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They Forged the Signature of God: A Novel [Paperback]

Viriato Sención
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Oct. 1 1995
This vivid exposé of corruption and political tyranny in the Dominican Republic rang so true to the reality that the President of that country went on television to denounce the book. They Forged the Signature of God went on to become the best-selling book in the history of the Dominican Republic. 

Sención's novel follows the lives of three seminary students who suffer from church-state oppression. The book also gives a chilling portrai of Dr. Ramos, a sinister autocrat, who manages to survive six terms as president of his country through manipulation and tyranny. This finely textured novel gives a vivid picture of the internal politics of the Dominican Republic.

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From Amazon

They Forged the Signature of God is an enthralling, if somewhat uneven, fictionalized account of the recent and tumultuous history of the Dominican Republic. The story follows three seminary students trying to divine their proper paths in life amid a social climate marked by political repression and instability. Virato Senciòn delivers an exacting take on his country's recent political history, and his book has become a bestseller in Latin America. They Forged the Signature of God received the Dominican Republic's National Fiction Award when it was first published, only to have the prize withdrawn when the sting of Senciòn's criticism grew too irritating to the ruling class.

From Publishers Weekly

It's almost impossible to discuss Dominican author Sencion's They Forged the Signature of God without first discussing the controversy surrounding it. Written in Spanish, it won the Dominican Republic's National Prize Novel Award in 1993, but its thinly disguised depiction of the country's recent Trujillo-Balaguer regime resulted in President Balaguer denouncing the writer. The prize was subsequently denied, a scandal ensued and this, Sencion's first book, became the bestselling novel in the history of the Dominican Republic. Sencion's style may at first appear reminiscent of other Spanish-speaking authors, but not only is his tale original, it's clever almost to a fault. They Forged the Signature of God follows the interwoven destinies of three young seminary students who move from overbearing Catholicism into the even more brutal world of Dominican politics. Narrated like a tangential, rambling story told by your grandfather, the twists and events of their lives lead to many entertaining, digressive tales about a host of other individuals. However, Sencion's depiction of a recent, barbaric past detracts from the vibrancy of these anecdotes, and unfortunately, in this story the political gives way to polemic. They Forged the Signature of God is a thorough, provoking novel, and though Sencion's fame may rest more with his activism than with his creativity, one can only hope that he continues to devote time and effort to the latter.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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5.0 out of 5 stars Intense Authenticity Woven Throughout Oct. 16 2003
Format:Paperback
Imagine in modern times a novel so powerfully authentic that the author's very life is placed in danger. Or that having initially won the nation's prestigious National Fiction Award upon publication, the prize is immediatley snatched away by the President because of its perceived personal offense to that president. What serious reader of good literature could possibly resist such excitement (however frightening) surrounding a first novel? Such is only part of the sordid history of Viriato Sencion's sensational novel They Forged the Signature of God.
The story is straightforward and uncomplicated. It narrates the maturation of three seminary students as they try to understand life against the nightmarish socio-political backdrop dominated by the monstruous dictator Tirano and his enigmatic cohort and successor Dr. Mario Ramos. The author skillfully incorporates real-life individuals and places under fictitious names. Thus, it isn't difficult to unmask Tirano as the diabolical and ruthless dictator Rafael Leonidas Trujillo, Ramos as Dr. Joaquin Balaguer, and the nameless Caribbean island-nation is the Dominican Republic. The student Arturo is Sencion's own alter ego. But we must be careful not to catagorize this novel as either a political expose or political biography; it is more correctly a brilliantly crafted and unique artistic text. The author's only dilemma, I suggest, is the problematic element of fusing literature and reality. The striking dominance of authenticity seduces the reader into sharing the intensity of "lo dominicano" --that is, the Dominican Experience in all its essence and intensity. Sencion, for example, effectively captures the language and its distinct subtleties of orality as spoken and heard on the Island.
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By Cambero
Format:Paperback
