Darwin's Ghosts by Ariel Dorfman
A Novel

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These are surprisingly illiberal themes for Dorfman, a public intellectual and admirable human rights advocate, but he doesn’t appear to have thought out their implications. Much of “Darwin’s Ghosts,” including its plot, its characters and its storytelling voice, would have benefited from more thought.
-NY Times

Synopsis

From the author of Death and the Maiden and other works that explore relations of power in the postcolonial world comes the story of a man whose distant past comes to haunt him. Is the sordid story behind human zoos that flourished in Europe in the nineteenth century connected somehow to a boy's life a hundred years later? 
     On Fitzroy Foster's fourteenth birthday on September 11, 1981, he receives an unexpected and unwelcome gift: when his father snaps his picture with a Polaroid, another person's image appears in the photo. Fitzroy and his childhood sweetheart, Cam, set out on a decade-long journey in search of this stranger's identity—and to reinstate his own—across seas and continents, into the far past and the evil and good that glint in the eyes of the elusive visitor. Seamlessly weaving together fact and fiction, Darwin's Ghosts holds up a different light to Conrad's "The horror! The horror!" and a different kind of answer to the urgent questions, Who are we? And what can we do about it?
 

About Ariel Dorfman

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Ariel Dorfman, the Chilean novelist, playwright, journalist, poet, and human rights activist was forced into exile form his homeland following the Chilean military coup of 1973. Since the restoration of democracy in 1990, he has divided his time between Santiago and the United States. Among his many works are the memoir Heading South, Looking North and the highly acclaimed play Death and the Maiden. His writings have won numerous awards, including the Sir Laurence Olivier Award for best play in London, 1992. He contributes regularly to major newspapers and magazines around the world. He is a distinguished professor at Duke University and lives with his wife Angélica, in Durham, North Carolina, and Santiago, Chile. From the Hardcover edition.
 
Published November 6, 2018 by Seven Stories Press. 304 pages
Genres: Literature & Fiction. Fiction
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NY Times

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Reviewed by Ken Kalfus on May 09 2018

These are surprisingly illiberal themes for Dorfman, a public intellectual and admirable human rights advocate, but he doesn’t appear to have thought out their implications. Much of “Darwin’s Ghosts,” including its plot, its characters and its storytelling voice, would have benefited from more thought.

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