Norma Kaminsky

David King

Kathleen Sharp

Vered Weiss

Christopher Zepeda


Southern Discomfort: Two Southern Hemisphere Novels

Norma Kaminsky
San Francisco State University

Comparative work between the literatures of Southern Africa and South America is not very abundant.1 This paucity of comparison is somewhat surprising, for even when one accounts for the vast geographic, cultural, linguistic, and ethnic differences, important parallels remain. Historically, both regions are the result of European colonial designs and constitute a multiplicity of neo-colonial societies. There are striking resemblances in the features of the repressive government regimes of apartheid in South Africa from 1948 to 1990 and the military dictatorships of South America in the 1970s. These apparently unrelated historical circumstances produced protest or resistance literature on both continents, works often published outside the country, sometimes written in exile. Marta Traba's Conversación al sur and André Brink's A Dry White Season are examples of this kind of literature. An analysis of these novels is useful in beginning a comparative inquiry into the twentieth century literatures of these two regions. In this paper I will highlight similarities between these two novels—the temporal settings, the literary representations of authority and police methods, the depiction of a certain kind of loss of innocence, and a pessimistic outlook—in order to show that common human experiences can be elicited in widely different contexts and represented diversely in literature. The study of these two novels necessarily brings up questions about the intrusion of historical fact in fiction and how this affects the value—literary, emotional, historical—of the pieces. I will reach a conclusion that will explain why this kind of literature, in whatever language, from whatever continent, is important for the rest of the world.


Historical Backgrounds

Apartheid was the legalized and intensified system of racial segregation instituted by the government of South Africa, led by the National Party, in 1948. It was based on a mélange of racialized regimes developed and implemented in various degrees over centuries of colonization (Thompson 67, 187). In order to maintain a political, economic, and social system that exploited the majority of the population for the benefit of a minority, social practices, strict laws, and police intervention were necessary. Among the socio-cultural practices were the distortions of the right to the land [. . .]; abuses in the name of Christianity [. . .]; the enslavement of indigenous peoples in the interior; strategies to ensure and perpetuate the marginalization of women in both black and white societies (Brink Interrogating 15). The police actions to stifle dissent included detention, kidnapping, disappearing, torture, and murder. The height of the repressive activity came in the 1970s and 80s. Finally in 1990, after a long period of a protracted state of internal discontent and protest to which the only response was more repression, a transitional government was negotiated and instituted; political parties were unbanned, and apartheid laws and practices began to be dismantled. All this led to the first democratic elections in the history of South Africa in 1994 (Thompson).

In the Southern Cone of South America—Argentina, Uruguay, and Chile—non-elected military governments were common throughout the 20th century, especially in Argentina, where a series of coups and feeble attempts at democracy occurred between 1966 and 1983 (Foster 3). The most recent and notorious dictatorial regimes were in Uruguay from 1973 to 1985, in Chile from 1973 to 1989, and in Argentina from 1976 to 1983. The stated objectives of these de facto governments were to eliminate the leftist terrorist guerrillas, to reestablish order, to replace the import substitution industrialization plan with neo-liberalism, and in general to protect the capitalist economic system (Skidmore and Smith 59). This system was being threatened by leftist ideologies throughout the continent and in Chile, in 1970 particularly, by the first democratically chosen socialist government.

There are common features between the South African and the South American authoritarian regimes in the way they tried to impose their ideas of freedom, security, and prosperity. They relied on police actions, had a marked anti-communist discourse consistent with their chosen side in the Cold War, and strongly favored a market ideology, military doctrine, and Christian traditionalism (Avelar 55; Kantaris Subversive 19). Ana Pizarro observes in South America the prioritizing of the internal enemy and the State-organized torture and extermination groups that left a sequel of prisoners, exiles, and disappeared (13), which could also be observed during the South African apartheid government. This era also signified the beginning of the neo-liberal doctrine that still has a powerful hold today in the allegedly democratic societies in both regions.

These similarities do not mean that important differences can be overlooked. In South Africa, a minority oppressed a majority and this oppression was based on race. Dissidents represented the views and interests of the majority. In South America, in contrast, there was no racialization of politics and persecution was based on ideology and association (even casual association) with those who were supposed to hold certain ideologies. Instead of the interest of one race, what the South American military regimes protected was the economic interest of a wealthy minority, which makes this a matter of class rather than of race.

