Set in a Greek village in 1942, and purportedly written from his imagination by a Danish man before he was picked up by the Gestapo and not seen again, here is Ariel Dorfman’s haunting and universal parable of individual courage in the face of political oppression. Widows forms a testament to the disappeared—those living under totalitarian regimes the world over, who are taken away for "questioning" and never return.
One by one, the bodies of men wash up on the shore of the river, where they are claimed by the women of the local town as husbands and fathers, even though the faces of the dead men are unrecognizable. A tug-of-war ensues between the local police, who insist that the women couldn’t possibly recognize their loved ones, and the women demanding the right to bury their beloveds. As it evolves, the stand-off reveals itself to be a power struggle between love, dignity and honor, and the lesser god of brute force. A lesson in how power really works, and how it can be made to work differently.
About the Author
Chilean-American author and human rights activist Ariel Dorfman's many internationally acclaimed works of poetry, fiction, and nonfiction include his bestselling memoir, Heading South, Looking North, which was the basis for the documentary film A Promise to the Dead, directed by Peter Raymont and shortlisted for the Oscars in 2008. His play Death and the Maiden, staged in over 100 countries, was made into a feature film by Roman Polanski. Dorfman is a frequent contributor to the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Washington Post, New York Times Book Review, and Huffington Post. He is Walter Hines Page professor of literature and Latin American studies at Duke University, and his numerous international honors include his delivery of the Mandela Lecture in Johannesburg in 2010.
Stephen Kessler is the author of eight previous books and chapbooks of original poetry, fourteen books of literary translation, a collection of essays, MOVING TARGETS, and a novel. He was a founding editor and publisher of Alcatraz, an international journal, and The Sun, a Santa Cruz newsweekly, among other periodicals and independent publishing ventures. He received a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship and a Lambda Literary Award for his translation of WRITTEN IN WATER: THE COLLECTED PROSE POEMS of Luis Cernuda, is a four-time winner of the California Library Association's PR Excellence Award for The Redwood Coast Review, the quarterly literary newspaper he founded and has edited since 1999, and was principal translator of The Sonnets by Jorge Luis Borges.