the voice of a quechua-sPeaking iLLiterate chiLd soLdier
in the Peruvian Andes is unique. It is Lurgio Gavilán Sánchez’s voice
and he writes it beautifully. Although the entire book was written
more or less of a piece, I noted subtle changes from chapter to chap-
ter. In the first pages the memoir is at its most spontaneous, with
none of the artifice that would come as the author’s world broad-
ened to include greater contact with what we so euphemistically call
mainstream society. After Gavilán was captured by the army, went to
school, learned to speak Spanish and to read and write, his expres-
sion changed. It changed even more during his years with the Francis-
can Brothers. By the time two more decades had passed, and he was
a social anthropologist returning to the scenes of his first dramatic
struggles, his voice had lost the freshness of some of his childhood
expression but retained a cultural richness and gained an educated
maturity. In translating When Rains Became Floods into English, I worked
to follow this arc as faithfully and compellingly as possible. I hope the
progression is palpable.
I want to thank Lurgio Gavilán Sánchez himself, Barbara Byers,
Gisela Fosado, Patricia Hynds, Barbara Frasier, and Alba Vanni, all of
whom patiently responded to my questions in a variety of fields. It is
a great privilege to have had the opportunity of rendering this extraor-
dinary memoir for an English readership.
margaret randaLL
aLbuquerque, new mexico • summer 2013
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