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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.)Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.