The novel is an indepth story about Chile during the dictatorship of Pinochet's regime, which lasted eight years. Many people disappeared, or were put in jail to receive harsh punishment, or torture. This novel is about a family the Aguilar's, who suffers persecution because the father of the Aguilar's, Marcelo publishes an underground newspaper that exposes Chile's military regime. Marcelo is arrested in 1980, and literally stays in jail for eight years. He is tortured to the extreme. Marcelo's wife is a school teacher in Chile; they have a son Daniel, and daughter Tina. The wife is scared for her two children, and herself so they move from Chile to Madison, Wisconsin
One type of torture used in Chile when Marcelo was in prison known as El" Submarino" which means in English, the submarine. The prisoner was dropped in a vat full of sewer water to force the jailmate to confess. After six years of Marcelo being a prisoner in Chile he is able to be free . He is now able to be reunited with his family in Wisconsin. They are all changed. Daniel the son plays in a rock band in Wisconsin. The wife Victoria wants a divorce from Marcelo. When he returns to Wisconsin he goes to rehab to get rid of smoking & alcohol. Also he has a problem with walking because of the torture in jail. Daniel has a girlfriend called Courtney. She speaks Spanish very well. She helps Marcelo translate when he writes the articles about his time in jail. Courtney is the daughter of the Church's Minister.
Marcelo Aguilar has a dream t0 return to Chile. Daniel his son, and Courtney desire to go with. They all must travel with fake documents to arrive in Chile. The three are US citizens with Anglo names.
All the documents are false to keep the three safe in Chile. Mr. Marcelo has his head shaved, and has a bandage on his scalp. Daniel, & Courtney tell the immigration at the Airport in Chile their Dad has cancer, he has a few weeks to live. His dream is to visit Patagonian, and then he can die.He also wants to Camp by the second largest Lake in Chile.
The ending of the novel was interesting to me. Read the novel, and you will be astonished in what you learn. the book is very good.