The Argentinian writer Antonio di Benedetto and the Chilean author José Donoso wrote the most important part of their works between the end of the fifties and the end of the seventies of the XX Century. Both lived long periods of times out of their home countries, and both –in different ways and for different reasons– had a mostly tense relationship with the authors of the Boom. Despite these coincidences, it is not very common to read them in dialogue. This article proposes to approach Di Benedetto’s Zama (1956) and Donoso’s The Obscene Bird of the Night (1970), parting form the figure of the secret of the proper name, to observe in which form, in both texts, the personal and historical identity is threatened. The possible senses which can be related to the proper name suffer a process of dissolution. The proper name is embedded in a secret that cannot be resolved and which reflects on literature itself.