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The Little School: Tales of Disappearance and Survival

by Alicia Partnoy

Each chapter of this book is introduced by a picture of a blindfolded woman, her hands barely lifting the flap of her kerchief. To prevent prisoners from communicating with and knowing each other, and more importantly, their captors, inmates are kept blindfolded at all times in the "Little School" which is a grim euphemism for the prison camp where the disappeared are tortured and await their fates. These gauze blindfolds are continually slipping, and the pris¬oners are required to summon the guard on duty to tighten them on pain of being beaten or worse if the blindfold is dis¬covered to be loose. Each chapter of this book is introduced by a picture of a blindfolded woman, her hands barely lifting the flap of her kerchief. To prevent prisoners from communicating with and knowing each other, and more importantly, their captors, inmates are kept blindfolded at all times in the "Little School" which is a grim euphemism for the prison camp where the disappeared are tortured and await their fates. These gauze blindfolds are continually slipping, and the prisoners are required to summon the guard on duty to tighten them on pain of being beaten or worse if the blindfold is discovered to be loose. Alicia Partnoy spent more than three months in the Little School before she was transferred to a state prison, where she stayed for more than two years. The readers of her fictionalized account can be thankful that she learned to peep, glimpse, see, and, because such seeing involves the imagination, to envision the veiled world around her. What is amazing, given the brutal and terrifying nature of that world, is that Partnoy could notice the details of its grace and durability. From the true heart of darkness come these tales, recorded in twenty epiphanies of sight and insight.

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