The Jaguar Smile: A Nicaraguan Journey written by Salman Rushdie, is a non-fiction book that gives the reader insight to the internal turmoil taking place in the nation of Nicaragua. Salman Rushdie is a British-Indian novelist who gained his fame for his fantastical novels about the post-colonial relationship between cultures of the East and West. Rushdie became interested in Nicaraguan affairs when the Regan administration started its “war” against Nicaragua. “I was myself the child of a successful revolt against a great power, my consciousness the product of the triumph of the Indian Revolution” (p.4). Rushdie made his trip to Nicaragua in July of 1986. He came to know a wide range of people, from the President to the everyday citizens. His perceptions were always heightened by his sensitivity and his unique flair for language. “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” (p.5). In this book Rushdie brings us the true Nicaragua where nothing is simple, everything is contested, and life-or-death struggles are an everyday occurrence.
The central theme of the book is almost immediately realized. Rushdie talks about how in order to understand the living, it is necessary to first understand the dead. This is a powerful statement because it gives you an idea of how many lives were lost during the Nicaraguan Revolution. He immediately follows this statement by describing in great detail the presence of the toppled statue of the ex-dictator Anastasio Somoza Debayle. This contributes to the image that Nicaragua is a nation in shambles after the constant turmoil of the past.
Rushdie spends a lot of his time in Nicaragua with members of the Frente Sandinista de Liberacion Nacional, otherwise known as the FSLN. The FSLN was the group that led the campaign in the revolution against the Somoza dictatorship. They then proceeded to govern from...
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