Synopsis: In the tradition of Roberto Bolaño’s Savage Detectives, a celebrated classic and heart-wrenching story of a family torn apart by the forces of history, by one of Latin America’s most celebrated writers.
The late Mario Benedetti’s work was often ranked with “such esteemed Latin American writers as Gabriel García Márquez, Carlos Fuentes and Julio Cortázar” (The Washington Post) and his novel The Trucehas sold millions of copies around the world. His extraordinary novel Springtime in a Broken Mirrorrevolves around Santiago, a political prisoner in Uruguay, who was jailed after a brutal military coup that saw many of his comrades flee elsewhere. Santiago, feeling trapped, can do nothing but write letters to his family and try to stay sane.
Far away, his nine-year-old daughter Beatrice wonders at the marvels of 1970s Buenos Aires, but her grandpa and mother―Santiago’s beautiful, careworn wife, Graciela―struggle to adjust to a life in exile.
Published now for the first time in English, Springtime in a Broken Mirror tells with tenderness and fury of the indelible imprint politics leaves on individual lives. Generous and unflinching, it asks whether the broken bonds of family and history can ever truly be mended. Written by one of the masters of the Latin American novel, this is the story of a fractured continent, chronicled through the lives of a single family.
Springtime in a Broken Mirror: A Novel (1982) by Mario Benedetti is a book I wanted to like but couldn’t.
To me, the main problem is that everyone just has the same voice. The characters sounded the same to me. This is horrible because they are experiencing very different situations.
We have Santiago, the main character, his wife Graciela, his daughter Beatriz. We also have Santiago’s father, Don Rafael and his friend Rolando.
A book where a kid sounds like an incarcerated adult because of a military coup is not a good book, to say the least.
Because of that, I couldn’t create a connection with the characters. I was always saying, “this doesn’t make any sense” then I noticed that it was another chapter, which meant another persona.
For instance, at one point, Santiago is saying that he loves his wife and misses her and can’t wait to leave prison. In the following chapter, they are together. But they aren’t! Because Santiago is still in jail, and it’s Rolando that is free and with Graciela.
In another moment, Santiago is sad but realizing he can live by himself, but then he says he needs the wife. That’s because it was Graciela that’s discovering that she can live without the husband, not the other way around.
I could point to many other moments like these two, but I think you understood my point.
It makes me sad not to like this book. Because as a South American (I’m from Brazil) who has parents and grandparents who lived through a military dictatorship and by being a history aficionado, the novel had a double appeal for me. It looked like I was going to love it. Unfortunately, it’s just confusing. The themes and stories lose themselves in a unique voice that should be a cacophony.
*e ganhe 10% de desconto na primeira compra!