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Nona Fernández

Teoksen Space Invaders tekijä

11 Works 338 Jäsentä 13 arvostelua 1 Favorited

About the Author

Tekijän teokset

Space Invaders (2013) — Tekijä — 141 kappaletta
The Twilight Zone (2016) 108 kappaletta
Voyager: Constellations of Memory (2020) 38 kappaletta
Mapocho (2002) 27 kappaletta
Chilean Electric (2015) 8 kappaletta
Die Straße zum 10. Juli (2007) 7 kappaletta
Fuenzalida (2012) 3 kappaletta
El cielo (2000) 3 kappaletta
Preguntas Frecuentes (2020) 1 kappale
Fernandez Nona 1 kappale

Merkitty avainsanalla


Kanoninen nimi
Fernández, Nona
Virallinen nimi
Fernández Silanes, Patricia Paola
Maa (karttaa varten)
Santiago, Chile



Chilean Childhoods
Review of the Daunt Books paperback (June 2022) translated by [author:Natasha Wimmer|723942] from the Spanish language original [book:Space Invaders|18770438] (2013)

This book invites us to work on memory. Not an easy job for children who grew up facing the incessant attack of invaders from space. Nobody wants to remember nightmares. But, inevitably, as it is said towards the end of this text, we are submerged there. We don't know how to wake up. This book helps us do just that job. Remember to get out of that dream with no apparent way out. One life, another and another, in a cyclical massacre with no possibility of an end. Escape from that bad dream to which we are subjected.
Our own story.
Learn to wake up.
- A translated excerpt from the Epilogue by Jaime Pinos to the Spanish language edition (not included in the English translation editions).

This recent UK edition of Nona Fernández's Space Invaders (orig. 2013) does not improve on the original 2019 US edition of the same translation as published by Graywolf Press. Again, no Introduction of Afterword is provided for context, which to me seems a real requirement for an historical fiction based on events ranging from 50 to 30 years ago. So it is another case of researching and then writing your own Afterword or Interpretation (in your mind perhaps). Even the original Spanish language edition contained an Epilogue, although it was more of an appreciation and an encouragement to exorcism than a background history.

So unless you already have a thorough knowledge of recent Chilean history, you will likely have to look up the Military Dictatorship of Chile (1973-1990) and Human Rights Violations in Pinochet's Chile in general, and the Caso Degollados (Spanish: Slit-Throat Case) in particular.

Fernández's titular use of the early video game Space Invaders is a recurring metaphor for the incessant persecution of people under the Pincochet's regime from what seems like countless waves of attackers. The author presents this from the point of view of children growing up under the dictatorship, which she did herself, having been born in 1971. There is the impression that some of the characters may be based on her own childhood friends e.g. one named Maldonado is thanked in the acknowledgements. Most of that background remains a mystery however.

I found myself confused at times by various aspects, mixing up the father with the uncle etc. The main character whose fate haunts the dreams of her childhood friends is described in the synopsis with the name of Estrella González Jepsen, but midway in a reproduced letter says her middle name is Marisella. You then deduce that her name must have been Estrella Marisella González with a later married name of Jepsen. So it is the synopsis leading you astray... Anyway, various aspects just didn't satisfy me about the presentation of this translation. Not the original author's fault though.

I read Space Invaders as the August 2022 selection from the Republic of Consciousness Book of the Month (BotM) club. Subscriptions to the BotM support the annual Republic of Consciousness Prize for small independent publishers.

I accessed the original Spanish language edition through Scribd. If you want to check my translation the original excerpt quoted above reads as:

Este libro nos invita al trabajo de la memoria. Un trabajo nada fácil para los niños que crecieron enfrentando el ataque incesante de los invasores del espacio. Nadie quiere recordar las pesadillas. Pero, inevitablemente, como se dice hacia el final de este texto, Ahí estamos sumergidos. No sabemos despertar. Este libro nos ayuda justamente a hacer ese trabajo. Recordar para salir de ese sueño sin salida aparente. Una vida, otra y otra más, en una matanza cíclica sin posibilidad de fin. Escapar de ese mal sueño al que estamos sometidos.
Nuestra propia historia.
Aprender a despertar.
… (lisätietoja)
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alanteder | 4 muuta kirja-arvostelua | Aug 27, 2022 |
Great book. Based on actual events.

It's a treatment of the political repression in Chile under Pinochet.

But it's reimagined as though were an episode of the old American sci-fi series, "The Twilight Zone", shown in Chile where the author watched it on television in her childhood in the 1970s.

As a sidenote, televisions were one of the futuristic designs of goods mass-produced in materials such as plastics and fibreglass by the "Popular Unity" coaliton government of Salvador Allende, which was ousted in Pinochet's military coup.

Allende had attempted to raise the standard of living of the Chilean people, nationalising industry, and trying to bring it under workers' control. To help in this, he'd hired a cigar-smoking and whisky-drinking British management consultant called Stafford Beer.

