IN SEARCH OF BERNABE

By Graciela Limon
Houston: Arte Publico Press, 1993
ISBN # 1-55885-073-2
161 pages

Comments by Bob Corbett
October 2008

A brilliant, sad, honest story set in the civil war in El Salvador in 1980s-90s.

Graciela Limon creates four central characters of depth and believability in presenting key types from the period a mother searching for her lost son, the son himself who is a member of the revolution, a colonel of the Salvadoran army and an American Catholic priest who doubles as an arms dealer. Each character is marvelously complex, challenging and vibrantly real.

Given that the colonel and revolutionary are brothers and sons of the woman, this creates a world-historic element to the family drama which far surpasses the civil war situation.

The American priest/arms dealer enters the novel in the later stages, but is a key figuring raising the question of guilt, moral responsibility and the human decision as to repent or not repent. He is a complex if nearly insane character.

The novel is gripping; the ending surprising even if fully logical to what has preceded it. Graciela Limon writes with great passion and sensitivity.

I highly praise and recommend this novel.

Bob Corbett corbetre@webster.edu

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Bob Corbett corbetre@webster.edu