Memoirs of A Revolutionary DaughterBook - 2011
? Nominated for the Charles Taylor prize and the BC Award for Canadian Non-Fiction
On September 11, 1973, General Augusto Pinochet led a violent coup that removed Salvador Allende, the democratically elected socialist president of Chile, from office. Thousands were arrested, tortured and killed under the repressive new regime. Six-year-old Carmen Aguirre and her younger sister fled the country with their parents for a life in exile.
Five years later, when her mother and stepfather returned to South America as Chilean resistance members, Carmen and her sister’s double lives began. At 18, Carmen herself joined the resistance, plunging further into a world of terror, paranoia, and euphoria. Something Fierce takes the reader inside war-ridden Peru, dictatorship-run Bolivia, post-Malvinas Argentina, and Pinochet's Chile during the eventful decade between 1979 and 1989.
Dramatic, suspenseful, and darkly comic, it is a rare account of revolutionary life and a passionate argument against forgetting.
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A Canada Reads 2012: True Stories Contender and long-listed for the Charles Taylor Prize for Literary Non-Fiction. A gripping, darkly comic first-hand account of a young underground revolutionary during the Pinochet dictatorship in 1980s Chile. On September 11, 1973, a violent coup removed Salvador Allende, the democratically elected socialist president of Chile, from office. Thousands were arrested, tortured and killed under General Augusto Pinochet's repressive new regime. Soon after the coup, six-year-old Carmen Aguirre and her younger sister fled the country with their parents for Canada and a life in exile. In 1978, the Chilean resistance issued a call for exiled activists to return to Latin America. Most women sent their children to live with relatives or with supporters in Cuba, but Carmen's mother kept her precious girls with her. As their mother and stepfather set up a safe house for resistance members in La Paz, Bolivia, the girls' own double lives began. At eighteen, Carmen herself joined the resistance. With conventional day jobs as a cover, she and her new husband moved to Argentina to begin a dangerous new life of their own. This dramatic, darkly funny narrative, which covers the eventful decade from 1979 to 1989, takes the reader inside war-ridden Peru, dictatorship-run Bolivia, post-Malvinas Argentina and Pinochet's Chile. Writing with passion and deep personal insight, Carmen captures her constant struggle to reconcile her commitment to the movement with the desires of her youth and her budding sexuality. Something Fierce is a gripping story of love, war and resistance and a rare first-hand account of revolutionary life.
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"How did you deal with the fear in those days?" I asked him. "I didn't feel afraid." "I don't believe you." "Really-I didn't feel it. But it comes out now, I suppose. In my depression." "It's all I felt," I admitted. "Fear. Terror. Paranoia." "You never talked about it." "I worried that if I did it could break me, us, the little world of facades we'd built to keep going. I knew what they were capable of if they caught us. But what was required was absolute commitment, body and soul. I wonder if that's one of the reasons we lost, the reason so many struggles are lost-the inhuman demands placed on those who are fighting for the dream. We lived in a state of terror, and it was unrevolutionary to feel it, let alone speak of it. I tried to be a hero, but I was just the opposite: a teenager fucking up all over the place who wanted to give everything to the struggle." I turned to Peti. "Your generation seems to understand that you don't have to let your beliefs consume you..." pg 318
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