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The Will to Heal

Psychological Recovery in the Novels of Latina Writers

Felicia Lynne Fahey

Publication Year: 2007

For the past three decades, Latin American and Latina women writers have used autobiography, fiction, and a blend of the two genres to address the psychological struggle to heal from both personal and political traumas. Felicia Fahey focuses on six fictional autobiographies as literary representations of psychological recovery: Alina Diaconú's El penúltimo viaje/The penultimate journey (1989), Manuela Fingueret's Hija del silencio/Daughter of Silence (2000), Luisa Valenzuela's La travesía/The Crossing (2001), Sara Sefchovich's Demasiado amor/Too Much Love (1991), Laura Restrepo's Dulce compañía/The Angel of Galilea (1995), and Ana Castillo's The Mixquiahuala Letters (1989).

Published by: University of New Mexico Press

Front Cover

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Title Page

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pp. iii


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pp. iv


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pp. vii

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pp. ix

This book is the result of research, conversations, and writing that occurred in many locations and in the company of various colleagues and friends. I would like to thank Norma Klahn, Lea Fletcher, Anah

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pp. xi-xix

“She took three steps and realized that it hadn’t ended, no: it had just begun.” With these thoughts, the protagonist of Luisa Valenzuela’s novel, La travesía/The Crossing, initiates a painful journey to recover what she would rather forget. Her journey takes her in two directions: she travels back through difficult memories to Buenos Aires, ...

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1: Lifting the Weight of Terror: Disembodiment in Alina Diaconú’s El penúltimo viaje

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pp. 1-24

Published in the aftermath of the Argentine Dirty War (1976–1983), the novels of Alina Diaconú, Manuela Fingueret, and Luisa Valenzuela address both the experience of the dictatorship and the struggle to come to terms with it. Through their novels these authors have participated in the battle over the representation of this recent past—the ...

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2: Surviving Terror: Mourning Loss in Manuela Fingueret’s Hija del silencio

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pp. 25-45

In various ways, the postdictatorship discussion of loss, stagnation,and mourning in Argentina echoes responses to trauma and (in)translatability posed in the aftermath of the Shoah. George Steiner’s claim in 1967 that the Shoah had thoroughly destroyed language and relegated Jews to perpetual silence is not unrelated to Idelber Avelar’s observation ...

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3: Going Home: Returning from Exile in Luisa Valenzuela’s La travesía

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pp. 47-76

Published in the summer of 2001, Luisa Valenzuela’s La travesía narrates one woman’s psychological journey of return to Buenos Aires after living in exile for twenty years. As in the author’s other works, the novel is imaginatively inspired by her lived experiences. Much like the protagonist of La travesía, Valenzuela was one of...

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4: (Un)romancing Mexico: Sexual Healing in Sara Sefchovich’s Demasiado amor

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pp. 77-118

Until recently, Sara Sefchovich, a professor of sociology at the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de Mexico, was known primarily for her academic books, including Ideología y ficción en Luis Spota (1985) and México, país de ideas, país de novelas (1987). Like many other scholars and authors who began to write after the national crisis of ...

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5: Crossing with an Angel: Spiritual Cure in Laura Restrepo’s Dulce compañía

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pp. 119-147

In the last decade, one of the most interesting and underexamined characteristics of Latin American novels authored by women is the recourse to representations of spiritual transformation as a form of personal and collective response to repression and violence.1 As Francine Masiello...

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6: No Way Home: Traumatic Returns in Ana Castillo’s The Mixquiahuala Letters

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pp. 149-172

What is the “homeland” of my relatives? What is my relation-ship to this homeland? What are my cultural roots? In search of a new understanding of the cultural self, in the mid-1980s and 1990s, Chicana authors began posing these questions in their literature. Mixing autobiography and fiction, they have explored the personal ...

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pp. 173-176

Throughout writing this book, I have been keenly aware of the geographical, cultural, and temporal distances that separate the authors and their novels. For these authors write from and about countries— Mexico, Colombia, Argentina, and...


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pp. 177-193


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pp. 195-207


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pp. 209-212

Back Cover

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E-ISBN-13: 9780826328564
E-ISBN-10: 0826328563
Print-ISBN-13: 9780826328557
Print-ISBN-10: 0826328555

Page Count: 232
Publication Year: 2007