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No Place for Heroes: A Novelby Laura Restrepo
Synopses & Reviews
I need to know how it happened, Mateo tells his mother. The dark episode, I need to know exactly how it happened.
I've already told you a thousand times, she responds.
He was the one who had given it that name, the dark episode, partly because it had been so painful but also because it was buried under a mountain of half- truths. The worst part was that he had no memory of it because he had been too young to remember. Blindly stabbing--an expression he had heard. That's how he felt, like a blind man trying to jab his way out of a story that he did not understand, but in which he played a part and which snared him in its net.
Come on, Lole, Mateo says, softening his voice and addressing her by the name he had always used when he was a child. Now he prefers to call her by her given name, Lorenza, and when he is irate with her, simply Mother. Come on, Lole, tell me again. Let's begin with the park.
You were two and a half. It was a Thursday afternoon, and you, your father, and I were in Bogota. At the Parque de la Independencia.
And he was wearing a thick wool sweater.
From the pictures I know that he liked to wear thick wool sweaters.
Not sweaters, pullovers.
What are pullovers?
Sweaters, but that's what he called them. Pullovers. We Colombians call them sweaters; in Argentina they call them pullovers. Ridiculous really, since they are both English words.
But what I want to know is if he was wearing a thick wool sweater that speciﬁc afternoon.
Who knows? But I do remember his hair was long. In Ar-gentina he always had to keep it short, the dictatorship did not tolerate hippies. But when he got to Colombia, he let it grow. If you want to know what your father looked like then, Mateo, look in the mirror and add a dozen years. That's how he looked.
Not true, I don't have wide shoulders. Uncle Patrick told me that Ramon's shoulders were wide.
Soon yours will be just like his.
Okay, back to the afternoon, in the park.
Ramon and I stroll, hand in hand with you. The sky is hydrangea- blue, like it is in Bogota when--
I don't care about the color of the sky in Bogota, Mateo says. I want to kno
Lorenza and her son, Mateo, return to Buenos Aires as they try to find Ramon, Mateo's father, who was a political radical with Lorenza in Argentina's "Dirty War," as Lorenza deals with her memories of the past and Mateo, who is not interested in politics, only want to find his father.
From one of the most accomplished writers to emerge from Latin America, No Place for Heroes is a darkly comic novel about a mother and son who return to Buenos Aires in search of her former lover, whom she met during Argentina's Dirty War.
During Argentina's Dirty War of the late '70s and early '80s, Lorenza and Ramon, two passionate militants opposing Videla's dictatorship, met and fell in love. Now, Lorenza and her son, Mateo, have come to Buenos Aires to find Ramon, Mateo's father. Holed up in the same hotel room, mother and son share a common goal, yet are worlds apart on how they perceive it. For Lorenza, who came of age in the political ferment of the '60s, it is intertwined with her past ideological and emotional anchors (or were they illusions?), while her postmodernist son, a child of the '90s who couldn't care less about politics or ideology, is looking for his actual father--
About the Author
LAURA RESTREPO is the bestselling author of several prize-winning novels published in over twenty languages, including Leopard in the Sun, The Angel of Galilea, and her most recent, Delirium.
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