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The Jaguar Smile
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"I did not go to Nicaragua intending to write a book, or, indeed, to write at all: but my encounter with the place affected me so deeply that in the end I had no choice." So notes Salman Rushdie in his first work of nonfiction, a book as imaginative and meaningful as his acclaimed novels. In The Jaguar Smile, Rushdie paints a brilliantly sharp and haunting portrait of the people, the politics, the terrain, and the poetry of "a country in which the ancient, opposing forces of creation and destruction were in violent collision." Recounting his travels there in 1986, in the midst of America's behind-the-scenes war against the Sandinistas, Rushdie reveals a nation resounding to the clashes between government and individuals, history and morality.
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About the Author

Salman Rushdie is the author of twelve novels--Grimus, Midnight's Children (for which he won the Booker Prize and the Best of the Booker), Shame, The Satanic Verses, Haroun and the Sea of Stories, The Moor's Last Sigh, The Ground Beneath Her Feet, Fury, Shalimar the Clown, The Enchantress of Florence, Luka and the Fire of Life, and Two Years Eight Months and Twenty-Eight Nights--and one collection of short stories: East, West. He has also published four works of nonfiction--Joseph Anton, The Jaguar Smile, Imaginary Homelands, and Step Across This Line--and co-edited two anthologies, Mirrorwork and Best American Short Stories 2008. He is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters and a Distinguished Writer in Residence at New York University. A former president of PEN American Center, Rushdie was knighted in 2007 for services to literature.

Reviews

Bombay-born novelist Rushdie (Midnight's Children) visited Nicaragua in 1986 and here writes of poetry recitals, political rallies, meetings with peasants, soldiers and members of the opposition. PW noted that Rushdie believes the Sandinistas have made mistakes but that ``the Nicaraguan people have a right not to be `squashed' by the United States.'' (March)

Indian writer Rushdie adds his personal narrative to the crescendo of anti-contra books. He,too, finds little to support unbridled U.S. intervention in violation of international law (as interpreted by the International Court of Justice). Some of his arguments ring loud and clear: How could an oppressive and unpopular government dare to arm the civilian population as the Sandinistas have done? Where are the omnipresent photos of Lenin and Stalin so typical of ``red'' regimes? Isn't the United States engaged in another Chile or Vietnam-like debacle? In his view the Sandinistas see themselves as the saviors of Central American independence and the Nicaraguan people as struggling to maintain a measure of what they have gained. Rushdie writes well and the book is both amusing and informative. Recommended. Louise Leonard, Univ. of Florida Lib., Gainesville

"A vivid and probing introduction for perplexed outsiders trying to make sense of Nicaraguan dilemmas." " A masterpiece of sympathetic yet critical reporting... To say that it is a work of art is to take full note of its literary allusions, its uncompromising sensitivity to death and destruction, its ready political eye for the funny and grotesque, and above all its understated and gripping eloquence." -Edward W. Said "A masterpiece of sympathetic yet critical reporting... To say that it is a work of art is to take full note of its literary allusions, its uncompromising sensitivity to death and destruction, its ready political eye for the funny and grotesque, and above all its understated and gripping eloquence." -Edward W. Said "Stirring and original . . . It gives us a picture of the country in bright, patchwork colors unavailable in your usual journalistic dispatches."-The New York Times "A vivid and probing introduction for perplexed outsiders trying to make sense of Nicaraguan dilemmas."-Newsday "Extraordinary . . . a masterpiece of sympathetic yet critical reporting graced with [Rushdie's] marvelous wit, quietly assertive style, odd and yet always revealing experiences."-Edward W. Said Stirring and original . . . It gives us a picture of the country in bright, patchwork colors unavailable in your usual journalistic dispatches. " The New York Times" A vivid and probing introduction for perplexed outsiders trying to make sense of Nicaraguan dilemmas. " Newsday" Extraordinary . . . a masterpiece of sympathetic yet critical reporting graced with [Rushdie s] marvelous wit, quietly assertive style, odd and yet always revealing experiences. Edward W. Said" "Stirring and original. . .it gives us a picture of the country in bright, patchwork colors unavailable in your usual journalistic dispatches." --"The New York Times""A masterpiece of sympathetic yet critical reporting." --Edward W. Said "A vivid and probing introduction for perplexed outsiders trying to make sense of Nicaraguan dilemmas." --Dan Cryer, "Newsday"

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