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Death and the Maiden Paperback – December 1, 1994


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Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

This powerful political drama and psychological thriller by the noted Chilean writer premiered in London last summer, where it won the Time Out Award for Best Play. In March it opened in the United States on Broadway, with direction by Mike Nichols and starring Glenn Close, Richard Dreyfuss, and Gene Hackman. The play focuses on a woman who finds herself in the position to exact revenge upon a man whom she believes to have been her torturer 15 years earlier. In telling this story, the author also addresses the dilemmas which touch all our lives: innocence and evil, truth and lies, forgiveness, and revenge. This is a worthwhile addition to modern drama collections.
- Howard E. Miller, Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Missouri Lib., St. Louis
Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Language Notes

Text: English (translation)
Original Language: Spanish --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 96 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Books; Reprint edition (December 1, 1994)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0140246843
  • ISBN-13: 978-0140246841
  • Product Dimensions: 5.1 x 0.3 x 7.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #53,853 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

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52 of 54 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on March 28, 1997
Format: Paperback
Thousands of Chilean citizens are said to have "disappeared" during the regime of General Augusto Pinochet, who reigned from 1973-1990. Though not specifically set in Chile, DEATH AND THE MAIDEN is about learning to live again in the aftermath of such an era.

Gerardo Escobar has just been named to a commission that will investigate human rights cases against the old government that ended in death (or the presumption of death). His wife, Paulina, was victimized herself fifteen years earlier, and still has not recovered from the trauma. Now she believes Roberto Miranda, the good Samaritan who came to Gerardo's aid on the road when he had a flat tire, is the same doctor who oversaw her torture years ago, and since there is no hope of gaining justice from the courts, she decides to put Dr. Miranda "on trial" herself.

Playwright Ariel Dorfman pits his characters' heads against their hearts, and the result is a play that is as exciting intellectually as it is emotionally. They are forced to try to answer the kinds of questions with which human beings prefer never to be faced.

How can we be sure of our own ideals? How can we escape our demons when they surround us every day? How can there be justice if the criminal is never punished?

How can we ever learn to forgive, and NEVER learn to forget?
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By H2Steacher on December 7, 2007
Format: Paperback
I recently re-read this play after watching the DVD (which, though very good, does not do the book justice IMO). Upon my second reading, I re-discovered what had made this book so appealing to me in the first place: Dorfman does not let the Reader have any easy answers. Throughout the course of the play, the Reader grapples with questions of power, of justice, of redemption, of truth. Each individual Reader must determine for him/herself the answers to the questions which Dorfman's characters posit. It's precisely this ambiguity and involvement of the Reader that make this little book a masterpiece, a work of literature which one won't soon forget.
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4 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Melissa Niksic VINE VOICE on April 7, 2004
Format: Paperback
Ariel Dorfman was a Chilean exile who feared that he might "disappear" if he attempted to live and work under the Pinochet dictatorship. "Death and the Maiden" is a sort of autobiography for Dorfman. The play centers around the character of Paulina, a woman who ultimately kidnaps the man she suspects of holding her prisoner and presiding over her torture and rape many years ago. It's a suspenseful play that tackles the issues of justice and retribution, but it also has elements of suspense and mystery: is Dr. Miranda really the person that Paulina thinks he is? This is an excellent play that's fairly well-known, yet it's hardly ever staged for some reason, which is a shame. (Note: Never, EVER subject yourself to the Sigourney Weaver/Ben Kingsley movie version. It is so awful.)
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Format: Paperback
In the play Death and the Maiden there is a question of guilty or not guilty? Should we have excessive truth and knowledge, or should we be shielded from knowing too much??? The play doesn't ever answer these questions, but it does make us think about them. It's a wonderful book that places you in the supposed position of judge and jury. You only know what the characters tell you, so you have no real answer to is he guilty of the crime or is Paulina over the edge???
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By Student Teacher on October 11, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I thought it was a powerful read. This is a play about a victim who thinks she has met her torturer. The trauma, drama and storytelling was so intense that I couldn't put it down.
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By Rebecca Maxa on May 30, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I had to get this book for an online World Literature course on African, South American and Asian country- based authors. Definitely a must-read, and I suggest reading this before seeing any other adaptation like the Sigourney Weaver performance or Glenn Close performance.
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