Books about disappearance: The disappearance | Culture | The USA Print

During the last fifty years, dear reader, Latin America has slowly, sadly and irrepressibly become the territory of disappearance.

Obviously, the disappearance was a reality before the period I am referring to, but the numbers — resorting to this indicator, which eliminates personal stories in the name of the volume of a problem, already says enough — have skyrocketed since the military dictatorships that devastated the cone south of the continent, to later climb it.

Among those dictatorships —which left behind, in addition to the enormous void of disappearance, a literature that problematized the subject, that is, that led to the assumption of disappearance as a political conflict and not only as an event: just read, for example, the impressive work of the poet Raúl Zurita to realize— and the current empire of criminal groups, who do not recognize borders and who govern entire regions of the continent, also in a dictatorial manner and, of course, at the service of the same economic power that the military, the missing number in the millions.

counting has two meanings

The disappeared number in the millions, I insist, but they are also counted, in the sense that they are reported and not only added up, individually: literature, as Rodolfo Walsh knew and as Eduardo Ruiz Sosa knows —The book of our absences, the latest novel by the writer from Sinaloa, which tells the story of an actress who disappears and whose disappearance upends the lives of the owners of a printing press and a group of actors, illuminating the violence that is experienced in northern Mexico and x-raying the subsoil of that country full of clandestine graves and nameless tombs, is the latest marvel on this subject, in addition to being a stupendous linguistic machine and, strange in these times, a truly ambitious work— it must be capable of condensing into one or In a tragedy of all, it must be capable of making us feel that this enormous emptiness that surrounds us and that does not stop growing is also a singular emptiness: absence, loss, search, stubbornness, pain for having lost a daughter, a son, a sister, a brother, a friend, a friend, a mother or a father.

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Of course, between The book of our absences —in which, parallel to the search for Orsina, the missing actress, we witness the conversion of the characters in the play in which she was to act into characters from the novel and, therefore, we see how the novel becomes It also becomes a work about the origin of violence, embodied in a General Visitor of New Spain who, suddenly, stops being behind the scenes to be a central and crazed character, a seed, then, of the present we inhabit — and the first works that turned the theme of disappearance in the southern cone into literature, not only extraordinary and fundamental books have been published — I am thinking, for example, of Antigone Gonzalez, by Sara Uribe, the human stuff, by Rodrigo Rey Rosas or Senselessness, by Horacio Castellanos Moya—, but rather something else has happened, something that has opened two other coordinates in our letters: that of the disappearance of women due to femicide (a subject to which we have already dedicated another installment of this newsletter) and that of disappearance as something that is not exclusive to people.

the other disappearance

When one hears this word, disappearance, on the radio or in the corridor of a market, the same thing happens as when one stumbles upon it reading an aerosol pint or the poster that a woman holds up in front of a government office: after a cramp The first thing we think of is someone. In the victim or in the perpetrator, who, as already mentioned, can be another person, a criminal group or an institution. But in Latin America, disappearance is a complex political framework, that is, in addition to someone, something is always disappearing: a language, a tradition or a people, as becomes clear when one reads, for example, the Salvadoran writer Claudia Hernández or the Colombian writer Evelio Rosero.

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It is from these other forms of disappearance, I mean, of disappearance as that political framework that is carried away, has always been carried away and continues to carry people away, but also that which gives meaning to life and which constitutes the history of those people and of the collectives of which we all form part – here memory must be given a preponderant place -, which is dealt with, for example, in the most recent novels by the Argentine writer Luciana Sousa, When no one names us, and that of the Ecuadorian writer Natalia García Freire, You brought the wind with you.

“As it was, what was singular, for me, was not so much the possibility of founding a town as the desire to demolish it,” Sousa writes in When no one names us, subtle, beautiful and hypnotic novel that seems to breathe before the reader and in which the disappearance of a town, which occupies the place of another town that disappeared before, merges with the extinction of a family memory whose women —grandmother, mother and granddaughter— they try to save particular forms of intimacy, sensitivity and solidarity.

For his part, García Freire, in You brought the wind with you Through a wonderfully embroidered chorus of voices, particularly lively, he recounts the death throes of a whole world, narrating that of the small and elusive Cocuán: “That was what I had to do: end Cocuán and the rotten rat heart that beat in its center. It was all clear, at last, as if someone had howled in my ear, as if someone had revealed the great secret to me”.

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It took longer than with people, but Latin American literature seems to have embraced as one of its themes the political disappearance of things, systems and frameworks that give meaning to the lives of these people and their collectives.

As one of the epigraphs that García Freire takes from Job says: “Do not yearn for the night, when the towns disappear from their place.”


The book of our absenceswas posted by candaya. when no one names us has been published by tusquetswhile of You brought the wind with you are editions of Himpar publishers, the swiss army knife editors and Tusquets.

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