My Father’s Ghost is Climbing in the Rain by Patricio PronRead about the other entries on the list.
Patricio Pron’s genre-defying novel of a struggle between memory and forgetting focuses on the “dirty war” in the 1970s.
The narrator returns to Argentina in 2008 from self-imposed exile in Berlin to be with his dying father. In his parents’ house, he finds a cache of documents relating to a recent missing-person case, that of 60-year-old Alberto José Burdisso. But the key is material relating to the disappearance of Alberto’s sister, Alicia, decades earlier, under the murderous military dictatorship. Through it, the son is able to piece together his father’s past.
He learns that his parents were part of an underground leftwing Peronist group that opposed the military junta – and that some members paid with their lives.
The quirky, fragmented telling of the story is challenging in parts, but perseverance pays dividends as the haunting novel excavates the family’s – and Argentina’s – tortured recent history.
“Your father isn’t sad that he fought the war,” the narrator’s mother says, “he’s only sad that we didn’t win.”
In this largely autobiographical tale, Pron pays tribute to those in his parents’ generation who defied the military dictatorship.
Pron was born in Argentina in 1975, the year before the dirty war began. He now lives in Spain.