Cover image for Amigas : letters of friendship and exile
Title:
Amigas : letters of friendship and exile
Author:
Agosín, Marjorie.
Personal Author:
Edition:
First edition.
Publication Information:
Austin : University of Texas Press, 2001.
Physical Description:
xvi, 180 pages : illustrations ; 24 cm.
Language:
English
ISBN:
9780292705050

9780292705067
Format :
Book

Available:*

Library
Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Status
Central Library PQ8098.1.G6 Z486 2001 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks
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Summary

Summary

This collection of letters chronicles a remarkable, long-term friendship between two women who, despite differences of religion and ethnicity, have followed remarkably parallel paths from their first adolescent meeting in their native Chile to their current lives in exile as writers, academics, and political activists in the United States. Spanning more than thirty years (1966-2000), Agosín's and Sepúlveda's letters speak eloquently on themes that are at once personal and political--family life and patriarchy, women's roles, the loneliness of being a religious or cultural outsider, political turmoil in Chile, and the experience of exile.


Summary

This collection of letters chronicles a remarkable, long-term friendship between two women who, despite differences of religion and ethnicity, have followed remarkably parallel paths from their first adolescent meeting in their native Chile to their current lives in exile as writers, academics, and political activists in the United States. Spanning more than thirty years (1966-2000), Agos#65533;n's and Sep#65533;lveda's letters speak eloquently on themes that are at once personal and political--family life and patriarchy, women's roles, the loneliness of being a religious or cultural outsider, political turmoil in Chile, and the experience of exile.


Author Notes

Marjorie Agosin was born in Bethesda, Maryland, in 1955. She has written many books of poetry and fiction. Her childhood and early adolescence were spent with her Jewish family in Chile, where her family also participated in the dominant Catholic culture. The young Agosin became keenly aware of her dual identity in her country, both as a participant and as an outsider. The overthrow of Salvador Allende forced her family to immigrate to Athens, Georgia, where she was then ostracized as an emigrant.

She is a professor of Spanish at Wellesley College. The poet's current residence is in New England.

(Bowker Author Biography)


Marjorie Agosin was born in Bethesda, Maryland, in 1955. She has written many books of poetry and fiction. Her childhood and early adolescence were spent with her Jewish family in Chile, where her family also participated in the dominant Catholic culture. The young Agosin became keenly aware of her dual identity in her country, both as a participant and as an outsider. The overthrow of Salvador Allende forced her family to immigrate to Athens, Georgia, where she was then ostracized as an emigrant.

She is a professor of Spanish at Wellesley College. The poet's current residence is in New England.

(Bowker Author Biography)


Reviews 4

Library Journal Review

Good friends who were exiled to the United States at the start of General Augusto Pinochet's dictatorship in 1973, poet Agos!n (Spanish, Wellesley Coll.) and journalist Sep#lveda (foreign languages and literature, Univ. of Nevada) have created a kind of memoir by compiling their 35-year-long correspondence. The collection moves from the trials and tribulations of their adolescence in Chile Sep#lveda was brought up in an oppressive Italian Catholic household, and Agos!n battled with discrimination as a Russian Jew to the terror of their fellow Chileans during Pinochet's overthrow of Allende, the most gripping part of the collection. Once they settled in the United States, the letters address the need to start from scratch in an entirely new language and culture. Throughout, the authors manage to weave in compelling vignettes about current Latin American politics, feelings of alienation, racism, the ironies of democracy, and the hollowness of academia. Though at times the later letters are pedestrian (especially when the women are writing about their jobs, marriages, and kids), in context, it is obvious that the authors are still trying to recover from leaving an entire world behind. As Agos!n writes, "It was the country that saw us grow and gave us words, but also gave us silence." Recommended for both women's studies and Latin American studies collections. Adriana Lopez, "Cr!ticas" (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.


Choice Review

The childhood reminiscences in these letters come across as well-crafted feminist writings based on personal experiences with problems typically considered women's issues--spousal and child abuse and abortion--and with problems that transcend gender (prejudice). In her introduction Agosin states: "We do not want this book to be a record of our personal afflictions. Rather we present it as a history shared by thousands of others of our generation ... of those from the Southern Hemisphere who were forced into exile for the crime of being young and wanting to change the world." Although many of the letters reflect simply the daily life of ordinary people, the underlying theme of difference is always present: How can a Jewish girl and a Christian girl be friends? How does this difference shape these two women in the face of their shared cultural heritage as Latin Americans? As the two women come of age later in the 20th century, each becomes more politically and socially aware, although they had always questioned the rigidity of their society from the beginning of their friendship. An excellent introduction to many of the issues covered in Latin American and women's studies courses, this volume will be valuable supplementary reading for undergraduates and appreciated in general collections. T. R. Arrington Blue Mountain College


Library Journal Review

Good friends who were exiled to the United States at the start of General Augusto Pinochet's dictatorship in 1973, poet Agos!n (Spanish, Wellesley Coll.) and journalist Sep#lveda (foreign languages and literature, Univ. of Nevada) have created a kind of memoir by compiling their 35-year-long correspondence. The collection moves from the trials and tribulations of their adolescence in Chile Sep#lveda was brought up in an oppressive Italian Catholic household, and Agos!n battled with discrimination as a Russian Jew to the terror of their fellow Chileans during Pinochet's overthrow of Allende, the most gripping part of the collection. Once they settled in the United States, the letters address the need to start from scratch in an entirely new language and culture. Throughout, the authors manage to weave in compelling vignettes about current Latin American politics, feelings of alienation, racism, the ironies of democracy, and the hollowness of academia. Though at times the later letters are pedestrian (especially when the women are writing about their jobs, marriages, and kids), in context, it is obvious that the authors are still trying to recover from leaving an entire world behind. As Agos!n writes, "It was the country that saw us grow and gave us words, but also gave us silence." Recommended for both women's studies and Latin American studies collections. Adriana Lopez, "Cr!ticas" (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.


Choice Review

The childhood reminiscences in these letters come across as well-crafted feminist writings based on personal experiences with problems typically considered women's issues--spousal and child abuse and abortion--and with problems that transcend gender (prejudice). In her introduction Agosin states: "We do not want this book to be a record of our personal afflictions. Rather we present it as a history shared by thousands of others of our generation ... of those from the Southern Hemisphere who were forced into exile for the crime of being young and wanting to change the world." Although many of the letters reflect simply the daily life of ordinary people, the underlying theme of difference is always present: How can a Jewish girl and a Christian girl be friends? How does this difference shape these two women in the face of their shared cultural heritage as Latin Americans? As the two women come of age later in the 20th century, each becomes more politically and socially aware, although they had always questioned the rigidity of their society from the beginning of their friendship. An excellent introduction to many of the issues covered in Latin American and women's studies courses, this volume will be valuable supplementary reading for undergraduates and appreciated in general collections. T. R. Arrington Blue Mountain College


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