A Shot in the Cathedral

A Shot in the Cathedral

by Mario Bencastro
     
 

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FOLLOWING A COUP D'ETAT in El Salvador and the establishment of martial law, the new ruling junta turns to the United States for support to quell public demonstrations and combat guerrillas in the mountains. One man, a religious leader, takes the initiative to protest the military rule and the U.S. aid He is silenced with a bullet.

Not a propagandistic no partisan

Overview

FOLLOWING A COUP D'ETAT in El Salvador and the establishment of martial law, the new ruling junta turns to the United States for support to quell public demonstrations and combat guerrillas in the mountains. One man, a religious leader, takes the initiative to protest the military rule and the U.S. aid He is silenced with a bullet.

Not a propagandistic no partisan view of the strife, A Shot in the Cathedral is remarkable for its sensitivity, restraint and poetic vision of the tragic and inhuman events and actions that polarized not only the people of El Salvador but also those of the United States, Latin America and Europe.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Originally published in Mexico in 1990, Bencastro's dramatic, powerful first novel focuses on the military coup d'etat in El Salvador in 1979, and the new ruling junta's brutal repression of the people through massacres of peasants, political assassinations and the kidnapping, torture and execution of tens of thousands of students, workers and ordinary citizens. Its young, idealistic narrator, newspaper reporter and painter Rogelio Villaverde, returns to El Salvador from the U.S. to search for his parents and two brothers, who, he later learns, have fled to Honduras. His girlfriend, Lourdes, a poet and teacher of fiercely proud Mayan ancestry, goes underground to avoid capture by the police. His boss, Dominguez, arrested and beaten by government security forces, is saved at the last minute, only to see the newspaper offices bombed. The plot highlights a real-life figure, Nobel Peace Prize nominee Archbishop Oscar Romero, voice of the oppressed, who was assassinated during a mass in 1980 after protesting the U.S. government's aid to the right-wing regime. Bencastro, a native of El Salvador who has lived in Virginia since 1978, interpolates news bulletins, letters, poems and Romero's homilies into the narrative to create a vivid newsreel of a country disintegrating. (Sept.)
Kirkus Reviews
Shot In The Cathedral ( Sept. 1, 1996; 220 pp.; 1-55885- 164-X): A skillful balance between journalistic reportage and a subjective focus on the lives of ordinary people afflicted by political upheaval distinguishes this otherwise familiar (and somewhat melodramatic) picture of El Salvador under siege in the late 1970s. The suspension of civil rights by a right-wing military regime and the persecution of a populist archbishop are crucial elements in a vivid and engrossing sequence of events whose deeply involved observer—an average man who unaccountably becomes both newspaper reporter and hero—makes powerfully real for us the human dimensions of war's phlegmatic impersonality.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781558851641
Publisher:
Arte Publico Press
Publication date:
09/01/1996
Edition description:
New Edition
Pages:
224
Product dimensions:
5.79(w) x 8.81(h) x 0.85(d)

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