Genesis:Memory of Fire-Eduardo Galeano
A collection of the origins of Latin America from the various origin stories of the tribes to the arrival of the Spanish.
This took me well over a year to read. The chapters are short, the language precise, and it starts out innocuously enough. For the first 30-40%, Galeano is retelling the numerous origin stories of numerous tribes and I was really enjoying myself. I would read a few chapters and head to the internet to find out what tribe had which origin myth to read more about them, the myths and the people. I was really enjoying the rich tapestry of worlds and beginnings as well as learning a lot.
And then, with you barely noticing it, that precise language begins to burn. The Spanish show up and the violence, the smoke of worlds burning overwhelms. By the end, I found it nigh unbearable. I was reading it in dribbles of two pages because the emotional impact was far too strong, an interior spring of dread and horror flooding my body, my mind. Galeano does not hold your hand and the voices are no less varied and yet they are all screaming and you can barely distinguish the tribes from one another.
I had to finish the book though. Not out of a stubborn sense of finish-this-book like I usually mean it but rather I felt like I owed it to myself to not flinch, to face it-my history, a subjective but wholly valid version of my birthrights.
I had read Open Veins of Latin America but I was not prepared.