With the advent of more military dictatorships and the end of all hopes for an alternative social project, the early seventies also marked the decline of the Latin American literary boom in South America. Allegorically speaking, it could be argued that the boom ended on 11 September 1973, as the Chilean military ousted Salvador Allende's Popular Unity, thereby putting an end to the peaceful road toward socialism, writes Idelber Avelar (35). The era of protest literature had begun, although the works were heavily marked by censorship and often written in exile. David William Foster finds great value and valor in the mere fact of having the desire to sustain the social function of fiction under the shadow of a terrorist state (74); although Foster is referring to writers from Argentina specifically, his statement can be extended to the rest of South America, and also to many South African writers opposing their own terrorist state, such as Mongane Wally Serote, Njabulo Ndebele, Sipho Sepamla, Breyten Breytenbach, Nadine Gordimer, and of course, André Brink.


Two Novels

In A Dry White Season, the narrator reconstructs the last year of the life of his some-time friend Ben du Toit. Ben, a white school teacher living in Johannesburg, sees his secure and comfortable world crumble to pieces as he conducts (because he conducts) his own investigation of the death of Gordon Ngubene's teen-age son in prison and later of Gordon's own imprisonment, torture, and death at the hands of the South African police. Ben's investigation, his approach to the truth, and the imminent publication of the facts are the motives for his death, which was staged to look accidental.

Conversación al sur, literally Conversation in the South, translated by Jo Labanyi as Mothers and Shadows,2 is mostly that: a conversation between two women in a time of authoritarian repressive military regimes in the Southern Cone. Dolores, a young poet, and Irene, an actress, had met several years before, one convulsive day during a police raid in Montevideo. Irene was able to return to her native Buenos Aires; Dolores and her friends were detained, tortured, and some of them killed. Five years after that, Dolores is out of prison and has come to visit Irene who is again in Montevideo, profoundly worried about the fate of her son in Chile, where Pinochet's coup has just happened. Triangulated among Montevideo, Buenos Aires, and Santiago, Dolores and Irene's dialogue is mostly about the outcome of that fateful night in Montevideo, what happened to whom, and about the uncertain, violent, hopeless times in which they are living.

As Barbara Harlow notes, the insistence on the here-and-now of historical reality [. . .] underwrites much of the project of resistance literature (16). A Dry White Season and Conversación al sur make heavy use of local historical references, even though neither one claims to be historical or autobiographical. In both novels, the action takes place during apartheid in South Africa and the dictatorships in the Southern Cone in the 1970s, a period of time when state-sponsored violence was on the rise and about to peak. The action in the narratives in both cases is triggered by a chaotic day: the first student revolt in Soweto on 16 June 1976, and a police raid in Montevideo, Uruguay. The socio-political and governmental context in both narratives and their historical backgrounds can be described with a variety of terms, ranging from fascist dictatorship to a euphemistic bureaucratic authoritarianism.

Both novels tell the stories of mostly common people, not necessarily political activists, terrorists, or highly-ideologized characters. In both accounts, the police first deny the detentions, then brush off all inquiries about the detainees by their friends and relatives, deny and then change their version about the prisoners' deaths, and finally thwart the families' attempts to free the detainees or even recover their bodies. In A Dry White Season, this process of dealing with and getting around the police is the central motive that triggers the action—protagonist du Toit's enquiries. In Conversación al sur the practice of detention, disappearance, murder, and refusal to return the bodies to the families is a common occurrence in the society in which the characters live. As Dolores says, Cuando quieren que alguien se les pierda, no hay nada que hacer (Traba 24) (When they decide to lose someone, that's that [19]). In South Africa too, the police seems liable to just lose people in their charge. A Dry White Season describes what happens when the parents of the young detainee inquire about the body: they were sent from one office to the other, from Special Branch to CID, told to wait, told to come again (Brink 46).

Descriptions of police actions are disturbingly similar in both novels. The prisoners are often naked and subject to sexual torture. In Montevideo, Dolores, by means of being kicked in her abdomen, is made to miscarry; in the police quarters in Johannesburg, bricks are suspended from the sexual organs of the male detainees while they are being interrogated, sometimes for more than twenty uninterrupted hours (Brink Season 50). Referring to historical data from South America (but represented in Brink's fiction as well), Kantaris writes in The Subversive Psyche that imaginary fantasies of the body-in-bits-and-pieces, of aggression towards and defiling of the mother, of total dominance/jouissance over the other, and of compulsive castration anxiety, were gruesomely realized in the accounts we have of the torture sessions (18). Brink's and Traba's fictional accounts also are consistent with testimony given many years later to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of South Africa and the Comisión Nacional sobre la desaparición de personas (National Commission on the Disappearance of Persons) in Argentina. For example, in both places it was customary for the police come in the middle of the night in groups that were larger and better armed than what would be necessary to make an arrest (EUDEBA; Truth and Reconciliation). Men wearing boots are a common characterization: boots that make a threatening noise and that are used as weapons and as instruments of torture—Dolores's spleen was still functional porque prefirieron saltar sobre la barriga protuberante (Traba 17) (because they'd preferred to stamp on her protruding belly [11]).

