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Clandestine in Chile: The Adventures of Miguel Littín

3.85  ·  Rating details ·  3,023 ratings  ·  236 reviews
In 1973, the film director Miguel Littín fled Chile after a U.S.-supported military coup toppled the democratically elected socialist government of Salvador Allende. The new dictator, General Augusto Pinochet, instituted a reign of terror and turned Chile into a laboratory to test the poisonous prescriptions of the American economist Milton Friedman. In 1985, Littín return ...more
Hardcover, 116 pages
Published July 1st 1987 by Henry Holt & Company (first published May 1986)
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Steven Godin
Early in 1985, the Chilean film director Miguel Littín - whose name was on a blacklist of 5,000 exiles forbidden to re-enter their homeland, spent six weeks working undercover with the help of personal disguise and deception. He shot something like 100,000 feet of film about the state of Chile after 12 turbulent years of military dictatorship. Entering under a false passport he successfully got away with being a Uruguayan businessman after altering his appearance, and along with other European f ...more
Aug 09, 2019 rated it it was ok
The back cover of this nyrb-classic (so it's their words) gives this set-up: the film director Miguel Littín, who fled his native Chile in 1973 when General Augusto Pinochet toppled the democratically elected socialist government of Salvador Allende, returns in 1985 disguised as a Uruguayan businessman to secretly film his country and thus "tell the truth about Pinochet's benighted Chile--a film that would capture the world's attention while landing the general and his secret police with a very ...more
Jul 22, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 1968
There is a brilliant and touching preface by Francisco Goldman that I highly recommend. The book itself, however, is dull. Returning to Pinochet's Chile to produce a clandestine film about the horrors of the dictatorship. the narrator, Miguel Littín, is horrified to learn that Pinochet's Chile (in 1985) was essentially calm (if slightly bullied) and prosperous modern country -- even during the State of Siege.

Having been in Spain during the Franco years, I can attest that the presence of the Guar
In the introduction to the NYRB edition of Gabriel Garcia Márquez's Clandestine in Chile, Francesco Goldman makes the claim that the book is most rewarding when read, not as the tale of adventure and political intrigue it seems at first glance, but instead as a study of the times (1985), the place (Chile), and the specific person: Miguel Littín, exiled middle-aged film-director who returns to his native country disguised as a Uruguayan businessman, to film a documentary about life under the Pino ...more
Steev Hise
Oct 26, 2009 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: filmmakers and Chile-ophiles.
This is a short but fascinating true story of a film director from Chile, exiled after the Pinochet coup, who sneaks back into the country after 12 years in order to do a documentary about the state of the nation. Despite its factual nature, Garcia Marquez narrates the book in a dramatic first person style and it is a distillation of an 18-hour interview he did with the filmmaker.

Oddly, nowhere in the book is there mention of the name of the film that Littin produced from the 105 thousand feet o
Shuhan Rizwan
May 02, 2019 rated it liked it
While Dostoyevsky keeps asking so many fundamental questions through his novels, I decide to take a break.

A light read from Gabo.
Jul 14, 2018 rated it liked it
Banned in Chile during Pinochet's dictatorship, the first edition even burned following orders by the dictator (an act made the more horrific considering it happened barely thirty years ago), this book, the second non-fiction work by Gabo, sticks very closely to what it promises in its title. It is a very simple narrative following the steps of Miguel Littín, the exiled Chilean filmmaker, while he travels in hiding throughout the country trying to shot a documentary. Gabo has an eye to identify ...more
Oct 02, 2016 rated it did not like it
Shelves: chile
Nancy Oakes
In 1973, Salvador Allende's government collapsed under the weight of a military coup orchestrated by the U.S. and Augusto Pinochet came to power. Immediately on the heels of this coup, any dissidence (or perceived dissidence) was violently repressed, leaving thousands of people dead, imprisoned or just gone without a trace, and the repression went on over the period of Pinochet's reign. Thousands more went into exile to escape this regime and were forbidden to recross the Chilean borders. In 198 ...more
Feb 15, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A most wonderful Marquezian adventure:

