Published in 2000, Ronald Flores's Último silencio has yet to captivate a critical audience even though it was awarded the Premio Mario Monteforte Toledo. The novel recounts the return of a psychiatrist who had fled to the United States during the thick of the Guatemalan Civil War, where he earned accolades for his treatment of torture victims. Back home, he sets up a clinic to help the victims of the war. His plans, however, are complicated when he unintentionally secures a notorious military leader known for committing atrocities as a client. In a fast-paced and polyphonic style, Flores explores the ethics of culpability, the concept of evil, and the politics of human rights and justice in post-war Guatemala. Of interest to me in the discursive and thematic trajectory of the novel is the mapping of these concepts onto the space of the city and nation. Basing my analysis on ideas by Ileana Rodríguez, Jean Franco, and Edward Weisband, the following pages trace the relationship between cartography, ethics, and human rights in Último silencio. Ultimately, I argue that the novel is only capable of arriving at a just conclusion through a spatial displacement away from the city and the crafting of a counterhegemonic, counterpublic sphere.


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pp. 93-115
Launched on MUSE
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