Book review: Pact of Silence by Penny Woolcock

Pact of SilencePact of Silence by Penny Woolcock

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

From BBC Radio 4 – Drama:
Set during the brutal dictatorship of the late 1970s in Argentina, a young woman’s life is turned upside down when she is confronted with the shocking truth about her origins.

“If you were born between 1975 and 1980 and have doubts about your identity – if you think you might not be who they say you are, contact the Grandmothers of the Plaza de Mayo.”

This is an advertisement that has appeared in Argentine newspapers since 1997.

In 1976, the dictatorship in Argentina tortured and killed up to 30,000 people. Pregnant women were kept alive until they gave birth and their babies given to childless military families to bring up as their own.

For the past four decades, the Abuelas de la Plaza de Mayo in Argentina have campaigned for those responsible to be brought to justice and to find out the fate of their children and the whereabouts of five hundred children stolen from their families during the military regime. The Grandmothers’ mission is to identify these now grown up children and reunite them with their biological families.

A Pact of Silence tells the story of Mariana, a young woman who has been identified by the Grandmothers as one of these kidnapped children, and the anguish she experiences as she comes to realise that her beloved adoptive father might have had a significant role to play in the disappearance of her birth parents.

Written and Directed by Penny Woolcock
Produced by Natasha Dack
A Tigerlily production for BBC Radio 4.

There are better books on this subject, written mainly by Latin-american writers. In the sense, I do recommend the following titles:

Kiss of the Spider Woman by Manuel Puig – Argentina

State of Siege by Franco Solinas – Uruguay

Conversation in the Cathedral by Mario Vargas Llosa – Peru

One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcí­a Márquez – Colombia

The House of the Spirits by Isabel Allende – Chile

1968: what have we done to ourselves by Zuenir Ventura – Brazil

And one my favorites read quite recently is The Invisible Mountain
by Carolina De Robertis – Paraguai, Argentina, Brazil

Be aware that some authors, like Garcia Marquez and Vargas Llosa use the magical realism (in its true sense) in order to portray the political reality in their countries.


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