THE BROKEN ROOT by Arturo Barea
Kirkus Star


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The author of The Forging of a Rebel again turns to fascist Spain and its effect on human beings, in a fine novel -- rich in characters, penetrating in analysis, thundering in its condemnation of evil. When Don Antolin returns to Spain after living in Britain as an English citizen since the Civil War, he found in his family the twisted refuse of corrupt Franco Spain. There is his wife, Luisa, who finds her escape from poverty and a purposeless existence in spiritualism; daughter Amelia, unstable, self-indulgent, the tool of a ruthless priest; son Pedro, a pimp and black marketer, who, ironically, supports his contemptuous family; son Juan a young and clicheed Communist, who is killed by the Falanges because of information supplied by Pedro. Don Antolin, passively honest, is caught up in a net of crime, graft and murder, and it is only through the influence of a corrupt black marketeer and the efforts of the medium Conchita, who loves him, that he is able to escape back to England with the little fiancee of murdered Juan. The action is fast, compelling, the glimpses of government graft, black shirt brutality, general poverty unforgettable, and the characters writhe out of the story like damned souls. Top-rate.

Pub Date: March 8th, 1951
Publisher: Harcourt, Brace