Against the Inquisition

AmazonCrossing. Jul. 2018. tr. from Spanish by Carolina De Robertis. 636p. ISBN 9781503949263. pap. $16.95; ebk. ISBN 9781503933842. LITERARY/HISTORICAL
OrangeReviewStarVeteran Argentine author Aguinas, the first non-Spaniard to win the coveted Planeta Prize, writes the book of a lifetime, a big, booming, open-hearted saga on a deadly serious topic—the Spanish Inquisition in Latin America—inspired by his having learned at age seven that his grandfather and remaining family members perished in the Holocaust. Many readers will be surprised to discover how fiercely the Inquisition burned in the New World, but Francisco Maldonado da Silva certainly understood. Born in what is now Argentina in 1592, da Silva, a real-life figure graciously portrayed here, was a child when his father was arrested for secretly maintaining the family's Jewish religion. Francisco was educated at a monastery, became a respected doctor, yet continued seeking his father and his ancient faith, eventually ending up imprisoned for 12 years before being burned at the stake.
VERDICT Both strong historical chronicle and spirited defense of the right to believe, presented in straightforward language appropriate for the widest range of readers.
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