First Impressions of Operación Masacre by Rodolfo Walsh

One of the first things that struck me while reading Operación Masacre by Rodolfo Walsh was the descriptive language and imagery in the narrative. On page nine Walsh writes, “Livraga bañado en sangre caminando por aquel interminable callejón por donde salió de la muerte, y el otro que se salvó con él disparando por el campo entre las balas, y los que se salvaron sin que él supiera, y los que no se salvaron.” The reader can vividly picture a man slowly walking down a never-ending alley, covered in blood, like in a scene out of a movie. Yet this is a non-fiction novel, which you tend to forget while reading this book. This realization shocks the reader into seeing this image in a much more profound way, it also affects the reader much more than it would if it were fiction. Another aspect that I find interesting is the structure of the novel and how it is organized into describing the men who survived the shooting, what happened and the evidence. This organizational structure clearly presents Walsh’s evidence and research to the reader. By organizing it in this way, the suspense and tension builds more and more as Operación Masacre progresses. Walsh’s account is very detailed, for example, when he discusses the survivors of the shooting, he even discusses their family and he provides details like an omniscient narrator would in a work of fiction. Walsh also uses clear and concise language and organization, which makes the text approachable to all audiences. We can imagine that Walsh wanted all people to be able to understand the events, and that he wanted the people to visualize the events as they really happened. By doing this, perhaps he wants to show the reader the realities of the revolution that the military government and police would try to conceal. One of the questions that we are trying to answer in this class is what is the point of doing research. I think for Walsh, by conducting his research and publishing it, he was able to provide his readers back in 1957 another version of the story of what happened that night, as during this time the “official” information from the government would have been full of propaganda and censorship.

2 thoughts on “First Impressions of Operación Masacre by Rodolfo Walsh

  1. Jon

    Oh yes, for sure Walsh wants to provide “another version of the story,” though in fact one of the things that he encounters is that there’s not even really much of an “official” version. Rather, for the most part there’s just silence.

    Perhaps you could say more about the relation between this book and either a novel or a movie?

  2. Rachel Barrera

    It is interesting that you bring up the aspect of Walsh’s descriptive (narrative) language considering that we just discussed this in class! 🙂 It is interesting how he combines the two aspects of novel and non-fiction. He writes in the genre of non-fiction but he uses the style of descriptive novel writing to capture the readers attention. It puts us into the shoes of the people who were there and helps convince us of the truth.


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