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The Global South Atlantic$
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Kerry Bystrom and Joseph R. Slaughter

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780823277872

Published to Fordham Scholarship Online: May 2018

DOI: 10.5422/fordham/9780823277872.001.0001

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South Africa, Chile, and the Cold War

South Africa, Chile, and the Cold War

Reading the South Atlantic in Mark Behr’s The Smell of Apples

(p.124) South Africa, Chile, and the Cold War
The Global South Atlantic

Kerry Bystrom

Fordham University Press

This chapter develops a series of reflections on the character of the Chilean general who appears in Mark Behr’s postapartheid novel The Smell of Apples (1995). It asks what the presence of a Latin American general might mean to the protagonist of the novel and to South Africa in the early 1990s more generally. Analyzing the forms of mimicry and doubling at play in the text, it argues that the Chilean general serves as an uncanny double whose representation helps to reveal the psychological mechanisms of acknowledgement and repression that underpinned Afrikaner support for apartheid. It further argues that Behr’s use of Pinochet’s Chile as an uncanny double for apartheid South Africa points to a set of South Atlantic and Cold War anti-communist military and political networks—routed through the United States but also existing bi-laterally between Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Paraguay, and South Africa—that allowed for the circulation of both technologies and cultures of state-sponsored terror, and which later opened into shared modes of democratic transformation. It finally reflects on strategies of reading transnationally and literary comparison across the South Atlantic.

Keywords:   apartheid, Mark Behr, Chile, literary comparison, Pinochet, South Africa, South Atlantic

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