Trauma, Memory and Identity in Five Jewish Novels from the Southern Cone

Trauma, Memory and Identity in Five Jewish Novels from the Southern Cone

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The Jewish presence in Latin America is a recent chapter in Jewish history that has produced a remarkable body of literature that gives voice to the fascinating experience of Jews in Latin American lands. This book explores the complexity of Jewish identity in Latin America through the fictional Jewish characters of five novels written by Jewish authors from the Southern Cone: Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Paraguay and Uruguay. It examines how trauma and memory have profound effects on shaping the identity of these Jewish characters who have to forge a new identity as they begin to interact with the Latin American societies of their newly adopted homes. The first three novels present stories narrated by the first generation of immigrants who arrived in Latin American lands escaping pogroms in Russia, and the increasing persecution and anti-Semitism in Europe, in the decades prior to World War II. The fourth novel analyses the identity conflicts experienced by a second generation Latin American born Jew who questions his Jewish, questions of assimilation and integration in to his society. The last novel closes this study with the existential crisis experienced by a perfectly assimilated non-religious Jew, who enquires about his Jewishness and compares himself to other Jews around him.show more

Product details

  • Hardback | 202 pages
  • 157.48 x 231.14 x 22.86mm | 453.59g
  • Lexington Books
  • Lanham, MD, United States
  • English
  • New.
  • 0739172972
  • 9780739172971
  • 2,113,479

About Debora Cordeiro Rosa

Debora Cordeiro Rosa was born in Sao Paulo, Brazil and has been living in the United States since 1998. She got her Ph.D. in Latin American Literature at Florida State University in 2005 and is an Assistant Professor at the Department of Modern Languages at University of Central Florida in Orlando.show more

Review quote

In Trauma, Memory and Identity in Five Jewish Novels from the Southern Cone, Debora Cordeiro Rosa eloquently analyzes crucial aspects of the main historical stages of Jewish identity construction in Latin America. She discusses five well-chosen novels by Teresa Porzecanski (Uruguay), Sonia Guralnik (Chile), Susana Gertopan (Paraguay), Francisco Dzialovsky (Brazil), and Marcelo Birmajer (Argentina) who depict three generations of immigrants from the 1920's to the 1990's. These immigrants struggle with the desire, resistance and difficulty to leave behind trauma and memory in the process of identity negotiation. This book takes the challenge and succeeds in spelling out the personal struggles of Jewish immigrants with their new 'foreign' status. It does an excellent job of explaining key aspects of the immigrant's experience as they are portrayed in Latin American literature. It delves into the history of immigration to the Southern Cone and Brazil, it questions what it means to be a Jew, the concept of Home, the importance of language in group identity, and the problems of assimilation and acculturation, among other issues. Trauma, Memory and Identity is a must-read book for students and scholars who are interested in Immigration, Identity and Diaspora in Latin America. -- Ariana Huberman, Haverford College Among recent studies of Latin American Jewish writing, Debora Cordeiro-Rosa's Trauma, Memory and Identity in Five Jewish Novels from the Southern Cone especially stands out for its emphasis on works set in the early decades of the twentieth century, when South American Jewish communities were full of freshly arrived immigrants still trying to absorb the shock of persecution, displacement, and immigration while resourcefully adapting their Jewish identities to life in the New World. Cordeiro-Rosa explores the cultural production of the scarcely-known Jewish community of Paraguay along with writing from such established centers of Jewish life as Buenos Aires. The study offers both a general informative overview of Latin American Jewish social and cultural history and literature and detailed analyses of five novels chosen to represent the countries of the Southern Cone of South America. -- Naomi Lindstrom, University of Texas at Austin Cordeiro Rosa (Univ. of Central Florida, Orlando) introduces nonspecialists to the topic of Jewish Latin American identity, specifically, the experiences of first-, second-, and third-generation Jewish Latin Americans in the Southern Cone during the 20th century. She shows how selected characters in five novels move from trauma and memory to the formation of new identities, with varying success. She describes the difficulties of the first-generation immigrant in Uruguayan Teresa Porzecanski's Perfumes de Cartago, Chilean Sonia Guralnik's Para siempre en mi memoria, and Paraguayan Susana Gertopan's Barrio Palestina. In the fourth novel, Brazilian Francisco Dzialovsky's O Terceiro Testamento, Cordeiro Rosa tells of a second-generation youth who feels more Brazilian than his parents (concentration-camp survivors) but still faces personal issues of integration. In the fifth novel, Argentine Marcelo Birmajer's No tan distinto, the author relates how a third-generation Jew experiences identity conflicts different from those of previous generations and questions the meaning and nature of his own Jewishness. The novels are well chosen, illustrating the inherent tension between cultural integrity and assimilation...the novels and their subject matter are interesting, and the book is accessible. Summing Up: Recommended. CHOICEshow more

Table of contents

Introduction Chapter1: History of Immigration to the Southern Cone Countries Argentina Brazil Chile Paraguay Uruguay Chapter 2: Perfumes de Cartago by Teresa Porzecanski - Uruguay Chapter 3: Para siempre en mi memoria by Sonia Guralnik - Chile Chapter 4: Barrio Palestina by Susana Gertopan - Paraguay Chapter 5: O Terceiro Testamento by Francisco Dzialovsky - Brazil Chapter 6: No tan distinto by Marcelo Birmajer - Argentina Conclusionshow more