Silent Wing Critical Overview
by Jose Raul Bernardo

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Critical Overview

(Literature of Developing Nations for Students)

The historical romance Silent Wing is author José Raúl Bernardo's second novel. Upon publication it was well-received, especially by those readers who have an appreciation for the depth and complexity of the life of Jose Julian Marti. Concerned with such themes as Honor and Truth, Freedom and Tyranny, Love and Promises Made, Bernardo views a story hardly removed by time. The political questions raised could be applied today in several parts of the world, including modern Cuba. Yet, Bernardo does not limit his narrative to such compelling themes. He touches upon passion and desire as well. Brad Hooper, a contributor in Booklist called it a "greatly atmospheric historical novel’’ which ‘‘opens with a heartwarming scene." That is the brief scene in which Sol is instructed to go to the small church and implore a vision of her future love. Hooper recommended the novel, describing it as "compelling’’ from the first to last page. Although a contributor in Publishers Weekly considered Marti's life "more dramatic and eventful" than Bernardo's novel, a contributor in Library Journal noted its ‘‘sentimental romance’’ qualities. The latter contributor also pointed out that the novel was published during the "centenary year of Cuban sovereignty.’’ Thomas Curwen, a contributor in the Los Angeles Times emphasized Bernardo's focus on a ‘‘moment in Marti's life’’ has ‘‘turned a political life into a love story, making it clear that only a thin line separates the two. One leads to misery, the other to an early grave.’’ Curwen summed up the tone of Bernardo's novel when he stated, ‘‘More than the life of Jose Marti, we get a glimpse of his poetry and a touch of his anguished soul.’’