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Book Title: The Last Song of Manuel Sendero|
The size of the: 542 KB
Edition: Penguin Books
Date of issue: March 1st 1988
ISBN 13: 9780140088960
The author of the book: Ariel Dorfman
Format files: PDF
Read full description of the books The Last Song of Manuel Sendero:This is probably the best book I've read in a year or two.
It follows three narratives. The most basic, realistic story involves an exile confronting his ideals under an autocratic regime. How can political and artistic ideals coincide with responsibilities such as family and survival under an oppressive rule? How much free will is involved in "selling out" when maintaining convictions literally puts the life of you, your children, and your spouse in jeopardy? If I recall correctly, Dorfman never explicitly localizes his story in Chile, yet this is one of the most revealing books about life under Pinochet.
On top of this story, conveyed mostly through footnotes, is an exegesis of the tale set several thousand years in the future. The very realistic, plain details of the story have warped over the centuries into a legend of Biblical proportions--think David and Goliath. Missing details, poor translation, and a general overdose of cultural misunderstanding has yielded a reading of the text that is comically inaccurate yet which adds a mythic intensity to the mundane actions of the present day. This brief exegesis at once illustrates our own misunderstandings about the past (how much do we really understand of what the original author(s) of Genesis intended?) while also pointing to a more hopeful future where, for instance, the readers of the future can't possibly fathom the existence of political inequality.
The third interlaced narrative--the story of the title--is a fantastic fable in which the unborn children of the world revolt against being forced into a messed-up, cruel world by refusing to be born. It's a sad allegory and a beautiful call-to-arms for more idealism and compassion.
The Last Song of Manuel Sendero is one of the best of many Chilean novels I've read, a complex and stirring account of life under oppression. It should be better known than it is.
Read information about the authorVladimiro Ariel Dorfman is an Argentine-Chilean novelist, playwright, essayist, academic, and human rights activist. A citizen of the United States since 2004, he has been a professor of literature and Latin American Studies at Duke University, in Durham, North Carolina since 1985.
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