Arturo Barea’s The Broken Root: fictional destiempo and imagined autobiography
The Broken Root by Arturo Barea — a novel in which the author imagines the return to his homeland after ten years in exile — is considered a fictional continuation of the famous autobiographical trilogy The Forging of a Rebel.
The analysis of The Broken Root and the knowledge of Barea’s biography allow for the observation that in the novel the so-called destiempo, that is the sense of strangeness experienced by the migrants returning home, is fictional. The protagonist — Antolin — a persona inspired by the writer himself, allows the author to “experience”, or actually to imagine his meeting with the family that remained in Spain. In this way he creates a hypothetical / imagined autobiography that helps him overcome the longing for homeland and the sense of guilt over abandoning the family. The events are fictional, yet probable, but the feelings expressed by the protagonist seem to reflect the real feelings of the author.