Silencing was another practice used by both apartheid and South American repressive machineries. The terrible silence elicited by fear is broken in the exchange between Irene and Dolores, a conversation that is both confidential and confessional (Kason 222-23). For Marjorie Agosín, this conversation is la posibilidad de enunciar sin crear culpa, la posibilidad de hacer literatura de conciencia, una literatura que indaga y en el proceso de indagar, cuenta (47) (the possibility of stating something without assigning blame, the possibility of writing literature with a conscience, a literature that inquires, and which in the process of inquiring, tells a tale). The recounting of Ben's act of inquiring about the fate of the Ngubenes is also, precisely, Brink's narrative strategy to tell his story in A Dry White Season.

In both novels, the main characters lose their faith in the system in which they had lived so comfortably, experiencing a growing realization of the inefficacy of law and of the corruption of legal system. It's a loss of innocence of sorts. In Conversación al sur, for example, Irene realizes, when she was arrested in Uruguay, that she had been wrong:

Algo había cambiado de manera radical y comenzaba a percibirlo. Fuera quien fuera, yo no existía para ellos. Mejor dicho: ellos decretaban quién podía existir y quién no. [. . .] [S]entí que las cosas se recomponían dentro de una nueva lógica (48)
(At that point I realised I'd got things completely wrong. Something had changed radically and I was starting to notice. No matter who I might be, I simply didn't exist for them. Or rather: they decreed who could exist and who could not. [. . .] I felt things begin to rearrange themselves according to a new logic [44-45]).
In the same novel, Dolores remembers the time when she was picked up from prison by a friend who
seguía creyendo, la pobre, que todavía había leyes en el Uruguay. Y lo seguimos creyendo cuando fuimos con los abogados de Luisa a tratar de liberar a los dem┬Ěs que se quedaron adentro (116)
(still believed there were such things as laws in Uruguay. And we still believed it when we went with Luisa's lawyers to try to secure the release of the others who were still in jail [118]).
At the beginning of A Dry White Season, Ben refuses to regard [Gordon's detention] as particularly serious: an administrative error, an unfortunate mistake, surely no more than that (53), and goes himself to talk to a high-ranking police official, to have a brief conversation to correct a misunderstanding. For what else could it be but a regrettable, reparable mistake? (57). Later, when he has lost confidence in the police, he still believes that a lawsuit will set things right: Our courts have always had a reputation for impartiality (96) and we must let the law run its course (103), he earnestly tells the black man who is helping him with his investigation (and who is, unsurprisingly, skeptic). Only toward the end of the novel Ben realizes, How naïve, how foolish of me (237). This recognition of naiveté begins when the judge, presiding in the court to which Ben has brought a suit against the Security Police for the death of the elder Ngubene, blatantly ignores all the evidence presented to him and rules that on the available evidence his death could not be attributed to any act or omission amounting to a criminal offence on the part of any person (114). It is indicative of the importance of historical fact in this novel that Brink uses the exact phraseology used by the court that ruled over Steve Biko's murder: On the available evidence the death cannot be attributed to any act or omission accounting to a criminal offense on the part of any person (qtd. in Harlow 104). Even if Brink didn't have the Biko case in mind when he created the Ngubene case, the coincidence may be accounted for by the existence of verdicts of this kind issued regularly by South African courts in the 1970s.

The power of oppression is persistent and pervades whole lives, even after being freed from detention. Dolores acknowledges this when she says that reality has been thrust on her (Traba 6), and that she lives in constant fear: Me quedan los reflejos del pavor (73) (the fear overwhelms me. I can't break the habit [71]). Dolores's panicked reaction to hearing knocking on the door supports Emily Tomlinson's observation that, even when physical pain is no longer agonizingly present, even outside the interrogation cell, the world remains very much in the torturers' hands (699): a persistence of power for some, and of defeat for others, even when the battle is over.

