Anonymous Posted January 19, 2002
Arturo von Vacano, the lone representative author of Bolivia translated into English in
Avon/Bard's now classic series of Latin American fiction, presents us with a grippingly personal
account of one of the central themes of Latin America in the past century -- the individual's
struggle for free expression in the face of a brutal military regime. Von Vacano blends allegory,
poetry, surrealism, dialogue and narrative into an unconventional and compelling rendering of a
Bolivian journalist's imprisonment for the crime of telling the truth. In the process, he guides us
through a mental journey from the countrysides of Bolivia straight to the heart of 'the Beast,' a
creature of domination that has drained Bolivia, and all of Latin America, of its dignity,
separating rich and poor, Indian and white, military and civilian. The range and depth with which
Von Vacano portrays the protagonist's memories of his family, the stripping of his civil rights, and
his aspirations to be a great novelist are heartfelt and heart wrenching. Yet, as the author warns
us in the prologue, 'This is fiction. It has to be fiction: I am fiction.'
Biting Silence, the English translation of 'Morder el Silencio,' takes on increasing significance as
we enter the next Millennium and watch carefully to see whether 'the Beast' can be transformed
into some semblance of democracy.