The Surrendered: Reflections by a Son of Shining Path.

AuthorSherman, John W.

Aguero, Jose Carlos. The Surrendered: Reflections by a Son of Shining Path. Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2021.

Peru is at an interesting juncture regarding the Sendero War (1980-2000) and its memory. In 2015, the country opened the Lugar de la Memoria [LUM], a state-of-the-art exhibition on Lima's upscale Costa Verde. The same year, Jose Carlos Aguero published Los rendidos: Sobre el don de perdonar, which sold well and triggered public debate about the historical place and meaning of Sendero Luminoso's vicious, dead-ended attempt at revolution. Now this brief, poetic work comes to us in artful translation, courtesy of University of California-Davis literature professor Michael J. Lazzara and history professor Charles F. Walker.

This is a thoughtful and thought-provoking book. Aguero walks us through his life as he bears the stigma of having Senderista parents, both of whom were executed as terrorists by the state. He shares the anguish but also the numbness of the most intimate passages--including visits to his father in prison (before he died in the 1986 massacre at El Fronton), and the painfully slow-in-coming certain death of his mother, whose bullet-pierced corpse turned up on a local beach. Sections of the book are presented thematically, including a trio of groups defined as Accomplices, Victims, and The Surrendered. What started out as a collection of reflective diarylike essays holds together remarkably well in a manuscript of just eighty-three pages that the author admits was unplanned.

Complementing and contextualizing Agueros writings is a short history of his childhood and parents by Lazzara and Walker. The two translator-editors conclude the volume with an insightful interview with Aguero, posing the questions a cautious reader would have wanted to ask. Three artful photographs accompany the volume, including one of a young Jose Manuel and Silvia (father and mother) holding young Jose.

As with the book itself, that image imputes...

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