It is perhaps on account of this persistence of pervasive oppression and power that the two novels end on a deeply pessimistic note: in both, the armed forces win. The Special Branch of the South African police makes sure that the narrator of A Dry White Season knows that they are aware he is involved; in Montevideo, Conversación al sur ends when the police burst into Irene's home as they hear el [. . .] ruido, nítido, despiadado, [que] fue creciendo y, finalmente, las cercó (170) (that [. . .] noise, cutting, merciless, [that] grew and grew till finally it was all around them [177]). This hopelessness is, according to Jaime Gómez, la más destructiva de las consecuencias de la dictadura que emerge de la narrativa de las escritoras del Cono Sur (97) (the most destructive result of the dictatorship emerging from the narrative of the women writers of the Southern Cone), and it is reflected in both Traba's and Brink's novels.

Gómez has observed that the literature produced in South America in this era was often dialogic or multi-voiced. In the case of Conversación al sur, dialogism is obvious: the novel narrates a dialogue, although there is much that is thought but not voiced and internal monologues take as much space as the actual conversation between Irene and Dolores. In the case of A Dry White Season, there are two narrative voices: the narrator of the story and Ben du Toit through his diary and notes, which he was able to send to his friend, the narrator, shortly before being killed.


Little Fictions, Large Truths

The two novels are eminently political in nature: they denounce, judge, and condemn. Throughout the apartheid years, writes Brink years after the end of the system that he vigorously opposed, the urge to report a cause aright was a prime mover in the work of most writers caught up in the culture of resistance (Interrogating 16). Writing is a recognized form of dissidence, and the very concept of dictatorship suggests an implicit relation between power and the control of words (Kantaris Silent 90). Indeed, writers were subjected to excessive violence and turned to literary representation with the objective to provide alternative mediums of communication that would rectify and contradict an existing official representation as well as assume the functions of a literary tool of resistance (Unnold 75-76). For Brink, the essential characteristic of South African literature of dissent, whether in poetry, theater or fiction/faction, remained its rootedness in the historical approach, its faith in the processes of representation (Interrogating 17). But one must recognize that there are limits of the power of literature, as Kate Cummings points out: With missing bodies, we have reached the limits of idealism, then, for the body's materiality is precisely what stories cannot restore (555). However, literature helps to restore some other things: memories, silenced facts, even a more global truth. Marta Traba says that, [in Conversación al sur] I didn't want to describe a situation, the death and disappearance of people in the Southern Cone, because I feel this is impossible; the situation will always surpass the dramatic level sought by the writer. [. . .] What I wanted was to explain how a particular situation damages and transforms one's life (qtd. in Kantaris Subversive 214). The political situations in South Africa and the Southern Cone are clearly cases that exemplify, and perhaps justify, the use of art in the form of literature as a political weapon, even if it serves only to give one version or piece of reality.

It might seem inconsistent that factual accuracy is not as important as the communication of a general truth. Indeed, Traba intentionally, apparently, jumbles the time/space referents in Conversación al sur. No dates or actual names are mentioned in the novel, but it is clear that the conversation is happening shortly after Pinochet's coup in Chile in September of 1973 (Lagos 53). For those familiar with the national and regional events in South America, it is confusing to understand this and then go on to read references of events that historically occurred many years after the main action, like the World Cup soccer championship of 1978 in Argentina, and the demonstrations of the Mothers of the Plaza de Mayo (who demanded from the government an account of what happened to their disappeared children, [Skidmore and Smith 99]) which did not start until 1977. These events are posterior to the time when the actual conversation takes place, in September 1973. Lagos credits Gisela Noral with suggesting that the lack of historical precision contributes to universalizing the events in the novel, and that the chronological upset has an eminently literary purpose because it underscores the synthesis and the symbolic process of the writer of the novel; by being factually unspecific, Traba achieves a more general understanding. Brink also refers to history in the writing of fiction: Does [art] not [. . .] attempt to heighten the perception of that experience and intensify its texture? Or, at the very least, to transform the experience [. . .] into something that can be grasped by the imagination in order to guard against its repetition? (Interrogating 20). Additionally, it would be difficult to give a realistic representation that things that happened clandestinely and were not experienced by the author; however, later testimonies of victims of these regimes demonstrate clearly that the fiction writers knew what they were writing about, either by personal experience, or through other people's reports.

