Feeding on Dreams: Confessions of an Unrepentant Exile

Ariel Dorfman. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $27 (352p) ISBN 978-0-547-54946-0
Exploring for the first time his years in exile following the brutal 1973 overthrow of President Allende by General Pinochet, celebrated Chilean novelist and playwright Dorfman (Death and the Maiden) gorgeously evokes his lifelong search for home, country, and belonging. Born in Argentina, raised briefly in the United States before moving to Chile, Dorfman joins Allende's revolution, but unlike his hero, escapes death during Pinochet's military coup and is able to flee the country with his wife, Angélica, and their young son, Rodrigo, in 1973. So begins, through a network of contacts, his long exile, with the family staying for several years in Paris—which Dorfman hated—before moving on to Amsterdam, where Joaquín was born. Intercut with the present day are sections from Dorfman's journal of his brief 1990 return to Santiago, his first time back in Chile since his exile. Amsterdam is followed by the U.S., a place that provides both opportunity and angst, as Dorfman must wrestle both with the role of his adopted country (he became a U.S. citizen in 2005) in Pinochet's regime and with the English language in general, as he more thoroughly embraces bilingualism. Never is the pain of his—or Chile's—past minimized or truly healed, but rather lyrically shared, for, as his exile taught him, the people's strength is everywhere, "beating in all the friends abroad who have cared for us, literally giving us heart, their heart, when we had felt most abandoned." (Sept.)
Reviewed on: 07/11/2011
Release date: 09/01/2011
Genre: Nonfiction
Paperback - 332 pages - 978-0-547-84418-3
Open Ebook - 352 pages - 978-0-547-54947-7
Show other formats
Discover what to read next