Ariel Dorfman, "Darwin's Ghosts"
Ariel Dorfman, Darwin's Ghosts
Friday, May 11, 7pm
The latest novel from one of Latin America's greatest living writers tells the story of a man whose distant past comes to haunt him, leading him to uncover his ancestors' involvement in the sordid story behind 19th century human zoos in Europe.
From the author of Death and the Maiden and other works that explore relations of power in the postcolonial world, comes the story of a man whose distant past comes to haunt him, leading him to uncover his ancestors' involvement in the sordid story behind 19th century human zoos in Europe.
On Fitzroy Foster's fourteenth birthday on September 11th, 1981, he receives an unexpected and unwelcome gift: as his father snaps his picture with a Polaroid, another person's image appears in the photo. Fitzroy, together with his feisty childhood sweetheart, sets out on a voyage to discover this stranger's identity, in a journey that will take him into the darkest past of his own family history and on an epic sea adventure. In order to recover his own identity, he must unearth the forgotten stories of indigenous men, women, and children who were stolen from their homes and paraded around 19th century Europe like circus monkeys. Seamlessly weaving fact and fiction, Darwin's Ghosts is a poignant, mournful cry for those whose travails have been long forgotten, and a lesson in the power of empathy and memory, and the value of forgiveness.
Ariel Dorfman is considered to be one of "the greatest Latin American novelists" (Newsweek) and one of the United States' most important cultural and political voices. Dorfman's numerous works of fiction and nonfiction have been translated into more than thirty languages, including Death and the Maiden, which has been produced in over one hundred countries and made into a film by Roman Polanski. Dorfman has won many international awards, including the Sudamericana Award, the Laurence Olivier, and two from the Kennedy Center. His recent pieces have been published in The New York Times Book Review and The Nation, and Guernica most recently published his short story, "Long Forgotten." He is a distinguished professor at Duke University and lives in Durham, North Carolina.