Thus, the diachronic distortion observed in Conversación al sur is both a universalization device as well as a means to acknowledge the fictionalization of a truth. Because immediate facts have a more immediate effect than general statements, regardless of the truth in each, fiction becomes more real than truth and intensifies an experience lived and expressed by others. Regarding the historicity—or lack thereof—of Conversación al sur, Lagos writes that:

Al modificar la cronología, la narración subraya el efecto acumulativo de la represión que tuvo lugar entre mediados de los sesenta y comienzos de los ochenta en Uruguay, Argentina y Chile, sugiriendo por un lado que estos no son hechos aislados, y por otro, que han tenido un hondo impacto en la vida de los ciudadanos, pero también que se trata de una representación literaria de una realidad dolorosa y no de un texto que se ajusta fielmente a los acontecimientos históricos. (54)
(By altering the chronology, the narration underscores the cumulative effect of the repression that occurred between the mid-sixties and the early eighties in Uruguay, Argentina, and Chile; this suggests, on the one hand, that these are not isolated events, and on the other, that they have had a profound effect on the lives of people, but also that it is a literary representation of a painful reality, not a text that faithfully reports historic events.)
Fiction writers, as well as critics, have given considerable thought to the questions of the relationship between fact and fiction in literature and of literature's use as a political instrument. Harlow observes that: Resistance literature calls attention to itself, and to literature in general, as a political and politicized activity. [. . .] [It] sees itself furthermore as immediately and directly involved as a struggle against ascendant or dominant forms of ideological and cultural production (28-29). While one can surmise from Resistance Literature that Harlow understands and supports this function, she also warns about the dangers of uncritical and idealizing representations of the oppressed (29). About historical fact in literature, Brink says that, [t]he enterprise of fiction [. . .] reaches well beyond facts: inasmuch as it is concerned with the real [. . .] it presumes a process through which the real is not merely represented but imagined. What is aimed to is not a reproduction but an imagining (Stories 30). Brink's comment is therefore an argument that places literature again in the realm of the imaginary but does not, by doing that, cancel literature's power to tell truths. Foster seems to be in agreement with this: We have come to accept [. . .] that no text can be simply the innocently transparent exposition of meaning, but that all writing is instead an ideologically conditioned rhetoricizing of the reality it purports to represent, and therefore these fictions should be interpreted as the writer's inescapable need to elaborate a rhetorically persuasive discourse (15). Mario Vargas Llosa, one of the writers of the Latin American boom, is also concerned about the sometimes uneasy relationship between truth and fiction: History and Literature—truth and falsehood, reality and fiction—mingle in the texts in a way that is often inextricable. The demarcation line that separates one from the other frequently fades away, and this fading demarcation makes the narrative more seductive because the likely and unlikely in it seem to be part of the same substance (5-6). One may conclude from this small sampling of opinions that it is almost inevitable for literature to be firmly anchored in some reality, or in some aspect of reality, or in someone's reality, but this anchoring does not mean a rigid, slavish subservience to the facts. The truth is like a moving target, and the job of writers is not to pin down the target, but to expand its meanings and the writers' and readers' own worlds.


Why It Matters

When confronting trauma in the present or from the past, be it personal and mnemonic or public and historical, one wishes to understand and come to terms with the traumatic experience. Writing and reading stories is one way to do this. Undoubtedly, there is a cathartic function in writing, a personal exorcizing, a getting out all one knows and imagines, and a cleansing and unburdening after the release of information and emotion. Fiction writing can also exhibit a didactic, moral function; this is what drives much of the literature of denunciation and resistance: to let the world know what is happening or what happened, to warn, to not let it happen again.

Stories often apply to contexts other than the ones they tell about; if they do this, they are said to tell a universal truth. Marjorie Agosín understands Conversación al sur as such. She writes that the novel

adquiere las voces de otras conversaciones. La denuncia es circular y recorre muchos países y la imagen de las Madres de Plaza de Mayo que ronda a través de todo el texto es la imagen de las refugiadas de Kosovo, de aquella abuela que salió llevada por su nieto en una carreta hasta la frontera con Macedonia. Sé que Marta Traba quiso llegar y hablar más allá del cono sur, pero contó su historia desde ese punto de referencia porque era el sitio que ella conocía y amaba. ¿No es eso parte de la lucha contra el olvido, regresar al lugar, al centro del amor, desnudarlo, hablar de sus grietas y de sus pequeños y grandes horrores? (50)
(acquires the voices of other conversations. Denunciation is circular and it covers many countries, and the image of the Mothers of Plaza de Mayo that hovers around the entire text is the image of the Kosovo refugees, of that old woman taken in a wagon to the border with Macedonia by her grandson. I know that Marta Traba wished to reach and talk beyond the Southern Cone, but she told her story from that point of reference because it was the place that she knew and loved. Is that not part of the struggle against oblivion, to return to the place, to the center of love, to uncover it, to talk about its crevices and of its small and great horrors?)
Assuming that fictions represent some version of reality, Conversación al sur and A Dry White Season prompt the reader to ask the persistent question: How could this happen? One of the purposes of these two novels can be summarized in a short phrase: the two words that name the Report of the National Commission on the Disappearance of Persons of Argentina: Nunca másNever again (EUDEBA). To the question How could this happen? there is no answer, but an admonition: Never again, not only in South America and South Africa, but never again anywhere in the world. In their own ways, as writers with the tools that were at their disposal and that they knew how to use well, Brink and Traba were performing a political act at the same time that they were executing their art. They could not have done otherwise.


