Published in 2011, Patricio Pron’s semi-autobiographical novel details the return of a young Argentine academic to visit his dying father in Buenos Aires, and points precisely to the problematic generational inheritance that characterises the work of Argentina’s second generation of dictatorship victims. Negotiating both personal and appropriated memories of his father’s militancy during Argentina’s last dictatorship (1976–1983), the protagonist gestures to memory not as a source of any objective or official history, but to its inherent quality as a subjective, postponed and mediated construct. Playing with the distinction between history and memory, the novel problematises the potential of postmemory’s insistence on creative investment and highlights the difficulties inherent in the re-writing of history as an attempt to understand the past. By building on critical debates surrounding the application of post-Holocaust theory in Argentina, this article will place theories of postmemory firmly within an Argentine context and call for the need to reassess the political nature of the legacy inherited by this second generation. While advancing the discussion of these political elements of Argentine postmemory, attention will thus be drawn to the mechanisms of mnemonic transfer both between and within generations, highlighting how the subjective modification of what is being remembered allows Pron to move beyond an objectively unknowable past and look toward a future that is both open to, and shaped by, his contemporaries. [Sigue leyendo]
Journal of Latin American Cultural Studies: Travesia 23, 2 (2014) 211-228.