Tuesday, April 13, 2021

When the tyrannical past of a nation resembles the ‘Twilight Zone’

The author begins with a certainty of uncertainty: that the deepest truth of what happened to his damaged nation is inadvertently hidden by lies and fear. His forensic attack in the past has been manifold, shifting from restlessness between genres – autobiography, fiction, essays, reports, poetry. The narrator is a television documentary writer, and his passion is to get to Valenzuela – a man he has never met, who had to flee Chile with a fake passport and now lives abroad under a false identity – To speak to him, explain the steps of his regrets. Fernandez gives the meat for a life that exists in an abbreviated form for most of us if the indelible burst in media coverage. We often hear him in a cascade of intermittent, intense, almost lyrical statements, some invented by his testimony, some:

In the end, I felt nothing.

“I had become someone else.

“Someone who gets up and goes to bed with the smell of death.

Fernandez’s use of the “fugitive sentimental imagination” (the novel’s compelling mantra “I imagine”) is just as important when he tries to revive the voices of dead victims. After making breakfast for his son and leaving him at school, the narrator, Jose Weibel, arrests a communist leader, doing the same thing before being arrested; If the image of his family “he helps her keep terror at bay in the gray realm where she was condemned to spend the last days of her life”, the narrator sees many vanishing prisoners from the abyss of death Draws, and discovers the vortex of her past, adding to her suffering.

She remembers a red Chevette who would pick up other girls, including Estrella, a young classmate and narrator, for a blissful spin after school. The car, owned by Estrella’s policeman father, takes three human rights activists to the outskirts of Santiago, where their throats were cut. Fernandez had already understood that story in his novel “Space Investors” in 2013, but this new book reveals the motive behind those murders. Everything – even an allegedly innocent car seat where Fernandez once sat – is “coming back to the man who tortured people.” Every memory, every isolated corner of the country is possibly corrupted by evil.

To keep the interlocking excerpts of the novel together, they all remain trapped in “dense, circular times”, with Fernandez reflecting a brilliant literary strategy. She mainly combines popular culture samples from the TV series “The Twilight Zone”, and transforms them into other dimensions. An astronaut stranded on a planet reminds him not only to settle in the French village of Valenzuela, unable to contact his homeland, but also of a prisoner who sends a message to a son he will never see again , As well as the author himself will receive it. The signal from the child he once was. It is a great way to introduce her to the unimaginable experience of torture and pain, which helps her haunted readers get into the “bang of history” with her.

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