Something Fierce: Memoirs of a Revolutionary Daughter

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Something Fierce: Memoirs of a Revolutionary Daughter

by Carmen Aguirre

Douglas And McIntyre (2013) Ltd. | April 18, 2011 | Hardcover

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A Canada Reads 2012: True Stories Contender and long-listed for the Charles Taylor Prize for Literary Non-Fiction.

A gripping, darkly comic first-hand account of a young underground revolutionary during the Pinochet dictatorship in 1980s Chile.

On September 11, 1973, a violent coup removed Salvador Allende, the democratically elected socialist president of Chile, from office. Thousands were arrested, tortured and killed under General Augusto Pinochet''s repressive new regime. Soon after the coup, six-year-old Carmen Aguirre and her younger sister fled the country with their parents for Canada and a life in exile.

In 1978, the Chilean resistance issued a call for exiled activists to return to Latin America. Most women sent their children to live with relatives or with supporters in Cuba, but Carmen''s mother kept her precious girls with her. As their mother and stepfather set up a safe house for resistance members in La Paz, Bolivia, the girls'' own double lives began. At eighteen, Carmen herself joined the resistance. With conventional day jobs as a cover, she and her new husband moved to Argentina to begin a dangerous new life of their own.

This dramatic, darkly funny narrative, which covers the eventful decade from 1979 to 1989, takes the reader inside war-ridden Peru, dictatorship-run Bolivia, post-Malvinas Argentina and Pinochet''s Chile. Writing with passion and deep personal insight, Carmen captures her constant struggle to reconcile her commitment to the movement with the desires of her youth and her budding sexuality. Something Fierce is a gripping story of love, war and resistance and a rare first-hand account of revolutionary life.

Format: Hardcover

Dimensions: 288 pages, 3.54 × 2.36 × 0.55 in

Published: April 18, 2011

Publisher: Douglas And McIntyre (2013) Ltd.

Language: English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10: 1553654625

ISBN - 13: 9781553654629

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– More About This Product –

Something Fierce: Memoirs of a Revolutionary Daughter

by Carmen Aguirre

Format: Hardcover

Dimensions: 288 pages, 3.54 × 2.36 × 0.55 in

Published: April 18, 2011

Publisher: Douglas And McIntyre (2013) Ltd.

Language: English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10: 1553654625

ISBN - 13: 9781553654629

Read from the Book

"It was a warm afternoon in Miraflores, an upscale neighbourhood of Lima, the day I took the resistance oath: ''I am committed to giving my life to the cause. I will die for the cause if need be. From here on in, my entire life is dedicated to the cause, which takes precedence over everything else. If I am captured by the enemy, I vow not to give any information away, even if that means being tortured to death. If I realize I am going to break under torture, I will hang on to any information I have for the first twenty-four hours of my capture, so as to give my comrades time to hide. If I give my comrades away within the first twenty-four hours, I will be executed by the organization. I will always follow the orders of my superiors. I will never speak of the organization or of my involvement in it to anybody.'' "Esteban and Rafael peered at me from across the table. Esteban''s nails were crooked from torture. Rafael''s arms bore scars from bullet wounds. As they nodded in approval at my words, a bomb went off a block away. My knees hit the table so hard our papaya milkshakes almost went flying. I glanced around. The Indian-blooded waiters in their starched jackets kept whistling as they wiped down tables and counters. The necking teenage couple beside us necked harder. I heard military boots behind me, running past the open door of the cafe. Esteban and Rafael didn''t move a muscle. They were big fish. I was a mere tadpole. But even though my knees kept trembling, causing our
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Table of Contents

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From the Publisher

A Canada Reads 2012: True Stories Contender and long-listed for the Charles Taylor Prize for Literary Non-Fiction.

A gripping, darkly comic first-hand account of a young underground revolutionary during the Pinochet dictatorship in 1980s Chile.

On September 11, 1973, a violent coup removed Salvador Allende, the democratically elected socialist president of Chile, from office. Thousands were arrested, tortured and killed under General Augusto Pinochet''s repressive new regime. Soon after the coup, six-year-old Carmen Aguirre and her younger sister fled the country with their parents for Canada and a life in exile.

In 1978, the Chilean resistance issued a call for exiled activists to return to Latin America. Most women sent their children to live with relatives or with supporters in Cuba, but Carmen''s mother kept her precious girls with her. As their mother and stepfather set up a safe house for resistance members in La Paz, Bolivia, the girls'' own double lives began. At eighteen, Carmen herself joined the resistance. With conventional day jobs as a cover, she and her new husband moved to Argentina to begin a dangerous new life of their own.

This dramatic, darkly funny narrative, which covers the eventful decade from 1979 to 1989, takes the reader inside war-ridden Peru, dictatorship-run Bolivia, post-Malvinas Argentina and Pinochet''s Chile. Writing with passion and deep personal insight, Carmen captures her constant struggle to reconcile her commitment to the movement with the desires of her youth and her budding sexuality. Something Fierce is a gripping story of love, war and resistance and a rare first-hand account of revolutionary life.

From the Jacket

[back cover] "This extraordinary book is four texts in one: a hilarious, pelvis-rocking story of a young girl on an impassioned journey into womanhood, a harrowing testament to the physical and mental labours involved in underground revolutionary work, a history of a Latin America ravaged by dictatorship and neoliberal economics and a deeply loving memoir of a family."-Karen Connelly, author of Burmese Lessons "A moving, heart-racing journey through the political landscape of South America during the 1970s and 1980s, told by a brave daughter of the Chilean resistance. Something Fierce is an inspiration to anyone who strives to live a life of passion and purpose."-Camilla Gibb, author of The Beauty of Humanity Movement "Something Fierce is energetic, funny and dark, thoughtful and moving, told from the perspective of a girl growing into womanhood in a household where to be in the resistance was always to be poised between life and death."-Myrna Kostash, author of Prodigal Daughter "This extraordinary memoir is long overdue. I recommend it to everyone who loves life and needs to know what some give up so life is possible."-Margaret Randall, author of To Change the World: My Years in Cuba barcode isbn 978-1-55365-462-9

About the Author

Carmen Aguirre is a Vancouver-based writer and theatre artist who has worked extensively in North and South America. She has written or co-written eighteen plays, including The Refugee Hotel, which was nominated for a Dora Mavor Moore Award for best new play in 2010. Something Fierce is her first book.

Editorial Reviews

"Aguirre has crafted a narrative packed with suspense, emotion, and dollops of sardonic humour."" Quill & Quire ""[Carmen Aguirre's] life has been anything but regular, and she seamlessly and eloquently tells her early life story in her first book."" Rabble.ca [Carmen Aguirre's] story is the personal experience of a brave young woman evolving her understanding of herself and her place in the world, told with passion, personal insight, rich detail and humour...Something Fierce is raw, courageously honest and funny; an insightful journey into the formation of a revolutionary soul. Globe & Mail ""A coming-of-age story that blends birthday parties and puppy love with indoctrination in the tradecraft of subversion: how to arrange the delivery of secret documents, how to lose a police tail, how to lead a double life."" Toronto Star ""Carmen writes like someone who knows how it feels to exhale with no certainty that another breath will follow...The stories that fill this book feel like the stories of several lives, not the adventurous, exhilarating and harrowing adolescence and early adulthood of one extraordinary person."" National Post ""The years of [Carmen Aguirre's] tumultuous teens are evocatively detailed in her first book, Something Fierce, a new memoir that illuminates what it’s like to come of age amid terror. What it is most certainly not is a political treatise or a book about heroism or martyrdom. What you get is a brutally honest and wryly funny story, told through the
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