An extraordinary story of love and exile, from one of the great masters of the Latin American novel, translated into English for the first time
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.
'Perhaps that moment had been exceptional, but still, I felt alive. That pressure on my chest means being alive.'
Forty-nine, with a kind face, no serious ailments (apart from varicose veins on his ankles), a good salary and three moody children, widowed accountant Martín Santomé is about to retire. He assumes he'll take up gardening, or the guitar, or whatever retired people do. What he least expects is to fall passionately in love with his shy young employee Laura Avellaneda. As they embark upon an affair, happy and irresponsible, Martín begins to feel the weight of his quiet existence lift - until, out of nowhere, their joy is cut short.
The intimate, heartbreaking diary of an ordinary man who is reborn when he falls in love one final time, this beloved Latin American novel has been translated into twenty languages and sold millions of copies worldwide, and is now published in Penguin Classics for the first time.
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."