Spiral of Silence
Spiral of Silence
A multigenerational epic, Spiral of Silence (Espiral de Silencios) opens in the early 1980s, as peace and amnesty agreements spark optimism and hope. We meet Norma, a privileged, upper-class woman who is married to an army general; Maria Teresa (Mariate), a young rebel who loves a guerrilla fighter and navigates commitments to motherhood and revolutionary activism; and Amparo, a woman who comes of age later, and carries the confusion and dislocation of a younger generation. Each contends with the consequences of war and violence on her life; each is empowered through community-building and working for change.
Few authors have considered the role of women in Colombia during this wartime period, and Sánchez-Blake's nuanced exploration of gender and sexism—framed by conflict and social upheaval—distinguishes the novel. Drawing on stories from women who have worked within organizations in Colombia to end state violence, Spiral of Silence celebrates resistance, reinvention, and how women create and protect their families and communities.
"The book is important as a testimony of the experience of women in the Colombian war, which has been largely invisible in narratives about the conflict . . . Featuring the conflict’s multifarious presence in the everyday lives of women, its often silent, haphazard, and seemingly insignificant arrival in their lives, and its devastating consequences, the novel shows a social tragedy in which virtually no Colombian remains untouched." —Tulsa Studies in Women’s Literature
"Sánchez Blake's novel gives both a face and a voice to a segment of the population that has been largely overlooked and undervalued in not only official historical documentation but also . . . literary production . . . [it] represents a noteworthy step forward in the breaking of the silence that has long entrapped half the Colombian population." —Michelle Sharp, editor (with Anja Louis) of Multiple Modernities: Carmen de Burgos, Author and Activist