Flowers in the Desert: The Search for Chile's Disappeared

Overview

“To read this book is to hold two eternally opposed human forces in your hands: the capacity of groups of men to visit unspeakable horrors on the innocent, and the tenacity of groups of women who bluntly refuse to accept that horror as the final word. Within these pages, Allen has brought together vast landscapes of terror, expansive skies of hope, searing words of truth. Don’t look away.”—Naomi Klein, author of The Shock Doctrine

“A valuable work that revolves around a painful period of our history. I ...

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Overview

“To read this book is to hold two eternally opposed human forces in your hands: the capacity of groups of men to visit unspeakable horrors on the innocent, and the tenacity of groups of women who bluntly refuse to accept that horror as the final word. Within these pages, Allen has brought together vast landscapes of terror, expansive skies of hope, searing words of truth. Don’t look away.”—Naomi Klein, author of The Shock Doctrine

“A valuable work that revolves around a painful period of our history. I congratulate Paula Allen on her endeavor to highlight the role of Chilean women, and her contribution to peace, truth and justice, which are values cherished by all of us. This book is an eloquent testimony to the courage of the Chilean women, which was so important for the recovery of our democracy.”—Ricardo Lagos, former President of Chile

“Paula Allen has literally given a lifetime to this magnificent book. It is epic and humble, dug into the sands of the Atacama Desert—a recording of the shattering beauty and struggle involved in a 40-year pursuit of justice. It is the imagery of the longing for flesh and reasons, a map of the indomitable souls of extraordinary women in search of those they love.”—Eve Ensler, playwright and founder of V-Day

“Year after year, Paula Allen has returned to Calama to photograph the women searching for their dead while dreaming that they may still be alive. The memories of their loved ones have united them and kept them strong. Allen’s camera transmits that message to every corner of the earth. She shows us that the light of memory is still burning brightly.”—Patricio Guzmán, documentary film director of Nostalgia for the Light

“These lyrical and courageous photographs prove that the power of art can compel us to understand the unrelenting need for justice. Flowers in the Desert invites us to meditate on the meaning of truth and remembrance.”—Marjorie Agosín, author of The Light of Desire

“Paula Allen’s profound commitment to the women of Calama granted her the privilege not only to photograph them as they scoured the desert for their loved ones, but also to share in their anguish and hope. This deep connection is instantly recognizable in the intimacy of this stunning volume. It is a book of memory and history, yes, but ultimately, it is a portrait of strength and perseverance.”—Sibylla Brodzinsky, editor of Throwing Stones at the Moon

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
“Who was it that invented that horrible euphemism ‘disappeared’?” Isabel Allende asks in the foreword to this chilling volume of photographs, interviews, and stories released for the first time outside of Chile to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the Pinochet coup. Documentary photographer Allen’s haunting images feature the women of Calama, with shovels and bags, searching for the remains of their dead husbands, brothers, fathers, and sons—men whose bodies lay in unmarked mass graves in the desert following brutal executions. “I didn’t believe they had killed my brother because when you don’t have a body, nothing is certain,” says Vicky, one of the women interviewed and photographed. Many of the images show the women on their quest, digging for bones, but the most affecting photo is less literal: an image of women walking through a cemetery, carrying buckets and shovels. For all they’ve lost, these women prevail, and here, they tell their stories. The resulting book—with text in both Spanish and English; an afterword by Ariel Dorfman; and contributions from Patricia Verdugo, Peter Kornbluh, and Mary Helen Spooner—is a stunning record of the fallout from the Pinochet coup that effectively depicts the effects of the horrifying mass killings on the family members left behind. (June)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780813044354
  • Publisher: University Press of Florida
  • Publication date: 6/25/2013
  • Edition description: Second Edition
  • Edition number: 2
  • Pages: 192
  • Sales rank: 1,413,410
  • Product dimensions: 7.10 (w) x 10.30 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Paula Allen is a documentary photographer whose work spans more than three decades and has appeared in numerous international publications. She has photographed for such human rights organizations as Amnesty International, Refugees International, and V-Day: A Global Movement to End Violence Against Women and Girls, in places including the Balkans, Afghanistan, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Haiti, and post-Katrina New Orleans.

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