THE TREE OF LIFE: Stories of Civil War by Mario Bencastro

THE TREE OF LIFE: Stories of Civil War

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Fifteen stories about the effects of El Salvador's brutal civil war (1979-92), from the journalist and novelist previously known for A Shot in the Cathedral (1996). A kind of passive pantheism suffuses these grim tales, whose characters are uniformly helpless victims, and whose sufferings are conveyed in a monotonous narrative voice that may be in part the result of an indifferent translation. Here and there, Bencastro strikes sparks--in a ""Romeo and Juliet""--like tale of thwarted young love (""Once Upon a River""), and especially in the magical-realist metaphoric power of the collection's vivid central image: a tree that gathers unto itself the bodies of the dead and restores them to life and safety within its body.

Pub Date: May 15th, 1997
ISBN: 1558851860
Page count: 128pp
Publisher: Arte P£blico