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Critical Context

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Last Updated on May 7, 2015, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 158

One Day of Life was Manlio Argueta’s third book, but his first one to address in such direct fashion the social conditions in El Salvador. He is known principally as a poet, and critics have commented favorably on this book with respect to his lyricism, his poetic and moving imagery, and the authentic flavor of the vernacular language. Yet they have also found the characterizations flat and the story line thin, as is often the case with novels of social and political protest. The book was first published in 1980 in El Salvador and quickly excited so much interest there that Argueta was forced into exile and the book was banned. Since then, it has been translated and published in Italy, Germany, the Netherlands, and the United States. Argueta was not known widely outside his own country prior to the publication of this book, which has established him as a new and dynamic voice in Central American literature.

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