The novel is set in Chalatenango , El Salvador and follows the daily life of Guadalupe Guardado and the women of her family just prior to the Salvadoran Civil War. Argueta spent over 20 years exiled in Costa Rica following arrests for his involvement in political activity against the government. The Salvadoran newspaper El Diario de Hoy expressed doubt in the nomination. Other critics expressed disapproval of Argueta's novel being selected higher than popular writers like Ernesto Sabato and Alejo Carpentier.
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Return to Book Page. One Day of Life by Manlio Argueta ,. Bill Brow Translator. Awesome for the authenticity of its vernacular style and the incandescence of its lyricism, One Day of Life depicts a typical day in the life of a peasant family caught up in the terror and corruption of civil war in El Salvador.
By P. Told entirely from the perspective of the resilient women of the Guardado family, One Day of Life is not only a disturbing and inspiring evocation of the harsh realities of peasant life in El Salvador after fifty years of military exploitation; it is also a mercilessly accurate dramatization of the relationship of the peasants to both the state and the church. Translated from the Spanish by Bill Brow Get A Copy. Paperback , pages. Published January 9th by Vintage first published More Details Original Title.
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Community Reviews. Showing Average rating 3. Rating details. More filters. Sort order. Start your review of One Day of Life. Oct 29, Fabian rated it it was amazing. The stories of horror plus the very acceptable way in which they are told It is realism truly too real to escape or ignore.
This translation evokes that Otherness. Even the title is mistranslated! But in th The stories of horror plus the very acceptable way in which they are told But in this instance in El Salvador. Though its not too hard to see parallels between these miseries and our own, dictatorship now not an act of fiction. View 1 comment. Dec 31, David rated it did not like it Shelves: wrist-slashingly-depressing , emotionally-manipulative , read-in , utter-dreck.
Though I have no doubt that atrocities were committed in El Salvador, it seems entirely probable that this happened on both sides, a complication that this book never even contemplates.
I despise this kind of agitprop masquerading as literature, wherein the reader is manipulated to feel badly for not having the appropriate reaction to the author's button-pushing. If you enjoy being played like a cheap violin, this shameless exercise in emotional manipulation may be for you. If you ask for a little more in your reading, then give it a miss.
View all 8 comments. Oct 16, Nathan "N. Seriously folks ; this was in every Used Bookshop there for a while. Absolutely everywhere. So of course I took no interest in it. Lesson not necessarily learned given that it's probably not a very good novel. We'll see. We did see and it's not a bad novel la at all. You can read it in an afternoon. A topical piece about the kinds of violence our policy makers supported back in the '80s, this one set in El Salv Seriously folks ; this was in every Used Bookshop there for a while.
A topical piece about the kinds of violence our policy makers supported back in the '80s, this one set in El Salvador. It's pretty brutal. But what you read is a Rising Up. And a crushing down. And no kidding, it's the kind of stuff RURD is simply built for.
As topical, those of a certain political stripe will call it propaganda, which it is, but propaganda for the good guys. Aesthetically, the prose is more or less that of the illiterate uneducated peasants who variously narrate the novel ; the passing of the 'I' from one character to another provides for adequate structural interest. Even if you see it absolutely everywhere, don't hesitate to pick up a copy. You know, tolle, lege. Mar 21, Karlo Mikhail rated it really liked it Shelves: novels.
El Salvador in the s. Written in the simple and direct language of the ordinary people, this powerful novel describes one day in the life of a peasant family that is at once oppressed by the US-sponsored military dictatorship and ready to resist these very forces that have kept them in the dark.
Written in , One Day of Life takes place sometime in the mids in El Salvador, and details the unrest of the rural communities which preceded that country's civil war. The book's primary voice, Guadalupe Guardado, speaks about her day, beginning in the predawn, and continuing throughout the day. At first there is a sense of being alive, but as the day goes on, more and more of the injustice and horror that she experiences is revealed.
Interspersed between the description of Lupe's day are Written in , One Day of Life takes place sometime in the mids in El Salvador, and details the unrest of the rural communities which preceded that country's civil war. Interspersed between the description of Lupe's day are accounts from various other personalities, including Lupe's granddaughter, her grown daughter, an unnamed police officer trained by the U. Together, the two strains of narrative combine to highlight the tragedy of this family--and, by extension, the rural population of El Salvador.
A reader more attuned to the history of El Salvador, or someone familiar with the politics of the time might not have this problem--in some ways, for me, it was like trying to catch a moving train.
But aside from that, the introductory chapters with their attention to the peasant way of life were not very eventful. This starts to change toward the end of the book, and it's an unfortunate fact that what makes the story more gripping is the tragedy that was no doubt true in a general sense if not the particular.
A few years ago, I read a very similar book, published only a year after this one, called El Infierno , by Carlos Martinez Moreno, which dealt with the struggles between the government of Uruguay and the Tupamaro guerrillas.
While One Day of Life did try to personalize the tragedy by placing the character of Lupe foremost as a kind of center around which to build the narrative, both novels rely heavily on vignettes to communicate the events, vignettes which seem to be the anonymous voices of survivors who just want someone to hear their story.
The fractured style of these novels, with their disrupted timelines, their disembodied voices, and their atrocities, may actually be the best way to intimate the confusion and sorrow of the time, regardless of literary merit. It may be a bit difficult for someone not entirely familiar with the history to catch on at first, but they are certainly effective at communicating the tragedy of that time.
A simple story, a simple style. Poignant and charming, even though the events recounted are harrowing. In spite of them, there are moments of humor, just as there is in real life. Jul 10, Daniel Polansky added it Shelves: fiction. I appreciated this more frankly for the 12 hours in the lives of a brutalized peasant family during the civil war in El Salvador. I appreciated this more frankly for the moral weight than its actual aesthetic. Dec 25, Giuseppe rated it it was amazing Recommends it for: historians, activists, the-strong-willed.
This book with its lyrical, raw, angry and jubilant writing style follows the extended family and community of an El Salvadorian town which has been repressed by the state and helped by the church during El Salvador's brutal civil war, made famous by figures such as Archbishop Romero. Though the story took place close to 25 years ago the situation surrounding it has not changed drastically; state sanctioned terror in El Salvador has not ceased, we in the northern "America" merely hear about it less.
Throughout the novel, which takes place over a single day, the tone changes from tranquil, to agitated, and gently into simple flashes of jubilation, jumping to celebration, to action and finally to hope with triumph in the face of dangerous and murderous adversity: The State of El Salvador.
The family discusses their love for each other, folk superstition, their knowledge of human rights as they are written in the El Salvadorian Constitution which they had no concept of previously and their need to fight for what they now know, their relationship to "God", the church and the importance its' role plays in their lives.
This novel's narrative transcends the adversity to deliver a message of hope and celebration, despite the brutal climate they find themselves in. A Priest is beaten to within an inch of his life, sodomized with a stick, and left for dead at the side of a road by the Salvadorian National Guard.
I enjoyed it thoroughly. I read it in less than a week lazily loafing about as I house sat. I would suggest this book to anyone who believes in the freedom and inherent worth of the human spirit.
International Banned Book Pick: One Day of Life by Manlio Argueta
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One Day of Life
One Day Of Life