Stars: Four

Drinking: Twinings Spicy Chai Tea 

Osvaldo, his family, and their friends think nothing of the coup. They’ve lived through coups before. This one isn’t much different at first…until people start disappearing. When Osvaldo’s daughter Graciela’s fiance is taken, the family is pulled into the drama of the Desaparecidos – the disappeared.

The Guerra Sucia (Dirty War) in Argentina was a 9 year period of military rule. Anyone suspected of being a “subversive” was “disappeared” – taken into clandestine custody, tortured, and usually killed. Although the official Argentine government figure is 13,000, the true number of “disappeared” may never be known.

During this time, pregnant women or women with small children who were “disappeared” had their babies taken from them. These children were then adopted by military or government-supporting Catholic families. An estimated 500 children were taken from their families. Some are only now finding out their true histories.

The Memory Stones follows Osvaldo in exile and his wife Yolanda, still in Buenos Aires, as they search first for Graciela’s fiance, then Graciela, and finally, for the child Graciela was rumored to be carrying when she was arrested. Meanwhile, a young woman struggles to understand why she doesn’t fit into  the perfect life her parents and boyfriend want for her. It is well-written, if at times a bit overly metaphoric.

Heartbreaking, but ultimately hopeful, The Memory Stones explores family, identity, and a part of Argentina’s history that the country would rather forget.

 

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