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My Fathers' Ghost Is Climbing in the Rainby Patricio Pron
Patricio Pron's "A Few Words on the Life Cycles of Frogs" appeared as one of the 22 selections featured in Granta's 2010 "The Best of Young Spanish Language Novelists" issue. The award-winning Argentine writer (though still a couple of years shy of his 40th birthday) has written five novels and three collections of short stories. My Fathers' Ghost Is Climbing in the Rain is the first of Pron's novels to be translated into English and is an excellent, often emotional work.
Like so many works of Argentine fiction, My Fathers' Ghost Is Climbing in the Rain has at its foundation the haunting legacy of the nation's Dirty War. Pron's novel finds its expatriate pill-popping journalist protagonist returning to Argentina in advance of his ailing father's death, only to discover his dad's obsession with an unsolved local murder. As Pron's narrator attempts to uncover the crime's details — as well as the reasons for his father's fascination and fixation — he must also confront the nature of his own upbringing and the indelible mark left by the failed revolution upon generations of Argentinians.
In the epilogue, Pron goes on to highlight the factual events that inspired his novel. "While the events told in this book are mostly true, some are the result of the demands of fiction, whose rules are different from the rules of such genres as testimony or autobiography; for that reason I would like to mention here what the Spanish writer Antonio Muñoz Molina once said, as a reminder and a warning: 'A drop of fiction taints everything as fictional.'" My Fathers' Ghost Is Climbing in the Rain is a terrific work of intrigue, memory, identity, and the myriad ways the haunting effects of the past forever shape all that is to follow.
Synopses & Reviews
The anticipated American debut of one of Granta’s Best Young Spanish-Language Novelists: a daring, deeply affecting novel about the secrets buried in the past of an Argentine family.
A young writer, living abroad, makes the journey home to South America to say good-bye to his dying father. In his parents’ house, he finds a cache of documents—articles, maps, photographs—and unwittingly begins to unearth his father’s obsession with the disappearance of a local man. Suddenly he comes face-to-face with the ghosts of Argentina’s dark political past and with the long-hidden memories of his family’s underground resistance against an oppressive military regime. As the fragments of the narrator’s investigation fall into place—revealing not only a part of his father’s life he had tried to forget but also the legacy of an entire generation—this audacious novel tells a completely original story of corruption and responsibility, history and remembrance.
"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." Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
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: All-Story and The Paris Review, and has received numerous prizes, including the Juan Rulfo Short Story Prize and the Jaén Novel Prize. He lives in Madrid.
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