THE LAST SONG OF MANUEL SENDERO by Ariel Dorfman

THE LAST SONG OF MANUEL SENDERO

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Chilean novelist Dorfman has, as in Widows (1983), a fondness for choral protagonists on whom he can skirtingly focus his political allegories; and again, he doesn't admit to be writing about Chile. . .but, of course, is--an unnamed land of state-terror and disappearance in which, in protest, a large group of fetuses decide they won't get born: there's an alarming rise of ten-and eleven-month pregnancies. Allende, Pinochet, US government intervention, they're all here, mythicized by the narrator, one such unborn fetus. There's a side-bar story as well, concerning two Chilean exiles, Felipe and David, who are friends as well as collaborators on a satirical political comic-strip--and what such professional fantasizing (or sublimation) does or doesn't do for their unease at being away from Chile: the moral ambiguity. Apart from being less than light-handed vis-á-vis works by Sterne, Gunter Grass, and Thomas Kenneally (Passenger)--far better books featuring fetal narrators--Dorfman scuttles his work utterly in waves of rhapsodic and repetitious excess (is this a book that ever saw an editor's desk?). The prose is arch yet swaddling, endlessly reannouncing its themes. At a quarter its length, it might have had a tang: as is, it comes off as derivative and endless at the same time.

Pub Date: Feb. 1st, 1986
Publisher: Viking