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From The CriticsThe Barnes & Noble Review from Discover Great New Writers
What is it that makes a revolutionary? Few lives are as dangerous, exciting, or spellbinding as that of Giocanda Belli: wife, mother, acclaimed poet and novelist, and former Sandinista activist who played a prominent role in the overthrow of Nicaragua's dictatorship in 1979. And in The Country Under My Skin, she has produced a remarkable page-turner of a memoir.
Born to an upper-class Nicaraguan family, Belli married a similarly privileged young man at the age of 18 and soon started a family. But she quickly became frustrated with her sheltered domestic life and her husband's melancholic spirit. Falling in with a group of artistic bohemians, Belli developed a sincere desire to do away with class privilege and improve life for the Nicaraguan people. This quest led her to join the Sandinista guerrillas, who were intent on wresting power from the tyranny of the Somoza regime.
Despite the quixotic nature of her calling, Belli was still a woman -- a wife and mother struggling to balance her vocation and her family. She writes of the challenges of working while pregnant; of her reluctance to leave her children in order to work; of the desperate measures she employed to maintain custody of her children after a bitter divorce; and of her passion for the handsome and powerful men she met.
Frightening and exhilarating, Belli's historic tale is an incredibly dramatic one. Readers will be well rewarded by this lucid and lyrical memoir of Nicaraguan history and of a life irrevocably changed by it. Winter 2002 Selection