The novels follows the the fall out of the political imprisonment of Santiago via multiple narrators; Santiago himself, lachrymose and lonely and lingering in the confines of his cell and longing for freedom, Santiago’s wife Graciela and his friend Rolando-who eventually becomes Graciela’s lover, his daughter Beatriz and Don Rafael, his father. Santiago is the spoke on which all of the different narratives revolve and the primary focus of the novel, aside from the political injustices people were experiencing in Uruguay, was the impact imprisonment could have not just on the incarcerated, but on those around him.
Graciela is struggling not just with the loneliness of being deprived of Santiago’s company, but also of being seen solely via the prism of being the wife of a political prisoner. Rolando’s presence therefore acts as a welcome relief as Graciela if finally able to regain a sense of self. Beatriz’s narration gradually sheds the naivete and sense of sunniness which pervades it as she comes to better understand the cruelty and indifference of the world around here-a sense of isolation which is exacerbated by her often fraught and distant relationship with her mother-but further exacerbated about the situation she has been thrust in by the acts of others.
In many ways Beatriz’s development echoes that of Santiago’s, for whom the freedom he has so longed for will soon turn to bitterness as he realises the springtime he has been expecting will turn into a winter of regret as he realises he longer has a place in a world which has long moved past him. ‘Springtime in a Broken Mirror’ is a skilfully told story which explores not so much imprisonment itself, but the consequences it can have on others.