Read Bernardo and the Virgin: A Novel by Silvio Sirias Online


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 neighboIn 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....

Title : Bernardo and the Virgin: A Novel
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9780810124271
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 464 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Bernardo and the Virgin: A Novel Reviews

  • Leslie
    2019-03-08 16:35

    At the beginning of the book is the inscription, ” This work of fiction is based on actual events – in the eyes of many.” For so many the apparitions of the virgin are real events and this book does a wonderful job of exploring all sorts of people, from those who believe unconditionally in the visions to those who question them. I also loved the inscription in the painting on the front of the book, ” Dios encontrara una boca que te diga lo que necesitas oir.” God will find a mouth to tell you what you need to hear. That sums up so well what this novel is doing and how I feel about visions like this. I don’t know if it is god in any sense as we understand the word, but the most important thing was that these people were touched and affected by what Bernardo saw. Their lives were made better for it and that is what’s important.I’m sure some people will be wondering if this is a Christian novel and I think that it could be read that way, but it is much more than that and shouldn’t be defined by that. It is a story of the history of Nicaragua and how religion was intertwined in that history. It is a story of a humble man and the people he becomes connected with. I really cannot recommend this novel enough, it’s beautiful, well-written and a delight to read.

  • Jeruen
    2019-02-23 16:21

    Every once in a while, I pick up a piece of historical fiction, and it usually turns out to be a good piece that I wish it never ended. This is one such book.This is the story of Bernardo Martinez, a tailor from Nicaragua, who claimed that in 1980, while Nicaragua was in the midst of a civil war, the Virgin Mary appeared to him. The virgin appeared several times, and Bernardo was given the task to propagate the message of the importance of praying the rosary to the Nicaraguans. The tale narrates the various difficulties and challenges that Bernardo had to face, including persecution from the Sandinistas, who wanted to silence him, and the apprehension of the Catholic Church with respect to his visions, mostly because he wasn't the most educated man in Nicaragua.With respect to the plot, I have nothing bad to say. The author made a great job of writing a novel out of a historical fact. I am not a believer when it comes to the apparition, but I do respect the way other people construct their truth. Bernardo Martinez really existed, and for him, what he saw was the truth. I do not contest that. Truth for me is relative, and we can have contradicting truths because we construct our reality in differing ways. And the events that surrounded the apparition gave the author a lot of material to construct this wonderfully written historical novel.The novel itself was written in a post-modern style. Every chapter had a different narrator. Somehow, I tended to pick novels in this style; My Name is Red by Orhan Pamuk, which I read recently, was also of this style. But somehow I think this novel did a better job with respect to this style. After all, having the various different narrators provided the reader with access as to the various different opinions and points of view with respect to the affair of the apparition.Another aspect of the novel that I liked is the non-linear aspect of narration. For every chapter, there was a date, and the story ran from 1931 to 2000, but it was not chronologically organized. Instead, it was divided into three parts: Innocence, War, and Peace. It was more of a triptych, with three parts spanning various moments in the life of Bernardo Martinez.Finally, I liked the way the author gave me access to the Nicaraguan lifestyle. I have not been to Nicaragua, so I have no idea how the natives live, but this book was vivid enough to let me glean that from the text. It provided a very nice access to the scenery, and my imagination was more than happy to deal with it.All in all, I was impressed with this book. I was glad that I picked it up from the library. It provided me with a glimpse of Central America, letting me visit that place in a vicarious manner.

  • Bernie
    2019-03-19 16:32

    I found this book in at a used book sale. The general fiction books were three for a dollar. I had selected the other two and needed one more. While rummaging through a box, trying to find one more book, I pulled Bernardo and the Virgin . I read the inside cover blurb and decided it was worth the 33.3 cents.The book revolves around the true event of the appearance of the Virgin Mary to one Bernardo Martinez in Nicaragua in the 1980s, just before the Sandinista revolution. The book covers the sweep of history of Bernardo’s life from childhood to his final days but not in chronological order. His life is told from the points of view of those who interacted with him throughout his life. Soldiers, revolutionist, Sandinistas, priests, members of his village and many others have stories of their own that are affected by Bernardo and through them we get a glimpse of his life. This is not just a story about the apparitions of the Virgin it is also a story about Nicaragua during a turbulent time, it is a story about the church and its place in the lives of Nicaraguans, it is a story about the rise of the Sandinistas, it is a story of the toppling of the Somoza regime but most importantly it is a story of the struggle of the Nicaraguan people, whose lives are impacted by the influence of the church, the political regime and the poverty of their rural way of life. This book is a page turner. It is entertaining, funny, sad, inspiring, enlightening. The author uses English and Spanish, to convey many key phrases that are unique in meaning to the Hispanic culture. This is one of the best books I have read so far this year.

  • Nayel Martinez
    2019-03-03 13:30

    Tengo que decir que soy muy creyente de las apariciones de la Virgen de Cuapa, "I'm a believer" como diría el libro. So, no es una gran sorpresa que el libro me guste, pero sí es sorpresa en el sentido de que está escrito en inglés, porque para mí el español es lo mejor para leerse y escribirse. Tengo que admitir que refleja parte de la historia de Nica, y lo hace bien, pero me parece que se deja ir sólo por el lado anti sandinais. Y hubo un par de frases como la de las hilachas de mango en los dientes que me encantaron, pero la de "how loud Nicaraguans can be", me gustó la primera vez y me sacó una gran sonrisa, ya a la cuarta me había aburrido. That's the true. Es mi primer libro en inglés, y fue la mejor elección para ello, sobretodo por el spanglish (que me gusta).

  • Lucy Pollard-Gott
    2019-02-23 12:38

    Sirias chose to report his research on the Marian Apparition at Cuapa, Nicaragua in the form of a novel, which is also a prism for viewing the political turmoil of that country through many different eyes. It is a memorable, sometimes disturbing, experience to read it, and like me, you may want to discover even more about the real Bernardo Martinez and his exemplary life.

  • Jennifer O'leary
    2019-03-09 14:22

    I actually loved this book. It was a beautiful rendition of an actual event of the Virgin Mary appearing to a man in Nicaragua and the backdrop of this happening amidst the Revolution in the 1980's. It was historical fiction, but gave insight into the politics, the history, the people and the faith of Nicaragua.

  • Josh
    2019-03-07 18:37

    I had the opportunity to go to Nicaragua recently and wanted to read a book about the country while I was there. I ran across this novel by Mr. Sirias. I am not Catholic, but I found the view of the county, its people and history found in this book to be pretty interesting.

  • Teresa Carbajal Ravet
    2019-02-27 15:42

    Read my review @