Bernardo and the Virgin: A Novel

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Northwestern University Press, 2005 - Fiction - 446 pages
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In 1980, with the Sandinistas newly in power, tailor and pig farmer Bernardo Martinez witnesses an extraordinary thing: an otherworldly glow about the statue of the Virgin Mary in the church where he works as sacristán. Soon the Holy Virgin appears. She tells Bernardo to forget his money problems and fear of ridicule and spread her message of peace and faith to his neighbors. Though a work of fiction, Bernardo and the Virgin is based on actual events in Bernardo Martinez's life. The visitation of the Virgin Mary at Cuapa, Nicaragua, remains one of the few such events accepted by the Roman Catholic Church in the last sixty years.

Silvio Sirias' sweeping novel tells many stories: that of a humble man touched by the transcendent; that same man as a devout boy denied the priesthood because of poverty; and those in his orbit, past and present. It is also the stormy epic of Nicaragua through the long Somoza years to the Sandinista revolution. Sirias' beautiful language mixes English with Spanish and details of dusty village life with wondrous images of Catholic mysticism. His portrayal of the rich recent past of Central America resonates with the experiences of both the natives and the thriving communities of Nicaraguans, Salvadorans, and others putting down roots in the United States.

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User Review  - booksfordeb - LibraryThing

Bernardo and the Virgin is based on “actual events—in the eyes of many”. It is a book about miracles juxtaposed against the backdrop of revolution. The story begins in 1980 as the Sandinistas have ... Read full review


Radix Sancta The Holy Root of Salvation
Visio Opprobii The Apparition of the Reproach

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About the author (2005)

Silvio Sirias was born in Los Angeles and he grew up there and in Nicaragua. His other works include writing Julia Alvarez: A Critical Literary Companion (Greenwood, 2002), editing Salomón de la Selva's Tropical Town and Other Poems (Arte Público Press, 1999), and co-editing Conversations with Rudolfo Anaya (University Press of Mississippi, 1998). Sirias is currently an associate professor at Florida State University-Panama.

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