Our Exile: A Chilean Memoir of Dislocation

Ariel Dorfman is one of our era’s many citizens of nowhere, and Feeding on Dreams is the story of his exile from Chile. It was an accident, a gift of destiny, or a curse, that he was not at La Moneda, the Presidential Palace, on September 11, 1973, the day of the coup by General Augusto Pinochet. That day, Salvador Allende died and Dorfman received a permanent enemy to orient him in his disoriented life.


Climbing the tree had not been a thoughtless or impetuous action. The girl had taken a Jew’s harp, a handful of dried cranberries, a scrap of blue leather, feathers, a vial of silver and turquoise beads, a needle, some thread, other secret objects, some sacred, all carefully balanced in the lap of an oversized T-shirt that the girl turned alternately into a desk, a knapsack, a handkerchief for blowing her nose, while another T-shirt became a bandanna, a snood, and a white banner that declared most adamantly: “I will not surrender.”