WHEN THE OWL CRIES by Paul Bartlett


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Petaca has been the hacienda of the Medinas for many generations, and within its feudal walls palm and primavera and jacaranda grow; buzzards fly overhead- and so do bats; and in the near distance, is the volcano silent for many years, now showing threatening signs of activity. Equally threatening is the Mexico of 1910- just before the revolution, and the schism between the old and the new is paralleled within the household of the Medinas. Fernando Medina, 79, bedridden with a stroke, cannot tolerate the ""radical"" ways of his son Don Raul who hopes to pacify the peons- but is shot by a troublemaker (partly instigated by the old man). Many disasters overtake this family before the final attack on the hacienda to which the volcano adds its destruction; their child, Caterina, dies of dysentery; Angelina, Raul's wife, always withdrawn, loses all contact with reality; Fernando dies, after the second quake; but Raul is left with something--- the love of Lucienne, his mistress- and his son.... A first novel of many sombre to vivid, gentle to violent, moods and scenes-- so that without developing the characters to any great extent, it offers a drama of spasmodic incidents against a striking setting.

Pub Date: May 16th, 1960
Publisher: Macmillan