Sense of Place
Stars: El Salvador
Fiction and Nonfiction TitlesAnnotations are from Advance, the Ingram Book Magazine, unless noted.
- A Shot in the Cathedral
Author: Benecastro, Mario
Publisher: Arte $ 18.95 ISBN: 155885164X Date: 1996
Not a propagandistic nor partisan view of the civil war in El Salvador, A Shot in the Cathedral is remarkable for its sensitivity, restraint and poetic vision of the tragic and inhuman events and actions that polarized not only the people of that Central American nation but also those of the United States, Latin America and Europe
- Bitter Grounds
Publisher: Hyperion List Price: $ 22.95 ISBN: 0786861576 Date: 1997
From the author of A Place Where the Sea Remembers comes a powerful saga chronicling three generations of Salvadoran women who are connected by a scorching secret. When finally a letter comes to light that has remained unopened for 26 years, its impact resounds in uneexpected ways. Epic in scope, richly steeped in history, as well as bringing to life the emotions and experiences of those who lived through these cataclysmic times, Benitez's poetic yet unsentimental novel will move and astonish its readers.
Suggested Reading: Latino/Latina Stars
- The Weight
of All Things
Author: Benitez, Sandra
Publisher: Hyperion $ 22.95 ISBN: 0786863994 Date: 2001
The last time young Nicholas saw his mother, she was hit by gunfire in a crowded plaza while attending the funeral of a martyred archbishop in war-torn El Salvador. Watching her body dragged away with other victims, Nicholas believes his mother is alive, and vows to find her. Thus begins the young boy's harrowing journey through his war-ravaged country.
Suggested Reading: Latino/Latina Stars
- A Book of Common Prayer
Author: Didion, Joan
Publisher: Simon & Schuster $ 8.95 ISBN: 0671224913 Date: 1977
In this Conradian masterpiece of American innocence and evil set in the fictional Central American country of Boca Grande, two American women face the harsh realities, political and personal, of living on the edge in a land with an uncertain future. Writing with her signature telegraphic swiftness, the author creates a terrifying commentary on an age of conscienceless authority.
- A Fire in the Earth
Author: Villatoro, Marcos McPeek
Publisher: Arte $ 24.95 ISBN: 1558850945 Date: 1996
This moving novel captures the trials of El Salvador during the first three decades of this century, setting the stage for the tragedies of the last twenty years. Fast-paced, yet poetic, this epic novel is a monument to the people of El Salvador and a page turner that invites no interruption. - Publisher Marketing.
- Ah, Treachery!
Author: Thomas, Ross
Publisher: Mysterious $ 21.95 ISBN: 0892964529 Date: 1994
From the author the New York Times Book Review called "America's best storyteller" comes a new novel of intrigue, deception, politics and passion that stretches from Sheridan, Wyoming, to L.A., to El Salvador, to the power corridors of the Democratic Party. Acclaimed author Thomas also wrote Voodoo, Ltd., Out on the Rim and 20 other novels.
- The Massacre at El Mozote: A Parable of the Cold War
Author: Danner, Mark
Publisher: Vintage $ 13.95 ISBN: 067975525x Date: 1994
In December 1981 soldiers of the Salvadoran Army's select, American-trained Atlacatl Battalion entered the village of El Mozote, where they murdered hundreds of men, women, and children, often by decapitation. Although reports of the massacre -- and photographs of its victims -- appeared in the United States, the Reagan administration quickly dismissed them as propaganda. In the end, El Mozote was forgotten. The war in El Salvador continued, with American funding.
When Mark Danner's reconstruction of these events first appeared in "The New Yorker", it sent shock waves through the news media and the American foreign-policy establishment. Now Danner has expanded his report into a brilliant book, adding new material as well as the actual sources. He has produced a masterpiece of scrupulous investigative journalism that is also a testament to the forgotten victims of a neglected theater of the cold war.
- Still in Love in Strange Places: A Memoir
Author: Kephart, Beth
Publisher: Norton $ 24.95 ISBN: 0393050742 Date: 2002
"An exquisite gift, a poet's text on love, travel, spiritual sustenance, and the dark magic of El Salvador." - Publisher Marketing.
For Younger Readers
- Grab Hands and Run
Author: Temple, Frances
Publisher: Orchard $ 15.95 ISBN: 0531054802 Date: 1993
Felipe is 12, his sister Romy eight, when his father "disappears" from home in El Salvador. The children and their young mother flee for their lives but to new troubles as refugees in Guatemala, then Mexico, Texas, and at last Wisconsin. This work of fiction was inspired by the stories of a Salvadoran family who lived with the author's family while waiting for Canadian citizenship.
Grades: 5+ Category: Fiction
Annotated lists of books receiving at least one starred review from one of four major review sources: Booklist, Kirkus, LJ and PW.