Clandestine in Chile is Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s 1986 telling of film maker Miguel Littín’s covert operation in Chile to record day to day life under Pinochet. Although Marquez is best known for his fiction, which cannot be beaten, it is important to remember that he was first and foremost a journalist. To him, journalism was another form of literature, and he always stood by his conviction that “the world is such a mess that only good journalists can save i
Wendy Wakeman
Mar 14, 2017 rated it really liked it
A very readable story of an exiled filmmaker sneaking around Pinochet's Chile to record film for a documentary. The story is almost silly, reminding me of "American Hustle," the Amy Adams/Christian Bale movie about two-bit conartists engaged in a farcical FBI sting. I'm reading up on Chile in advance of a residency in June, and as research, it's good reading, and fast. It's also interesting journalism, as Marques taped 18 hours of interviews with Littin and then consolidated his words down into ...more
Apr 09, 2016 rated it liked it
I couldn't find the spanish version of the book but I did read it in Spanish for uni two years ago.
Mar 03, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: south-america
Obscure book on Chilean director Miguel Littín's undercover journey to film a documentary about life under the the Pinochet regime. Written by Márquez in the first person after hours of interviews with Littín, it gives the account of the filming and the exiled director's experience on returning to his home country. As with most excellent books, it leaves me going down Wikipedia rabbit holes and feeling like I really don't know anything about the world.

On being undercover and seeing old friends:
mia moraru
Jan 02, 2020 rated it it was amazing
thrilling, inspiring, fascinating, shocking. read like a spy novel and vicariously fulfilled my wildest fantasies of working undercover through littín....though only making me wish to pursue such careers/actions even more.
Šárka Ondrouchová
Nov 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Grateful this book got to me. Inherently political but mainly human account of Littín's adventure and of the underground routes of opposition in a dictatorship.
In many respects this short nonfiction book is best read in one specific way - First the actual book by Gabriel García Márquez, followed by Francisco Goldman's preface. The effect his words has on any reader's rumination or speculation of García's nonfiction tale of Miguel Littín's clandestine adventures in 1980s Chile is interesting. Goldman's waxes lyrics of awe for García Márquez body of work, but he goes on to reveals a more nuanced and highly reflective interpretation of García's biography ...more
Jul 21, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The true adventure-- equal parts suspenseful, poetic, and comedic-- of Miguel Littín, an exiled Chilean filmmaker who fled the country during the coup of 1973 and then snuck back in 12 years later under a fake identity to surreptitiously film a feature-length documentary about life under, and resistance to, the Pinochet dictatorship. The complexity of the colorful secret network of fellow exiles, underground resistance figures, and collaborators hiding in plain sight that made Littín's project p ...more
Jan 05, 2009 rated it really liked it
Clandestine in Chile: The Adventures of Miguel Littin, by Gabriel Garcia Marquez, is an odd book for Marquez. It's a straight adventure story, and is a first person account of the adventures of Miguel Littin, an exiled Chilean film director. Littin was a supporter of Allende, and was almost killed as a sympathizer when Agusto Pinochet became dictator after a coup d'etat.

As someone else said, this book is "a scary, exhilarating and sometimes hilarious tale of bizarre coincidences, hairbreadth esc
Sam Dye
Mar 04, 2015 rated it really liked it
This is the story of Miguel Littin who was on Pinochet's list of undesirables, but managed to sneak back into the country and manage three film crews to record a documentary "Alsino and the Condor" which won a 1983 Academy Award nomination for Best Foreign Film. Gabriel Garcia Marquez gives amazing details of the character of the country during this time. He discusses what happened after the coup to Pablo Neruda's house in Santiago. The house was sacked by Pinochet's soldiers and they threw all ...more
Ultimately enjoyable and quirky, and an interesting look into life as an exile in disguise in his home country, but by no means essential unless you're especially interested in filmmaker Miguel Littin or a scholar of Gabriel Garcia Marquez. That said, the Chilean government reported that it burned 15,000 copies of this book in 1986.
Aug 20, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history, nonfiction
I've always liked Garcia Marquez's reportage works....this is no exception, but I still prefer "Story of a Shipwrecked Sailor" over this one.
Beatriz Fernandes
Aug 07, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a very interesting book about the filming of Miguel Littín's, chilean director, documentary about Pinochet's Chile, in 1985. He was forbidden of returning to Chile (he was one of the five thousand exiled chileans that were in the list of people that weren't allow to enter their motherland) so he got in with a false identity, and fake purposes. With him went three separate camera crews, from different european countries, that didn't know about each other's existence. They were supposed to ...more
Ankit Solanki
Jul 07, 2020 rated it really liked it
Written as real as it happened; after the military coup overturned the democratically elected socialist government of Chile in 1973, around five thousand people were exiled for a lifetime, including the renowned director Miguel Littín. He came back to Chile with a planned task involving hundreds of people working underground as resistance to dictatorship; the task was to shoot a film that would expose the agony and affliction of people living under Chilean authoritative regime.

