story of one person's escape from tyranny whose appeal goes beyond the implicitly narrow focus of the publisher's name, extending to a wider audience of Latin American historians and buffs of historical fiction.—Lawrence Olszewski, OCLC Lib., Dublin, OH
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781558616479
  • Publisher: Feminist Press at CUNY, The
  • Publication date: 8/1/2009
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 160
  • Sales rank: 623,622
  • File size: 255 KB

Meet the Author

Gloria Lisé is a lawyer, professor, and accomplished musician. She is the author of Con los Pies en el Escenario, a book based on her father's life. Lisé was 15 years old when a coup d'état overthrew Isabel Martínez de Perón's government in 1976 and a military junta took power. Alice Weldon is an associate professor of Spanish and co-director of the women's studies program at University of North Carolina-Asheville. Weldon has published literary criticism on Spanish American women writers and translations, including the novel Son of the Murdered Maid by Bolivian author Gaby Vallejo. She lived in Bolivia for several years where she co-founded Andean Rural Health Care.
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