When the young narrator of Brother’s Ghost
happens upon a warehouse filled with corpses of the “disappeared ones,” victims of his country’s brutal military regime, he is forced to flee his home and family and strike out for the interior. There he reunites with his long-estranged mother, a member of an indigenous tribe of Indians living deep in the tropical rainforest. Mistaken for the ghost of his deceased twin brother, the narrator takes his brother’s place in tribal society, learning to hunt and fight but never escaping the memory of his former life in the city. Scientist and author Stephen Spotte’s compact tale captures the tensions of this unnamed South American country, of its cities and interior, and the confusion of straddling two cultures while belonging to neither.