From a political r
Adam Sidsworth
Sep 28, 2019 rated it really liked it
The book is a great read, a chilling account of Chilean filmmaker Miguel Littin's return to Chile in 1986, despite the military dictatorship of Augusto Pinochet, whose military dictatorship had banned Littin from returning to Chile over a decade earlier. The only thing, though, is that the book is supposed to be a transcript of Marquez's interview with Littin over a period of a few days. However, the book reads like it had extended prose diversions by Marquez. And that's fine, since it means for ...more
Gabby Negron
This is a non-fiction account of a Chilean exile's clandestine operation 12 years after the military coup, yet it almost reads as fiction with the way the events unfold– especially since it is written in first person. Not a gruesome tale of the horrors of Pinochet's dictatorship yet it still deeply reflects on how its citizens (those also in exile and those who never left) have been affected. The book will keep you anxious throughout wondering if they will be caught by the military police while ...more
Praveen SR
May 10, 2020 rated it it was amazing
The most unMarquezian of all of Marquez's books. A long-form journalistic piece about Chilean filmmaker Miguel Littin, on exile from his country after the coming into power of the dictatorial regime of Pinochet, following the coup and murder of Salvador Allende. Miguel sneaks into the country, disguised as an Uruguayan businessman, and does what he does best - shoots documentaries on life under the dictatorship. Narrated in first person by Littin, it touches upon his own experiences with Allende ...more
Peter Bridgford
Jan 02, 2020 rated it really liked it
I enjoyed reading this book because it pointed out again how truly ignorant I am about the history of the South American continent. This is a sad story, really. It is an elaborate ruse put on my a man who wanted nothing more than to reveal the horrors of Pinochet's regime in his beloved country of Chile, but who, in the end, seemed to discover more about himself and the natural, yet horrifying, cycles within all dictatorships. A quick read.
Stella Matevosyan
May 22, 2018 rated it liked it
You need to build your background knowledge on the history of Chile (i.e. Allende's presidency and Pinoche's regime) to really understand Miguel Littin's "adventures"/struggles in this book. Overall, it was interesting to see what was happening inside Chile for almost 20 years through the eyes of Miguel Littin. A very quick read.
May 24, 2013 rated it really liked it
Truth be told, I've never read Marquez before, not 100 Years of Solitude, not Love in the Time of Cholera, nothing. I've always wanted to, of course, because anyone who reads always has a pile of books and authors they will read one day, however, Marquez has always slipped out of my reach for some reason.

This book came to me by accident at the library when I was looking for something else; out slipped this thin little book from the shelf from between 2 large tomes on South American and Spanish
Geert Reinalda
Apr 09, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: collection
A unique and crazy story at the same time. Imagine returning to your country of birth while you're a wanted person. No longer welcome under your real name because of your political preference. This book is completely different from any book from Marquez that I've read, still very good!
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Gabriel José de la Concordia Garcí­a Márquez was a Colombian novelist, short-story writer, screenwriter and journalist. Garcí­a Márquez, familiarly known as "Gabo" in his native country, was considered one of the most significant authors of the 20th century. In 1982, he was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature.

He studied at the University of Bogotá and later worked as a reporter for the Colombian

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“The experience taught him [Salvador Allende] too late that a system cannot be changed from the government but from the power.” 2 likes
“Yo, Miguel Littín, hijo de Hernán y Cristina, director de cine y uno de los cinco mil chilenos con prohibición absoluta de regresar, estaba de nuevo en mi país después de doce años de exilio, aunque todavía exiliado dentro de mí mismo: llevaba una identidad falsa, un pasaporte falso, y hasta una esposa falsa. Mi cara y mi apariencia estaban tan cambiadas por la ropa y el maquillaje que ni mi propia madre había de reconocerme a plena luz unos días después.” 2 likes
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