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In Case of Fire in a Foreign Land


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A collection of poetry bearing witness to atrocities committed by the Chilean dictatorship, describing the realities and aftermath of terror.

About the Author

Ariel Dorfman is a world-renowned author of fiction, poems, essays, and films in both Spanish and English. His books have been translated into more than thirty languages, and his plays staged in more than one hundred countries. His work has received many prizes, among them the Laurence Olivier Award for Best Play. He holds the Walter Hines Page Chair at Duke University and contributes regularly to many newspapers worldwide. Among Dorfman`s publications are the reissue of his novel Widows (2002), Blake's Therapy (2001), the memoir Heading South, Looking North: A Bilingual Journey (1998), and the play Death and the Maiden (1992). The poems in In Case of Fire in a Foreign Land have been read publicly by Bono, Emma Thompson, Meryl Streep, Kevin Kline, Ben Kingsley, Harold Pinter, John Malkovich, and many others, and have been transformed into films, art exhibits, and cantatas.Edith Grossman has translated the novels of Gabriel Garcia Marquez and Mario Vargas Llosa.


"In a world increasingly battered with terror and terrorist anti-terror, the American reader will discover here that a telescopic view of what is happening in far lands is more than echoed by this up close and personal report on the dehumanizing events taking place in our own hemisphere."--Sandy McKinney, ForeWord "For Chilean writer Ariel Dorfman, Sept. 11 meant tragedy even before 2001. On Sept. 11, 1973, the Chilean military seized power in a bloody coup in which President Salvador Allende died. It ushered in more than a decade and a half of dictatorship under Gen. Augusto Pinochet... Now, in two post-Sept. 11, 2001 books, Dorfman uses that connection to explore universal themes of healing, loss, and justice... [T]he voices of exiles, activists, separated lovers and families of victims convey a sense of love, faith and hope in a world wracked by political violence."--The Herald Sun "[A] handbook of horror, interlaced as the book progresses with a poetic intelligence and a humanist grief that sings... The facing-page presentation will give readers who are fluent in Spanish the delightful opportunity to enjoy Dorfman's own linguistic rhythms; and Edith Grossman's perceptive translations allow the beginner in Spanish, and even those with no Spanish, the chance to move back and forth across the page for an instructive experience of both languages, and a lesson in how the limitations of prosody can be over-ridden by a shared sensibility... This is a timely book, stark and honest, a reminder that the wolves of terrorism are not confined to an area half a world away, but are rampant and still on the prowl in our own hemisphere. Every reader, of whatever political mind, can find evidence here for the perilous varieties of both public and private heroism."--Sandy McKinney, Octavo "Ariel Dorfman has spent his adult life' obsessed with problems of pain and justice and redemption.' Each is a Rosetta Stone, and the bilingual Chilean writer has sought to decipher them in Spanish and English, poems and plays, chiseling deep into scarred humanity, good and evil."--Dick Gordon, WBUR website "[T]he bilingual edition reflects a reconciliation, begun in his memoir, of the complex allegiances of his life. The work is all the more significant because of the historical specificity of these allegiances... In Case of Fire in a Foreign Land is an important work by one of our time's significant moral voices. It is worth letting him get under your skin."--David Need, Independent Weekly [Durham, NC] "Ariel Dorfman reveals his gifts as a powerful political poet in In Case of Fire in a Foreign Land. Dorfman's poems, while possessing the concision and resonance essential to good poetry, are strikingly dramatic, too, animated as they are by a chorus of voices: political prisoners, shattered family members, agitators for change. In this way he both capitalizes on his gifts as a dramatist and satisfies his urgent need, when confronting his country's dead and missing, to 'let them speak for themselves.'"--Rachel Wetzsteon, American Theatre "Dorfman ... has succeeded in inspiring courage in victims and resolve in reformers... Dorfman's writings, and especially his poetry, show that, though we may buckle and admit defeat, our defeat can only be temporary. We cannot hope for real justice; the odds are too strong against the possibility. What we will strive for is the vindication that the knowledge of the truth will bring. To that end, our literature in every form must be testimony. In Case of Fire in a Foreign Land is irrefutable testimony, not only against tyranny and repression but also for integrity and endurance."--Fred Chappell, Duke Magazine "[T]he spare, understated texts are distinguished examples of both exile writing and what is sometimes categorized as 'literature of human rights.' ... The translations ... are natural-sounding and accurate." -Naomi Lindstrom, World Literature Today Also reviewed in American Theatre, Library Journal. Interviewed in Washington Post Book World and on "The Today Show" and The Connection (WBUR). Listed in HAHR, PW, UC Mexus News. Abstracts in Translation Review, Hispanic Outlook on Higher Education, The Observer (UK). Profiled in The Guardian.

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