They planned to build a "cybernetic" system, a bit like a human body with organs operating without always being under conscious control of the brain, with a mainframe computer in the nerve centre (modelled on a British wartime Ops room), and telex machines set up in factories.

Beer even had a plan to set up "algedonic" meters in the public's television sets, so they could vote on how happy, or unhappy, they were with any particular political proposal. ("Algedonic" from two words, "algos" meaning pain, and "hedos" meaning pleasure.)

So, a bit had happened by the time of the events depicted in this novel.

It needs a preface, really. But to give some more background, this quote is from the 2018 preface to the edition of another book, How To Read Donald Duck:Imperialist Ideology in the Disney Comic, first published in Chile in 1971, and burnt by the Pinochet regime:

"...military conspirators and their civilian masters in the oligarchy had been financed and aided by the American government and the C.I.A...Nixon and Kissinger had destabilized the Allende experiment... The revolutionaries were dead or in hiding or banished, and the Chicago Boys were unleashed on Chile, a laboratory for the Milton Friedmanesque experiments that were soon to take over England and the United States itself in the Thatcher and Reagan eras..."(p.vii)

A couple of excerpts from The Twilight Zone itself:

"she [the author's mother] returned to work while I [the author] was left in the middle of those long seventies afternoons, The Twilight Zone [TV show] marking the moment when the sun began to set.
A space traveler has to make an emergency landing on an unknown planet a million miles from home. His spaceship is out of commission. His right arm is broken, his forehead cut and bleeding. Colonel Cook, voyager across the ocean of space, will never fly the smouldering wreck of his ship again. He survived the crash, but his lonely journey has just begun. Hurting and afraid, he sends messages home pleading for someone to rescue him, though that appears to be impossible. His people can't come for him and he'll be left all alone, on a small planet in space, his very own twilight zone. "(p. 40)

"My mother knew none of this when she told us what she'd seen that morning, a few hours before. It took me years to connect her story to the one I read in the testimony of the man who tortured people. While we were having lunch that day, eating the casserole or stew my grandmother had made, Carlos Contreras Maluje [a pharmacist and city councilman] was probably getting beaten in a cell on Calle Dieciocho, a few blocks from my old house. While we were helping ourselves to gelatin and drowning in condensed milk, a dessert we loved, Carlos Contreras Maluje was probably sending telepathic messages to his family and friends, asking someone to come and rescue him from the small, lonely planet where he had landed. That place where he was stranded, afraid and in pain, with no ship to take him back to his home above the Maluje Pharmacy in Conception. "(p. 43)

And even the torturers get the same treatment themselves from the Pinochet regime as they've given others when they mess up:

"His body turned up in the river riddled with seventeen bullet holes, his fingers severed at the first joint, his spinal column snapped, and his genitals exploded."(p.84)
… (lisätietoja)
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George_Stokoe | 4 muuta kirja-arvostelua | Feb 12, 2022 |
This is one of those odd novels that use fiction to explore history. When this is done poorly I hate it--when it is done well, it is masterful.

The narrator is a Chilean journalist (who happens to have the same surname as the author--are some of the journalist's memories actually the author's?) who is fascinated by Andres Antonio Valenzuela Morales, a real member of the Chilean Air Force Intelligence who tortured people. In 1984 he spilled all to a journalist.

The narrator studies his confessions, visits museums, memorials, places he went. She reads articles and imagines what she was doing at the time, as a child.

And throughout the novel she relates the entire experience--of Chile in the 70s/80s, of this agent confessing and fleeing to Europe, continuing to provide information and identifying those he can, of people pretending nothing was happening next door or in the street or across the street when they knew exactly what was happening--with the TV show The Twilight Zone. How the strangest things can happen, and how things may be exactly how they seem--or they may be the opposite.

It sounds crazy, but it works.

In many ways this reminds me of [book:The Shape of the Ruins|38256287]. It is completely different, but the way actual history is examined through the narration is also very similar. I also spend a lot of time on Wikipedia while reading both of these books, learning more of the background.
… (lisätietoja)
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Dreesie | 4 muuta kirja-arvostelua | Oct 20, 2021 |
Nona Fernández weaves a story about the "man who tortured people" at the behest of the Chilean dictator, General Augusto Pinochet in the mid-80s. Eventually, he is convinced to provide evidence against the regime and has to hide from those seeking to silence him to repress the truth. The story of his exodus from Chile and exile in France keeps the reader's interest, and again helps deflect from all of the disappeared people. Integrating some of the wildly strange episodes of Rod Serling's iconic television show, Fernández also manages to keep the story from being overly morbid.… (lisätietoja)
Merkitty asiattomaksi
skipstern | 4 muuta kirja-arvostelua | Jul 11, 2021 |



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