This novel, of the Dominican writer Viriato Sencion, reflects the interests and anguished of the Trujillo/Balaguer reign through a host of lively characters and their contempt of the political reality. It presents us with the two important figures of those times, Trujillo and Balaguer, and the somber reality of Dominican politics of the time are presented in a frank manner. Because of this reasons in 1993 a jury awarded unanimously to Mr. Sencion the Dominican National prize of Literature sponsored by the Education Secretary of State's 'Secretaria de Estado de Educación, Bellas Artes y Cultos'. But by a decision of the Dominican government (in these times headlined by the PRSC under the constant command of Balaguer), through the Minister of State of in that era, they awarding of the prize was recalled. In other words, the government robbed from Mr. Sencion the justly won prize, because it displeased the Head of State. This book is not the first and will not be the last time where the Dominican government, or for that matter any other Latin Government, those as it pleases, crushing the rights of its citizens. You want more examples of such disgusting actions, buy this book. Every Latino, Dominicans in particular should read this novel to understand the lack of liberty and excess of abuse that existed and continuous in the Dominican Republic and the world.
Was this review helpful to you?
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 5.0 out of 5 stars  4 reviews
16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Necessary and entertaining novel on The Dominican Rep. March 28 2004
By Cambero - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
This novel, of the Dominican writer Viriato Sencion, reflects the interests and anguished of the Trujillo/Balaguer reign through a host of lively characters and their contempt of the political reality. It presents us with the two important figures of those times, Trujillo and Balaguer, and the somber reality of Dominican politics of the time are presented in a frank manner. Because of this reasons in 1993 a jury awarded unanimously to Mr. Sencion the Dominican National prize of Literature sponsored by the Education Secretary of State's 'Secretaria de Estado de Educación, Bellas Artes y Cultos'. But by a decision of the Dominican government (in these times headlined by the PRSC under the constant command of Balaguer), through the Minister of State of in that era, they awarding of the prize was recalled. In other words, the government robbed from Mr. Sencion the justly won prize, because it displeased the Head of State. This book is not the first and will not be the last time where the Dominican government, or for that matter any other Latin Government, those as it pleases, crushing the rights of its citizens. You want more examples of such disgusting actions, buy this book. Every Latino, Dominicans in particular should read this novel to understand the lack of liberty and excess of abuse that existed and continuous in the Dominican Republic and the world.
14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Intense Authenticity Woven Throughout Oct. 16 2003
By Alan Cambeira - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Imagine in modern times a novel so powerfully authentic that the author's very life is placed in danger. Or that having initially won the nation's prestigious National Fiction Award upon publication, the prize is immediatley snatched away by the President because of its perceived personal offense to that president. What serious reader of good literature could possibly resist such excitement (however frightening) surrounding a first novel? Such is only part of the sordid history of Viriato Sencion's sensational novel They Forged the Signature of God.
The story is straightforward and uncomplicated. It narrates the maturation of three seminary students as they try to understand life against the nightmarish socio-political backdrop dominated by the monstruous dictator Tirano and his enigmatic cohort and successor Dr. Mario Ramos. The author skillfully incorporates real-life individuals and places under fictitious names. Thus, it isn't difficult to unmask Tirano as the diabolical and ruthless dictator Rafael Leonidas Trujillo, Ramos as Dr. Joaquin Balaguer, and the nameless Caribbean island-nation is the Dominican Republic. The student Arturo is Sencion's own alter ego. But we must be careful not to catagorize this novel as either a political expose or political biography; it is more correctly a brilliantly crafted and unique artistic text. The author's only dilemma, I suggest, is the problematic element of fusing literature and reality. The striking dominance of authenticity seduces the reader into sharing the intensity of "lo dominicano" --that is, the Dominican Experience in all its essence and intensity. Sencion, for example, effectively captures the language and its distinct subtleties of orality as spoken and heard on the Island. For this reason among many others, I personally preferred the original Spanish version [Los que falsificaron la firma de Dios, 1992]. I agree totally with the renown Dominican intellectual giant and literary critic Silvio Torres-Saillant when he observes that "Sencion's artistry is one of the most important contributions in recent years to Dominican Letters." Sencion's prose resonates in elegance.
