New. SHIP DAILY from NJ; GIFT-ABLE as NEW, UNREAD LATER PRINTING, fresh, NEW AS SHOWN THIS COVER. Text in English, Spanish. Trade paperback (US). Glued binding. 252 p. Audience: General/trade. 9586 9586--This book recounts the remarkable life of Rigoberta Menchu, a young Guatemalan peasant woman. Her story reflects the experiences common to many Indian communities in Latin America today. Rigoberta suffered gross injustice and hardship in her early life: her brother, father and mother were murdered by the Guatemalan military. She learned Spanish and turned to catechist work as an expression of political revolt as well as religious commitment. The anthropologist Elisabeth Burgos-Debray, herself a Latin American woman, conducted a series of interviews with Rigoberta Menchu. The result is a book unique in contemporary literature which records the detail of everyday Indian life. Rigoberta's gift for striking expression vividly conveys both the religious and superstitious beliefs of her community and her personal response to feminist and socialist ideas. Above all, these pages are illuminated by the enduring courage and passionate sense of justice of an extraordinary woman.
Mired in controversy? The book turns out to be a work of fiction. Why bother reading it, especially if it's been assigned to you by a college professor as "multicultural" reading. A) It doesn't do anything to inform one about the prevailing culture of Guatemala and B) it's not even true.
Sep 13, 2008
Difficult but Necessary History
Much has been made of evaluating this history of the populist Guatemalan labor uprising in terms of a Western "memoir" narrative structure, and judging it in terms of an American academic "truth." The real push of this work is it's very fact of existence: the possibility for a woman whose life has positioned her as marginalized on almost all fronts: age, gender, language (speaking Quiché in a country where the language of bureaucracy is Spanish), land rights, etc. Yet she has delivered her life story of struggle and political organization (albeit through a Spanish-to-English translation and reorganization) to a wider audience. It is not easy to read this book, as it confronts one with the violence, manipulation, and suffering that always accompany indigenous movements towards solidarity, but it is fine if our foundations are shaken or consciousness disrupted if it means that we have more understanding of the importance of poor women of color's life work.
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