“(1884-1963) Chilean novelist and short-story writer. After wandering throughout Latin America and working at a variety of jobs, Barrios settled in Santiago, where he served in the 1920s as minister of education and director of the national library. His mastery of the psychological tale is especially evident in his portrayal of hypersensitive personalities. Such is the ten-year-old protagonist of the novelette El nino que enloquecio de amor (1915), who falls in love with one of his mother’s friends. The hero of Un perdido (1917) is an overwrought weakling who, unable to cope with reality, finds refuge in alcohol. Barrios’s best work is probably El hermano asno (1922; tr Brother Ass, 1942), which deals with the inner conflicts of Brother Lazaro and Brother Rufino, two Franciscan monks. Gran senor y rajadiablos (1948) follows Jose Pedro Valverde, one of literature’s most strongly drawn characters, through a life centered mostly on a large fundo (ranch). Barrios’s last novel, Los hombres del hombre (1950), is a lyrical story of sexual jealousy and insecurity in family life.”
Excerpted from: Murphy, Bruce, ed. Benet’s Reader’s Encyclopedia, Fourth Edition. New York: Harper Collins, 1996.