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In The Book of Words, Jenny Erpenbeck captures with amazing virtuosity the inner life of a young girl who survives the totalitarian regime of a curiously unnamed South American country (most likely Argentina during its "dirty war"). Raised by parents whose real identity ends up shocking her, the girl comes of age in a country where gunshots are mistaken for blown tires, innocent citizens are dragged off buses, and tortured and disappeared friends and family return to visit her from the dead.