Reviews

  • Once Forché's story gathers momentum, it's hard to let the narrative go . . . Riveting . . . intricate and surprising

    The New York Times
  • Indispensable . . . unflinching . . . Forché offers up a vast human landscape of terror, desperation and perseverance that stretches far beyond mere borders. It's more documentary than self-portrait, more camera than mirror. Reading it will change you, perhaps forever

    San Francisco Chronicle
  • Gripping . . . 'I could just as well write my poetry from the quiet of my own study,' Forché writes, 'but I had known since childhood that human suffering demanded a response, everywhere and always.' A portrait of the artist as political and poetic ingenue, What You Have Heard Is True is just such a response, a riveting account of how she made good on that conviction. It bears eloquent witness to injustice and atrocity and to how observing them shaped a fearless poet

    The Washington Post
  • Extraordinary . . . Written with a thriller writer's knack for narrative tension and a poet's gorgeous sentences and empathy . . . Though it took Forché half a lifetime to fully share what she saw - this time is also more cryptically recalled in her second book of poems, The Country Between Us (1982) - now is precisely when we need to see it

    NPR
  • Her memoir traces her journey from political innocence to experience, and, in doing so, offers a model to others who might take the same journey . . . She remembers as much as possible, and the resulting memoir, once read, is difficult to forget

    The Atlantic
  • Forché looks with a poet's acute grasp of sensory detail ... She meets priests, poets, campesinos, retired generals ... She runs from death squads, acknowledges American complicity in Salvadoran military's tactics, searches for the bodies of friends dumped on the black sand beaches. One can imagine this memoir being made into a film in the mould of The Killing Fields ... Written with great care, this clear-eyed memoir and its evocative black-and-white photos bear powerful witness to the atrocities committed by a government to repress its own impoverished citizens

    Daily Telegraph
  • Forché ... writes with a startling, visceral clarity about grotesque events ... With her poems, and now with this exceptionally well-written and engrossing memoir, [Forché] has borne witness, remembered, tried to see. She has spent many years of her life telling the stories of El Salvador ... What You Have Heard Is True paints a stark, tangible and unforgettable picture of a nation descending into civil war and raises fascinating questions about the role of the observer ... Her writing has a way of scratching images into the memory

    Daily Telegraph