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The Country Under My Skin: A Memoir of Love and Warby Gioconda Belli
Synopses & Reviews
An electrifying memoir from the acclaimed Nicaraguan writer ("A wonderfully free and original talent" — Harold Pinter) and central figure in the Sandinista Revolution.
Until her early twenties, Gioconda Belli inhabited an upper-class cocoon: sheltered from the poverty in Managua in a world of country clubs and debutante balls; educated abroad; early marriage and motherhood. But in 1970, everything changed. Her growing dissatisfaction with domestic life, and a blossoming awareness of the social inequities in Nicaragua, led her to join the Sandinistas, then a burgeoning but still hidden organization. She would be involved with them over the next twenty years at the highest, and often most dangerous, levels.
Her memoir is both a revelatory insider's account of the Revolution and a vivid, intensely felt story about coming of age under extraordinary circumstances. Belli writes with both striking lyricism and candor about her personal and political lives: about her family, her children, the men in her life; about her poetry; about the dichotomies between her birth-right and the life she chose for herself; about the failures and triumphs of the Revolution; about her current life, divided between California (with her American husband and their children) and Nicaragua; and about her sustained and sustaining passion for her country and its people.
"Belli's upper-class Nicaraguan family was unsympathetic to the Somoza dictatorship, but would have been shocked to learn that their 20-something daughter was joining the underground Sandinistas....The account is both intensely personal and informatively political." Publishers Weekly
"A poetic, penetrating and revelatory tale of love and war, literature and politics...lyrical, dramatic and incisive, Belli's soulful self-portrait and paean to her beautiful, beleagured country is at once timely and timeless, tragic and life-affirming." The Chicago Tribune
"The poet and novelist Gioconda Belli has written no ordinary memoir. This book is about American history, North and South; about power and the seeds of revolution; about one woman's life and choices entangled among many lives — and deaths — expended in the unkillable hope for human freedom and love. If her life seems romantic, she writes with the strength and clarity of a realist." Adrienne Rich
"Belli recalls with engaging candor the course of a life lived to the full. In its twist and turns, moments of danger followed by intense romantic encounters, Belli's memoir can resemble exuberant historical fiction....A luminously written, always insightful account of one woman's encounter with personal and political liberation." Kirkus Reviews
"Gioconda Belli has had a unique place in modern Nicaraguan history....[Her] progress through her various love affairs mirrors Nicaragua's history during the same period....Introduces us to an astute veteran of two eternal wars, one between the sexes and one that pits the world's poor against its rich." The New York Review of Books
"This is the best autobiography I've read in years: a passionate, lyrical, tough-minded account of an extraordinary life in art, revolution and love. It's a book to relish, to read and re-read. Unforgettable." Salman Rushdie
"Few writers have spoken so frankly about love, sex, childbearing and childrearing and the intimate connection of these issues with the wider political arena of war, revolution and the search for power. In this way Belli shows the emotional strata underlying events that shaped relations between the United States and Central America." Ana Cristina Rossi, author of Maria and the Night and the Mad Woman of Gandoca
About the Author
Gioconda Belli's poetry and fiction have been published in many languages. Her first novel, The Inhabited Woman, was an international best-seller; her collection of poems, Linea de fuego, won the prestigious Casa de las Americas Prize in 1978. She lives in Santa Monica and Managua.
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