1 Barbara Harlow's Resistance Literature is a valuable study in this regard.
2 I will use Labanyi's English translation to quote from Traba's novel. All other translations are mine.

Works Cited

Agosín, Marjorie. Meditaciones en torno al sur. Pizarro 47–51.

Avelar, Idelber. The Untimely Present: Postdictatorial Latin American Fiction
        and the Task of Mourning
. Durham: Duke UP, 1999.

Brink, André. A Dry White Season. New York: Penguin, 1980.

---. Interrogating Silence: New Possibilities Faced by South African
Writing South Africa: Literature, Apartheid, and Democracy,
. Ed. Derek Attridge and Rosemary Jolly. Cambridge:
        Cambridge UP, 1998. 14–28.

---. Stories of History: Reimagining the Past in Post-Apartheid Narrative.
         Negotiating the Past: The Making of Memory in South Africa . Ed. Sarah
        Nuttal and Carli Coetzee. Cape Town: Oxford UP, 1998. 29–42.

Cummings, Kate. Reclaiming the Mother('s) Tongue: Beloved, Ceremony,
        Mothers and Shadows.
College English 52.5 (1990): 552–569.

EUDEBA. Informe de la Comisión Nacional sobre la desaparición de personas.
        25 Nov. 2007 <http://www.desaparecidos.org/arg/conadep/nuncamas/

Foster, David William. Violence in Argentine Literature: Cultural Responses to
. Columbia: University of Missouri Press, 1995.

Gómez, Jaime P. La representación de la dictadura en la narrativa de Marta
        Traba, Isabel Allende, Diamela Eltit y Luisa Valenzuela.
        12.2 (1997): 89–99.

Harlow, Barbara. Resistance Literature. New York: Methuen, 1987.

Kantaris, Elia Geoffrey. The Silent Zone: Marta Traba. The Modern
        Language Review
87.1 (1992): 86–101.

---. The Subversive Psyche: Contemporary Women's Narrative from Argentina
        and Uruguay
. Oxford: Oxford UP, 1995.

Kason, Nancy M. La conciencia del exilio en Conversación al sur de Marta
Alba de América 8.14–15 (1990): 221-227.

Lagos, María Inés. Sujeto mujer y gobierno militar en Conversación al sur de
        Marta Traba.
Pizarro 53–70.

Pizarro, Ana, comp. Marta Traba, la transgresión. Las grietas del proceso
        civilizatorio: Marta Traba en los sesenta
. Santiago: LOM, 2002.

Skidmore, Thomas E., and Smith, Peter H. Modern Latin America. 6th ed.
        New York: Oxford UP, 2005.

Thompson, Leonard. A History of South Africa. New Haven: Yale Nota Bene,

Tomlinson, Emily. Rewriting Fictions of Power: The Texts of Luisa Valenzuela
        and Marta Traba.
The Modern Language Review 93.3 (1998):

Traba, Marta. Conversación al sur. 7th ed. México, D.F.: Siglo, 1996.

---. Mothers and Shadows. Trans. Jo Labanyi. London: Readers International,

Truth and Reconciliation Commission of South Africa Report. South African
        Government Information
. 21 March 2003. Truth and Reconciliation
        Commission. 25 Nov. 2007 <http://www.info.gov.za/otherdocs/2003/

Unnold, Yvonne S. Narratives of Trauma from the Southern Cone. Latin
        American Narratives and Cultural Identity
. Ed. Irene Maria F. Blayer and
        Mark Cronlund Anderson. New York: Peter Lang, 2004. 75–93.

Vargas Llosa, Mario. Latin America: Fiction and Reality. Modern Latin
        American Fiction: A Survey
. Ed. John King. London: Faber & Faber,
        1987. 1–17.

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