. Florencia Mallon Florencia Mallon Florencia Mallon
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Chapter 1 excerpts

Bearing Witness


"After every interaction that involved her name or her coloring, a wave of longing would come over her, and for a moment she was sure she would die if she didn’t see the sun set over the Pacific Ocean, the brilliant blue of the Chilean sky, or the alabaster majesty of the Andes on a winter morning."





"She careened off the bus at the Plaza Baquedano, trying unsuccessfully to straighten her brown leather jacket in the crush of college students. Once the herd had stampeded by, she stood for a moment on her own, facing the statue, and wondered how in the world she would find Sergio in this crowd. Already the tide of humanity swelled in all directions. Jostled back and forth by a new wave of dark-haired demonstrators, she felt her right ankle give way as the thin heel of her boot caught the edge of a cobblestone, pushing her down on one knee… Eugenia realized she was overdressed yet again. She was trying so hard to fit in…But the boots were still too fancy, and they weren’t good on the uneven cobblestones.

She wished for the hundredth time that Sergio had been willing to agree on a place to meet.  It’ll be easy, he’d assured her vaguely.  Not that many people will show up before the afternoon.  She had to admit he’d been more and more evasive lately.  She’d lost count of the number of times he had kept her waiting for more than an hour.  True, it was barely ten in the morning and they’d agreed to meet at ten thirty, but it was an unusually hot fall day and the place was overflowing.  She could already feel a thin rivulet of sweat dripping down the middle of her back.  All around her the scent of young, unwashed bodies—musky underarms combined with the stench of days-old socks—mingled with cheap black tobacco and the occasional forbidden sweetness of marijuana.

From the corner of her eye she caught the fluttering of a red and black revolutionary flag hanging from the nose of the Baquedano statue’s horse.  Ironic, she thought, that General Manuel Baquedano, whom she knew from her history textbooks as yet another generic nineteenth-century military hero from the War of the Pacific, should have his horse insulted in this way." 












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