Jan. 2 – Carolyn Forché – What You Have Heard Is True [Advent Calendar]

The Englewood Review of Books
Best Books of 2019
Advent / Christmas Calendar
January 2

 

What You Have Heard Is True:
A Memoir of Witness and Resistance

Carolyn Forché

 
Hardback: Penguin Press, 2019
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Recently, I had the opportunity to meet Forché briefly at the Literati Bookstore in Ann Arbor. She explained her somewhat unusual approach to memoir:

What I decided to do with this book is to take the reader with me through the journey that I took and the reader never knows more than I did at any given time. I wanted to replicate what it was like … to go through that time with him (Leonel). … It’s a whole cast of characters and it’s a strange memoir in that I’m the narrator but I’m not the main character.

All this makes for a memoir that, at times, feels like one is reading a novel or a thriller. In spite of knowing Forché is alive and well some forty years later, I hold my breath, as she describes her encounter with the escuadrones de la muerte (the death squads). My stomach turns as she comes upon the dismembered corpses of the desaparecidos (the disappeared). But the beauty of her language is of a sort seldom, if ever, found in such accounts. Forché is first and foremost a poet. And she brings the full range of her first-rate skills into play.

 
 

WATCH an interview with the author about this memoir… 


 
 
 


 
 
 

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