A Highly Recommended Novel.
Alan Cambeira, Author of AZUCAR! The Story of Sugar (a novel)
13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars ahora, despues de tanto tiempo es que vengo a leerlo Oct. 3 2000
By Luis Méndez - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Los q ue falsificaron la firma de Dios
PERSONAJES: Antonio Bell Arturo Gonzalo ( alias Viriato Sencion) Frank Bolaño
Tres jóvenes cuyas vidas se juntan alguna vez, para luego tomar destinos separados
Y PERSONAJE INVITADO: EL Doctor Mario Ramos, que firma la orden y esconde la mano.
Archimalo de la novela, hombre enigmático, callado, de maneras suaves y andar pausado.
Una novela muy buena aunque los personajes están afectados de cierto acartonamiento y no sean del todo creíbles. Pero el libro es excelente en todo lo demás. En verdad merece el premio de literatura que le arrebataron en el 93.la historia trata del autoritarismo en días de libertad y de ese extraño personaje el doctor Mario Ramos, un hombre malvado, impulsado por quien sabe que sueños y que ilusiones. Como una maquina de manejar a la gente se desenvuelve el doctor ramos, que pasa de simple títere a real arbitro de la vida nacional aun cuando esta fuera del poder; Su presencia gravita en la vida del país.
Paréntesis ( el gallo, Juanito, pierde si quieres, de Ramos pa arriba coño, un hombre frio y calculador, nadie como ella para apagar el calor de una hembra, el autor esta en la novela, esta adentro,es la novela, es el es el es el ....... =?====?????????) Esos muchachos tan imbuidos de sueños como los presenta el autor, nunca he tenido el gusto de conocerlos. Quizás la juventud de esta época sea más mercurial, mas material, que en ese entonces. Hay pocas personas preocupadas seriamente por lo que les pase a los pobres de este país y casi todo lo que se hace es pantalla para ganar votos o afectos del pueblo en un determinado momento; un pueblo con tan mala memoria que no recuerda la cara de los verdugos a los que elige para ser oprimido. Tengo la confianza de que algún día la gente no necesitara de este tipo de obras, pues ya no habrá más tiranos que derrocar y doctores ramos a quienes descifrar y a quienes alabar. Algún día los pensamientos no serán perseguidos y en que tendremos paz y seguridad social. Bueno basta de soñar. Es un buen libro y basta....
NOTA: el comentario anterior se basa en la obra escrita por Viriato Sención y los personajes ahí descritos. Cualquier parecido con personas de carne y hueso es pura coincidencia y queda el autor de este escrito libre de toda culpa por difamación. Ja ja ja
LUIS MENDEZ
14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars ahora, despues de tanto tiempo es que vengo a leerlo Oct. 3 2000
By Luis Méndez - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Los q ue falsificaron la firma de Dios
PERSONAJES: Antonio Bell Arturo Gonzalo ( alias Viriato Sencion) Frank Bolaño
Tres jóvenes cuyas vidas se juntan alguna vez, para luego tomar destinos separados
Y PERSONAJE INVITADO: EL Doctor Mario Ramos, que firma la orden y esconde la mano.
Archimalo de la novela, hombre enigmático, callado, de maneras suaves y andar pausado.
Una novela muy buena aunque los personajes están afectados de cierto acartonamiento y no sean del todo creíbles. Pero el libro es excelente en todo lo demás. En verdad merece el premio de literatura que le arrebataron en el 93.la historia trata del autoritarismo en días de libertad y de ese extraño personaje el doctor Mario Ramos, un hombre malvado, impulsado por quien sabe que sueños y que ilusiones. Como una maquina de manejar a la gente se desenvuelve el doctor ramos, que pasa de simple títere a real arbitro de la vida nacional aun cuando esta fuera del poder; Su presencia gravita en la vida del país.
Paréntesis ( el gallo, Juanito, pierde si quieres, de Ramos pa arriba coño, un hombre frio y calculador, nadie como ella para apagar el calor de una hembra, el autor esta en la novela, esta adentro,es la novela, es el es el es el ....... =?====?????????) Esos muchachos tan imbuidos de sueños como los presenta el autor, nunca he tenido el gusto de conocerlos. Quizás la juventud de esta época sea más mercurial, mas material, que en ese entonces. Hay pocas personas preocupadas seriamente por lo que les pase a los pobres de este país y casi todo lo que se hace es pantalla para ganar votos o afectos del pueblo en un determinado momento; un pueblo con tan mala memoria que no recuerda la cara de los verdugos a los que elige para ser oprimido. Tengo la confianza de que algún día la gente no necesitara de este tipo de obras, pues ya no habrá más tiranos que derrocar y doctores ramos a quienes descifrar y a quienes alabar. Algún día los pensamientos no serán perseguidos y en que tendremos paz y seguridad social. Bueno basta de soñar. Es un buen libro y basta....
NOTA: el comentario anterior se basa en la obra escrita por Viriato Sención y los personajes ahí descritos. Cualquier parecido con personas de carne y hueso es pura coincidencia y queda el autor de este escrito libre de toda culpa por difamación. Ja ja ja
LUIS MENDEZ
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