Partially autobiographical, this translation of the Spanish Patas de Avestruz is a masterpiece of introspective, linguistically innovative fiction about the relationship between two sisters—one severely handicapped, the other gifted yet overlooked. Mariana is four years older than her sister Alcira, but Mariana is seriously disabled and slowly dying. Conveying the experience of a physically messy process, this account points out the flaws in adult society through the point-of-view of its child protagonist. At its core, the novel is about the abuse of power and its consequences—whether that abuse is by a government, a parent, or a child.
Alicia Kozameh is a former Argentinean political prisoner. She is a creative writing and literature professor at Chapman University and the author of five novels in Spanish, including Steps Under Water, a collection of short stories, and a book of poetry. She has also worked extensively with Amnesty International to share her prison experiences and to promote human rights. She lives in Los Angeles.