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Book Title: Victor|
The author of the book: Joan Jara
ISBN 13: 9780747539940
Edition: Bloomsbury Publishing PLC
Date of issue: September 10th 1998
Format files: PDF
The size of the: 919 KB
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Reader ratings: 4.2
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The torture and murder of singer Victor Jara in the wake of the September 1973 military coup that overthrew the elected government of Salvador Allende encapsulates the brutal, fascistic, and murderous nature of that event in history. Joan Jara tells her husband's life story in An Unfinished Song: The Life of Victor Jara . Knowing the obscene way that he and hundreds of others perished, it is hard to read the last quarter of the book.
Victor Jara was no flash-in-the-pan celebrity. His songwriting and music came from the deepest part of himself and was an expression of his Mapuche and Chilean heritage. He was inspired by the physical geography of Chile and by the stories of its poorest citizens. He sang about a homeless youth ("Luchin"), a massacre of landless peasants ("Questions about Puerto Montt"), and wrote a gorgeous song about his mother ("I remember you, Amanda"). A song that he wrote about Che Guevara in Bolivia ("The Apparition") vividly evokes a man fleeing from those hunting him and finding no place to hide. His songs live on today, not only in the repertoire of others from the New Chile Song Movement such as Quilapayun and Inti-Illimani, but also to later generations. A search of YouTube shows that his songs are still being covered.
Joan Jara's story is probably the most complete biography of Victor Jara in English. The book was published in 1984 and her narrative voice is somewhat dated, though very representative of the time. For example, it's hard not to regret the naivety of those who disdained the Frei government for its incremental approach to land reform. Didn't they understand the immense power of the oligarchy to mobilize international opposition in the form of the United States? However, I remember the sense of urgency of that time and an international sense of optimism among youth that centuries of oppression could be overturned in a few years.
Anyone interested in Chilean political history or the New Chilean Song Movement will find this book interesting, but the impending doom described in its later pages is difficult to get through.
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