A Secret for Julia by Patricia Sagastizabal
A Novel

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Synopsis

A haunting, prize-winning Latin American novel about a guilt-wracked mother and her inquisitive daughter, both coming to terms with an unspeakable past.

With the harrowing power of Ariel Dorfman's Death and the Maiden comes a remarkable work of fiction. Winner of the prestigious Premio La Nacion Prize for Fiction in 2000, A Secret for Julia brilliantly depicts the lasting psychological attacks of Argentina's reign of repression and terror on a new, seemingly innocent generation. Set mainly in 1990s London, interlaced with vivid flashbacks to Buenos Aires, Patricia Sagastizabal's novel tells the emotionally wrenching story of Mercedes Beecher, an Argentinian writer living in self-imposed exile in London with her teenaged daughter, Julia. When a mysterious figures appears from her past, Mercedes must endure a new round of psychological terror and reveal herself to her inquisitive but embittered, daughter in a way that she never believed possible. A dramatic story of retribution and conscience, A Secret for Julia touches on many compelling themes: the politics of institutionalized and sanctioned cruelty; the wistfulness of a life lived in exile; the bonds of family, justice, and redemption.

Much of A Secret for Julia reads like a personal diary, yet Sagastizabal propels it forward with elements of astonishing intrigue, drama, and terror. The savage murders and tortures that came to decimate an entire generation of Argentinian students and activists in the 1970s may remain—even twenty-five years later—so vivid and searing that they can be expressed only through the palette of fiction. In this way, Sagastizabal's novel represents the voice of the fallout from Argentina's so-called "dirty war," the voice of the next generation—Julia's generation. A Secret for Julia is a testament to the changing of the guard—an unforgettable, astounding novel for one simple reason: the reader is left with the lingering notion that it might be frighteningly close to the truth.
 

About Patricia Sagastizabal

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Patricia Sagastizabal was born & lives in Buenos Aires. She is a playwright & the author of the novel "En Nombre de Dios". 010 . Asa Zatz has translated more than seventy-five Spanish-language books, including works of Carlos Fuentes, Gabriel Garca Mrquez, and Mario Vargas Llosa.
 
Published August 1, 2001 by W. W. Norton & Company. 256 pages
Genres: Education & Reference, Literature & Fiction. Fiction

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This turgid psychological tale, winner of a major Latin American literary prize, dramatizes (just barely) the ordeal of an Argentinean woman living in 1990s London, after surviving imprisonment and torture during the ’70s as an accused enemy of her homeland’s oppressive military government.

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