Help my partner identify a novel she read in South America.
September 2, 2013 7:11 AM   Subscribe

My partner read a novel a few years ago at a book exchange in a hostel. Here's what she remembers:
  • About a family (a father, son, and daughter-in-law) who are taken by the secret police of a fictional South American dictatorship (a stand in for an unnamed Argentina or Chile). The characters are tortured, and the novel focuses on their psychological recovery afterwards. The woman might be pregnant.
  • She read it in English, but it may have been a translation.
  • The title was some word that she thinks translated as "fish" or "sea god" or something similar. She thinks it maybe began with "P," but she's not sure.

posted by HeroZero to Media & Arts (5 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
This description kind of reminds me of Death and the Maiden, which is a play, but has similar.
posted by superlibby at 10:38 AM on September 2, 2013

Could it have been a novel by Isabel Allende? The plot sounds familiar but I couldn't say which novel it would be.
posted by iamsuper at 11:44 AM on September 2, 2013

The part about being taken and tortured by secret police sounds like The House of the Spirits which is by Isabel Allende. The overall plot of the novel is the saga of the Trueba family. It's a good book that was made into a terrible movie. (Death and the Maiden is a good play that was made into a pretty decent movie.)
posted by Aquifer at 4:35 PM on September 2, 2013

I was also thinking House of the Spirits. Either way, it's a great book indeed. Allende also wrote an autobiographical novel called Paula (written for and named after her dying daughter) that follows some of the same plot as House of the Spirits.
posted by urbanlenny at 6:07 AM on September 3, 2013

Response by poster: Thanks all, but unfortunately no -- my partner assures me that the author is someone much less well known than Allende or Ariel Dorfman, hence the difficulty in remembering the novel.
posted by HeroZero at 5:44 AM on September 4, 2013

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