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Heading South, Looking North: A Bilingual Journey Paperback – May 1, 1999
"My Father, the Pornographer" by Fang Lizhi
A son tries to understand his late father, by reading the 400-plus novels left to him in his father's will. Check out "My Father, the Pornographer".
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From Publishers Weekly
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top Customer Reviews
But, apart from being a passionate meditation on the virtues and 'ravages' of bilingualism, "Heading south, looking north" is a corageous book full of the ironies that make up life and a hymn to the Allende revolution in Chile. There is much to be gained from his soul searching, much to be learned from his criticism of the revolution that he loves so much (yes, I think it's appropriate to use the present tense), and, above all, much to be admired from this singular journey. I highly recommend this book.
Rather than tell his story chronologically, Dorfman works from a repertoire of pivotal moments. He has asked himself, when and why did I first start using English? When did I begin to write? When did I embrace the philosophy of non-violence? He then describes these episodes in detail, and speculates and philosophizes on them. The story of Dorfman's political activities in Chile and what happened to him during the coup constitute about half of the book, with these political chapters alternating with chapters about the other significant events in his life. The bouncing back-and-forth between time periods moves almost smoothly, like the thought patterns of an insomniac reflecting back at the end of a busy day.
I found many aspects of this book quite interesting. The first-person account of bilingualism, and its ties to a conflicted identity were described very clearly. The inside perspective on the Allende regime and its fall was also informative.Read more ›
Contrary to the misrepresentation of earlier reviewers, Dorfman does mention Borges (three times, all with respect), criticizes Castro as well as Pinochet (though Chile is a place to which he gave his heart and soul), and is not just aware, but explicit that it is ironic "I should have become a spokesperson for the poor in Latin America because I had spent so many years in the rich North" and of the recurrent ironies that the connections of his marxist father got them out of harm's way.
This is a very honest, un-narcissistic account of an interesting life of multiple exiles, observing failures of democracies, making clear the different selves that emerge in different languages. I would have liked more on the second American exile and assenting to bilingualism, and I regret that the hardback cover composition was replaced by the duller, less bicultural one on the paperback.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I was moved by this tale of identity formation and acclimation to new lands and cultures, beautifully written (although with some repetition). Read morePublished 21 months ago by Andrew D. Oram
The prose is beautiful, even as the author takes a courageous, critical look at his two homes. He celebrates the gifts (especially of language) that each has given him. Read morePublished on December 9, 2011 by Another booklover
Ariel Dorfman's Death and the Maiden helped me learn some new Spanish words, soak in Chile, Chilito, pisco sour... Read morePublished on June 25, 2006 by An Mhuruch
While Mr. Dorfman's experience of crossing cultures and language during a high profile time in Chilian and American history is poinent, it is not unique or objective. Read morePublished on February 21, 2002 by Harriet Cannon
I struggled through most of this shallow and narrow book before giving it up. A traditionalist in the sense that he follows in his father`s footsteps, Dorfman adheres to the most... Read morePublished on October 17, 2000 by Joe Blow
I struggled through most of this shallow and narrow book before giving it up. A traditionalist in the sense that he follows in his fathers footsteps, Dorfman adheres to the most... Read morePublished on October 17, 2000 by Joe Blow
I'm sorry, but after 3 attempts, I couldn't finish this self-indulgent tome.Published on January 25, 2000
This is the kind of book I thought I'd enjoy. A memoir by Ariel Dorfman, the novelist, the exile, living now with his family in Durham, North Carolina, where he holds the Walter... Read morePublished on September 17, 1999 by ZZR-RR