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Latin American and Spanish Literature

One Day of Life

One Day of Life by Manlio Argueta

5:30 A.M. in Chalate, a small rural town: Lupe, the grandmother of the Guardado family and the central figure of the novel, is up and about doing her chores. By 5:00 P.M. the plot of the novel has been resolved, with the Civil Guard's search for and interrogation of Lupe's young granddaughter, Adolfina. 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.

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