Winner of Canada Reads 2012!
A gripping, darkly comic first-hand account of a young underground revolutionary during the Pinochet dictatorship in 1980s Chile.
On September 11, 1973, a violent coup removed Salvador Allende, the democratically elected socialist president of Chile, from office. Thousands were arrested, tortured and killed under General Augusto Pinochet's repressive new regime. Soon after the coup, six-year-old Carmen Aguirre and her younger sister fled the country with their parents for Canada and a life in exile.
In 1978, the Chilean resistance issued a call for exiled activists to return to Latin America. Most women sent their children to live with relatives or with supporters in Cuba, but Carmen's mother kept her precious girls with her. As their mother and stepfather set up a safe house for resistance members in La Paz, Bolivia, the girls' own double lives began. At eighteen, Carmen herself joined the resistance. With conventional day jobs as a cover, she and her new husband moved to Argentina to begin a dangerous new life of their own.
This dramatic, darkly funny narrative, which covers the eventful decade from 1979 to 1989, takes the reader inside war-ridden Peru, dictatorship-run Bolivia, post-Malvinas Argentina and Pinochet's Chile. Writing with passion and deep personal insight, Carmen captures her constant struggle to reconcile her commitment to the movement with the desires of her youth and her budding sexuality. Something Fierce is a gripping story of love, war and resistance and a rare first-hand account of revolutionary life.
"This is a moving, heart-racing journey through the political landscape of South America during the 70s and 80s told by a brave daughter of the Chilean resistance. An inspiration to anyone who strives to live a life of passion and purpose." -- Camilla Gibb, author of Sweetness in the Belly
"Something Fierce is energetic, funny and dark, thoughtful and moving, told from the perspective of a girl growing into womanhood in a household where to be in the resistance was always to be poised between life and death." -- Myrna Kostash, author of The Prodigal Daughter
About the author
Carmen Aguirre is a Vancouver-based theatre artist who has written and co-written fourteen plays. As an actor, Aguirre has thirty film and TV credits, including a lead role in the independent feature Quinceañera, winner of the Grand Jury Prize and the Audience Award at the 2006 Sundance Film Festival, an Independent Spirit award, GLAAD awards and various People’s Choice awards at festivals around the world.
- Short-listed, Hubert Evans Non-Fiction Prize
- Long-listed, BC National Award for Canadian Non-Fiction
- Winner, Canada Reads