Already something of a young star of Spanish literature, Patricio Pron could soon become a well-known voice in the English-speaking world too with his newly-translated novel, My Fathers’ Ghost is Climbing in the Rain.
The novel examines a shady political past that Argentina might like to see consigned to history, seen through the eyes of a young writer reminiscent of Pron himself, returning to his home country and to his father’s deathbed. Going over the puzzle that was his father’s life, he begins to piece together the role his family played in resisting a totalitarian regime.
Pron’s work confounds easy categorisation. Its subject matter concerns the writer’s past and is interwoven with Pron’s own family history to the extent that he felt the need to ask his parents permission to write the book and to give them a choice to veto its Argentinian publication. On his blog he explains making this decision because he found himself ‘…telling a story about which I had more questions than answers and which didn’t entirely belong to me’.
On the other hand, Pron also says of his work that it was subject to the ‘demands of fiction, whose rules are different from the rules of such genres as testimony and autobiography’, implying an unspecified amount of his own invention within the text. Pron’s coyness about what came from history and what came from him only adds to the intrigue of this already compelling work.
My Fathers’ Ghost is Climbing in the Rain was in the running for our 2013 First Book Award.