The military coup in Chile through the eyes of innocent children
La Manita Muerta The Dead Hand is a compilation of short stories that allow the reader to become acquainted with the lives of their characters under the dictatorship regime in Chile after the military overthrew the elected democratic government in 1973, and their attempt to continue with their daily routines despite and in face of all the existential dangers and violations of basic individual rights.
The stories evolve around the life of David Silberman, who was the prominent manager of a mining operation in the north of the country and a socialist political activist, who was kidnapped by the military after the government was overthrown.
Each story stands on its own, but they are interconnected through a single riveting plot, which is based on the real events and chosen to be told from the unique perspective of women and children, because history is mostly related by male adult characters.
The plot follows the realities of life under a Latin American dictatorship, but there is a hidden message for all readers worldwide. In Chile, the democratic values were shattered overnight in an abrupt transition by a well-timed military coup, while in the rest of the western free world there is a slow and gradual erosion of the values of freedom and democracy that may ultimately lead to similar consequences.
A brilliant, witty and at times heart-rending read.
The author personally and eloquently reveals that writing for him is therapeutic. He needs it in order to clarify processes to himself, organize his thoughts and also soothe his soul. During all of his childhood he ‘wrote for the drawer’, but as an adult he believes his writing holds significant messages for the readers of his work. He says that ‘La Manita Muerta, signals to readers they should be fighting tooth and nail in order to protect the values of democracy in their countries and beware of the slippery slope down which legislators begin to taper off citizen’s rights.’
Based on true events, author Daniel Silberman weaves a collection of captivating short stories about his childhood and family in Chile and the events preceding their immigration to Israel. He writes an exceptionally well-written book and paints for the reader an all-encompassing human dramatization of love, loss and survival in a very vivid and compelling way. The backdrop to this story is Chile’s collapsing democracy of the 1970’s. It was a brilliant, witty and at times heart-rending read that will leave you feeling like a better person for having read it.
Highly recommended reading and a well-deserved five stars from me.
Daniel Silberman is a culturally diverse author, fluent in Spanish, English and Hebrew, born in Santiago, Chile in 1967.
At the age of 10, Dani Silberman left for Israel, with his mother and two siblings, due to political persecution. Writing has always been his escape, as he searched for a saner, more humane world. He holds a B.A. in Journalism.
In 1996 Daniel relocated to Boston, Mass. where he worked as a financial advisor.
In 2000, he published his first novel, “Hamorad” (Hebrew for Downhill), a semi-autobiographical existential novel.
He moved back to Israel In 2008 with his family and shortly after, published “Three Monkey Brothers”, his first children’s book, both in English and Hebrew.
In 2016 “Chicken or Fish?” a short story he authored, won the first prize in the annual B’nai B’rith Chile writing competition. Currently, Daniel is writing both a movie script and a play, both based on his personal life experience, and his third book -The Dead Hand – La Manita Muerta – has been published in 2020.
During his entire career, both in Israel and the U.S, he has always worked and volunteered with children, in the media, and in the field of literacy. Today he works as a teacher in various projects centered on education.