Cristina Peri Rossi is one of the most acclaimed and personal voices in Hispanic letters. This volume of short stories, Panic Signs, first published in 1970 in Montevideo, Uruguay, presages the atrocities that would come with dictatorship in 1972.
The premonitory dimension is one of the striking characteristics in all the stories — a sense of impending catastrophe, sometimes hallucinatory and often graphic, leads us to undetermined places where the horrors of censorship, torture, and human bondage take place. At the same time, the stories expose the shackles that incapacitate us and deny us the acceptance of ourselves.
This elegy for freedom mourns the loss of liberty and justice while seducing us into questioning what we hold true. The metaphorical procession of images, and the craftsmanship of a narrative that continually engage us, motivate us to explore our own uncertainties and values, and offer an unquestionable opportunity to reassess today’s global conditions. Peri Rossi succeeds in creating a whirlwind of despair and self-discovery, impelling us to assess our own panic signs and so avoid being entrapped by those who hold power over us.
The translation of this powerful text will help English-speaking readers attain a more profound understanding of the complexities of Latin America’s cultural and socio-political issues.
Cristina Peri Rossi's Panic Signs is one of the most original, profound, and moving artistic works of Latin America. It takes the reader into a world like that of Kafka's K, where the brutality of tyranny denies a community all aspects of freedom in the name of social order, so that the reader comes to a resounding denunciation of the denial of civil and human rights. Cristina Peri Rossi envisaged the terror of the Southern Cone countries of Argentina, Chile, and Uruguay in the 1970s and 1980s, but she has written for the world. Every citizen of goodwill who at some time has supported the suspension of civil rights because of a perceived social crisis, and we are legion, must read ``Besieged.'' This story stands along with Kafka's The Trial as a classic for the imaginative configuration of the individual's descent into hell as a victim of the military government's appropriation and grotesque distortion of the concepts of law and justice. ``Besieged'' is a magnificent example of an artistic response to the rape of a community. Mercedes Rowinsky-Geurts and Angelo A. BorrÃ¡s have performed an incalculable service to the English-speaking world with this excellent idiomatic translation.