Tierra del Fuego by Sylvia Iparraguirre

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Tierra del Fuego is more than a suspenseful seafaring tale in the tradition of Captain Hornblower; it is also a chilling psychological and cultural tale, reminiscent of Heart of Darkness or Lord of the Flies, that probes deeply into human nature. Based on the true story of the Yámana Indian, Jemmy Button (parts of which are recorded in Chapter 10 of Charles Darwin's The Voyage of the Beagle), the novel explores Captain Robert Fitzroy's abduction of Jemmy Button and his attempt to "civilize" him in England and return him to his country as a bearer of "enlightened society." His experiment leads to tragic consequences. The novel deals with European arrogance and exploitation, but avoids falling into the cliché of "the Noble Savage." Jemmy (the "Other") remains strange and the attempt to co-opt him fails.

Tierra del Fuego has already won two major awards for the Spanish edition: The Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz Award for the best work of fiction written by a woman and The Best Book of the Year Award at the Buenos Aires Book Fair.


About Sylvia Iparraguirre

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Iparraguirre is an outspoken human rights advocate. Hardie St. Martin is a well-known editor and translator of Spanish poetry and prose. His works of translation include Memoirs by Pablo Neruda, the Garden Next Door by Jose Denoso, and Tierra del Fuego: An Historical Novel by Sylvia Iparraguirre.
Published November 1, 2000 by Curbstone Books. 285 pages
Genres: History, Literature & Fiction. Fiction

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The powerful story of Jemmy Button—the Yamana Indian brought in 1829 to England (to be “civilized”) by explorer Robert Fitzroy (previously related both in fiction and in Darwin’s Voyage of the Beagle)—is retold with impressive narrative sweep and empathy in this multiple prizewinner from a well-k...

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