Silence is a tradition among the women of Rita’s family, so it is no wonder that she must interpret for herself what her mother has left unsaid about the horrors of the Terezin concentration camp. But Rita faces a silence of her own: a Peronist militant in 1980s Argentina, she has been incarcerated and abused in Buenos Aires’s infamous Escuela de Mecánica de la Armada (ESMA) detention center. In an imagined dialogue between mother and daughter, Rita recreates Tinkeleh’s unarticulated story, interweaving it with memories of her own childhood.
Breaking with the tradition of women as silent observers, Rita speaks not only for the nameless victims who have disappeared under Argentina’s military dictatorship but those of the Holocaust. Fingueret’s trenchant novel of survival transforms silence into a cry for justice that cannot be stifled.