Between 1976 and 1983, the military dictatorship in Argentina instituted state terror. According to the Mothers of the Plaza de Mayo, who bravely began demonstrating in the midst of the “dirty war”, 30,000 of their children were disappeared. Along with the Mothers came the Grandmothers of the Plaza de Mayo, whose specific aim was to locate the babies taken from so-called “subversive” mothers and given up for adoption, many to the military. Some babies were snatched from mothers by midwives just before the inevitable arrest and handed on to parents desperate for a child.
The narrator of Julián Fuks’s intense and hypnotic autofiction has an adopted brother who may have come into the family in this dramatic way. The stories their parents tell, despite the fact that both of them are psychoanalytic psychiatrists, never quite seem to satisfy the younger brother’s search for an answer to his brother’s origins as well as to his tangible difference. Like his older sister, the narrator was born once the parents – warned by a tortured colleague that arrest was imminent – had already escaped and settled in Brazil.