Book//mark - My Fathers' Ghost Is Climbing in the Rain | Patricio Pron, 2011

^ Patricio Pron, My Fathers' Ghost Is Climbing in the Rain, 2011                                                                           Patricio Pron


 "Nobody had fought, we all had lost and barely anyone had stayed true to what they believed,
 whatever that was, I thought; my father's generation had been different, but once again, there 
was something in the difference that was also a meeting point, a thread that went through the 
years and brought us together in spite of everything and was horrifically Argentine: the 
feeling of parents and children being united in defeat."

"I understood for the first time that all the children of young Argentines in the 1970s were going 
to have to solve our parents’ pasts, like detectives, and what we would find out was going to seem 
like a mystery novel we wished we’d never bought. But I also realized that there was no way 
of telling my father’s story as a mystery or, more precisely, that telling it in such a way would 
betray his intentions and his struggles, since telling his story as a detective tale would merely
 confirm the existence of a genre, which is to say, a convention, and all of his efforts were meant 
to call into question those very social conventions and their pale reflection in literature."

“You don't ever want to know certain things, because what you know belongs to you,
 and there are certain things you never want to own.”

"I wondered what my generation could offer that could match the exuberant desperation and thirst
 for justice of the preceding generation, our parents'. wasn't it a terrible ethical imperative that
 generation unintentionally imposed on us? how do you kill your father if he's already dead and, 
in many cases, died defending an idea that seems noble even if its execution was remiss or 
clumsy or wrong-headed? how else could we measure up if not by doing as they did, fighting a
 senseless war that was lost before it began and marching into slaughter to the sacrificial chants 
of disaffected youth, arrogant and impotent and stupid, marching to the brink of civil war against 
the forces of the repressive machinery of a country that, in essence, is and always has been
 conservative?

"What must the novel my father wanted to write have been like? Brief, composed of fragments, 
with holes where my father couldn't or didn't want to remember something, filled with symmetries—
stories duplicating themselves over and over again as if they were an ink stain on an assiduously
 folded piece of paper, a simple theme repeated as in a symphony or a fool's monologue—and 
sadder than Fathers' Day at an orphanage."

“I’d seen enough mystery novels already and would see many more in the future. Telling this 
story from the perspective of genre would be illegitimate. To begin with, the individual crime was 
less important than the social crime, but social crime couldn’t be told through the artifice of a 
detective novel; it needed a narrative in the shape of an enormous frieze or with the appearance 
of an intimate personal story that held something back, a piece of an unfinished puzzle that would 
force the reader to look for adjacent pieces and then keep looking until the image became clear.
 Furthermore, the resolution of most detective stories is condescending, no matter how ruthless the
 plotting, so that the reader, once the loose ends are tied up and the guilty finally punished, can 
return to the real world with the conviction that crimes get solved and remain locked between 
the covers of a book, that the world outside the book is guided by the same principles of justice 
as the tale told inside and should not be questioned.”

"As I thought all this standing beside the telephone, I noticed it had started to rain again, and I 
told myself I would write that story because what my parents and their comrades had done
 didn't deserve to be forgotten, and because I was the product of what they had done, and because 
what they'd done was worthy of being told because their ghost—not the right or wrong decisions 
my parents and their comrades had made but their spirit itself—was going to keep climbing in 
the rain until it took the heavens by storm."


Patricio Pron, My Fathers' Ghost Is Climbing in the Rain, 2011

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