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Konfidenz (Latin American Literature Series)by Ariel Dorfman
It is dumbfounding that Ariel Dorfman is not more widely read, as his writing is so remarkably trenchant and unafraid. The exiled Chilean novelist, short story writer, playwright, poet, and essayist has been teaching at Duke University since 1985. His works are direct, compelling, and often characterized by a looming intensity or immediacy. Dorfman is a relentless critic of imperialism, tyranny, and oppression, framing much of his art in the context of human rights.
Private life is an illusion in our world, Barbara. When you can torture one person, private life ends for everybody else.
Konfidenz is a novel written almost entirely in dialogue, an effect employed to lend the story a chilling effect. Set in Paris sometime in very late 1939 or early 1940, just before the Nazis invaded France, the story confronts notions of identity and loyalty. Much of Konfidenz is marked by uncertainty, for both reader and characters alike, a quality that colors the whole work with an ever-increasing urgency. As powerful a tale as this novel is, it perhaps would have an even greater impact were it adapted for the stage, especially given its abundance of dialogue. While not Dorfman's strongest work, Konfidenz still resounds with arresting significance.
Synopses & Reviews
Told almost exclusively through dialogue, Konfidenz opens with a woman entering a hotel room and receiving a call from a mysterious stranger who seems to know everything about her and the reasons why she has fled her homeland. Over the next nine hours he tells her many disturbing things about her lover (who may be in great danger), the political situation in which they are enmeshed, and his fantasies of her. A terse political allegory that challenges our assumptions about character, the foundations of our knowledge, and the making of history, Konfidenz draws the reader into a postmodern mystery where nothing — including the text itself — is what it seems.
"With Konfidenz, Dorfman steps confidently from the realm of Latin American storyteller into the arena of a world novelist of the first category." Marie Arana, Washington Post
"Exhilarating for its finely tuned unfolding but somber in its conclusions, Konfidenz demands a fundamental reexamination of the nature of trust." Publishers Weekly (starred review)
About the Author
Ariel Dorfman was forced into exile from Chile after the 1973 coup that overthrew Salvador Allende. His works include the novels Widows, The last Song of Manuel Sendero, Blake's Therapy, the acclaimed memoir Heading South, Looking North, and several plays (among them Death and the Maiden, which was made into a film by Roman Polanski). He is a distinguished professor at Duke University.
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