Santiago is trapped. Taken political prisoner in Montevideo after a brutal military coup, he 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. Graciela fights to retain the fiery passion that suffused her marriage, her politics, her whole life, as day by day Santiago edges closer to freedom. But Santiago's rakish, reckless best friend is a constant, brooding presence in the exiles' lives, and Graciela finds herself drawn irresistibly towards him.
A lucid, heart-wrenching saga of a family torn apart by the forces of history, 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.
Mario Orlando Hamlet Hardy Brenno Benedetti, known as Mario Benedetti, was a Uruguayan journalist, novelist, and poet. He is considered one of the most important 20th century Latin American writers, especially in the Spanish-speaking world. A revolutionary and a passionate romantic, Benedetti wrote of love, anger, political resistance and redemption, particularly during the period of his enforced exile from Uruguay, between 1973 and 1985. One of his last poems encapsulated his unquenchable creative urge- "When I'm buried / don't forget to put a Biro in my coffin."
Nick Caistor was formerly the BBC's Latin America analyst. He has translated more than fifty works of fiction by authors from Uruguay, Argentina, Brazil and many other Latin American countries, as well from Spain and France. He is also the author of biographies of Octavio Paz. Fidel Castro and Che Guevara, and a cultural history of Mexico City.
This is the perfect way to enter the rich and luminous world of Mario Benedetti, one of the great Latin American writers of the past century. He was a prolific poet, novelist, journalist, and master of the short story form, and this sad and beautiful novel brings all of his many talents into focus. It's the portrait of Santiago, a prisoner of conscience, a man separated not only his family but cut off from the possibilities of taking a relevant stand in the face of political winds that seem destined to tear him apart. And yet hope keeps pushing through what Benedetti calls "the tiny jungle of his astonishment." Despite the note of alienation that inevitably haunts this novel, Springtime in a Broken Mirror left me in a mood of exultation. The human spirit presses through the cracks in history here, and this novel feels wonderfully fresh, its hero unbowed in the face of exile and bereavement -- Jay Parini, author of THE LAST STATION and THE DAMASCUS ROAD Springtime in a Broken Mirror is written like a psalm; a beautiful meditation on exile, dictatorships and the lives elevated and isolated by the struggle against both. -- Fatima Bhutto An exercise in empathy and a visceral record of the ravages of exile, torture and incarceration on revolutionaries and their families ...moments of descriptive grace are overshadowed by devastating details ... Interspliced with the family story are accounts of exiles around the world, including Benedetti's own, highlighting the documentary value of this book, which will continue to grow with time. The New York Times Equal parts funny and tragic [...] a wise, lonely novel about political exile New Yorker A "rich, heartbreaking novel. . . . Benedetti's tender yet unflinching portrait of a family in the crushing straits of history is a welcome addition to the small (and hopefully growing) catalogue of his work that has been translated into English Publishers Weekly This powerful novel evokes the works of Gabriel Garcia Marquez ... vivid and beautifully expressive Kirkus
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