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My Fathers' Ghost is Climbing in the Rain


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My Fathers' Ghost is Climbing in the Rain by Patricio Pron is the stunning debut from one of Granta's Best Young Spanish-Language Novelists.

About the Author

Patricio Pron, born in 1975, is the author of three story collections and four previous novels, and he also works as a translator and critic. His fiction has appeared in Granta, Zoetrope and The Paris Review, and has received numerous prizes, including the Juan Rulfo Short Story Prize, the Jaen Novel Award, and the 2008 Jose Manuel Lara Foundation Award for one of the five best works published in Spain that year. He lives in Spain.


Back home in Argentina to attend to his ill father, a young writer discovers the file his father kept on a recent disappearance and probable murder in his hometown. As he goes through the file, the son discovers not only the sordid details of the crime, but also its victim's connections to Argentina's Dirty War-during the '70s when rightist generals disappeared members of the opposition. Although the novel's second section consists largely of descriptions (repetitive and ungrammatical) of the attack on the hapless Alberto Burdisso, the book is fundamentally about memory and the consequences of its repression. When the writer-a stand-in for the author, whose father's addenda to the text can be found on Pron's blog-realizes that his journalist father was actively involved in the politics of that era, he recalls his childhood, filled with lots of hiding and precautions. The more the son learns, the more he remembers, and the resulting novel looks a great deal like the one he imagines his father writing: "Brief, composed of fragments, with holes where my father couldn't or didn't want to remember something." In the face of denial and forgetting, Pron has stitched the experiences of the activists, their survivors, and those who came later into a narrative that ties the individual to collective memory and a family's history to a nation's. (May) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

One of Granta's Best Young Spanish-Language Novelists, Pron was born in Argentina in 1975 and currently lives in Madrid. His English-language debut features a young writer who returns to Argentina from Germany to be present at the bedside of his dying journalist father. Rummaging through some papers, the younger man learns of his father's all-consuming fascination with the 2008 disappearance of Alberto Burdisso, who was cheated out of his reparation of 200,000 pesos for the politically motivated disappearance of his sister Alicia. As the mystery unravels, the narrator comes to realize that both his activist parents were complicit in Alicia's fate-thus the placement of the apostrophe in the English title. VERDICT With the recent elevation to the papacy of Argentina's Francis I, who himself lived through the terrible times when Argentina's military tortured and "disappeared" thousands of potential political enemies, the subject of Pron's engaging mystery narrative is especially timely. [See Prepub Alert, 11/26/12.]-Jack Shreve, Allegany Coll. of Maryland, Cumberland (c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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