The Inhabited Woman / Edition 1


The Inhabited Woman is an intelligent and politically sophisticated adventure-romance in which the soul of an Indian warrior woman from the time of the Conquistadors inhabits the body and mind of Lavinia, a middle class woman living in a Latin American country. With daring and growing self-assertion, Lavinia abandons the confines of her own privileged life to join an underground movement against a dictatorship, undergoing a personal transformation in which she finds - through love - the power and courage to act.

In this love story set against the backdrop of revolution, Lavinia, a beautiful young woman from the upper class, becomes infused with the spirit of an ancient woman warrior and breaks free from her sheltered world, joining with rebels involved in a tragic, bloody struggle to free their country from an oppressive military dictatorship.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
The politics of Latin American revolution offer a worthy subject here, but Nicaraguan-born poet Belli seldom rises to the challenge. Lavinia, an independent young woman of privileged background, takes a job as an architect as a means of supporting herself and her newly inherited home. Entering into a romantic relationship with Felipe, a fellow architect given to mysterious absences, she soon discovers his secret: he is a member of the National Liberation Movement, a group dedicated to freeing their imaginary Latin American country from an oppressive dictator. Encouraged by the Movement's nurse, Lavinia becomes progressively more involved in the budding revolution until finally, after Felipe dies, she decides to take his place in a military operation. Intended to chronicle Lavinia's awakening political consciousness, the novel never rises above the level of propaganda, as oppressors and oppressed alike are portrayed as mere stereotypes of good and evil. A touch of magical realism, in the character of an Indian woman who fought the conquistadores and whose spirit now inhabits a tree outside Lavinia's house, ultimately adds little to a disappointing treatment of a topic that deserves better novelistic exploration. (July)
Library Journal
In an unnamed Central American country in the early 1970s, young, rich, beautiful, and talented Lavinia Alarcn yearns for more fulfillment than her privileged background has provided. She finds it in a career as an architect, a love affair with her colleague Felipe, and their membership in a revolutionary group dedicated to the overthrow of The Great General, the country's autocratic ruler. Appearing throughout the book is the Nahuatl warrior-woman Itz, whose 16th-century struggle against Spanish conquistadors had led to her death and metempsychotic reappearance in the orange tree in Lavinia's garden, from which she observes, and perhaps influences, the action. Lavinia is asked to design a new house for General Vela, The Great General's righthand man, and accepts with the idea of providing valuable information to her group. Felipe is shot just prior to an attack on Vela's house, but before dying he convinces Lavinia to take his place on the assault team, with dire consequences. Although some of the action is melodramatic and Belli's characters are often stereotypes, her writing moves events swiftly to an exciting climax. For literary collections.-Harold Augenbraum, Mercantile Lib., New York
From the Publisher
"A passionate story of love, courage, solidarity, and death, where  . . . the lives of the characters are intertwined with the destiny of a country."—Isabel Allende

"An inviting novel of love, politics, and history, steeped in magical realism, served in rich prose."—Booklist

"One of the most gifted writers to have come out of Central America . . . a wonderfully free and original talent."—Harold Pinter

"A kind of public love poetry that comes closer to expressing the passion of [Nicaragua] than anything I have yet heard."—Salman Rushdie

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Product Details

  • BN ID: 2580299206843
  • Manufacturer: University of Wisconsin Press
  • Publication date: 11/15/2004
  • Series: The Americas Series
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 414
  • Product dimensions: 5.00 (w) x 8.20 (h) x 0.90 (d)
  • These items ship to U.S. address only. No APO/FPO.

Meet the Author

Gioconda Belli joined the FSLN in 1970 and was in the Nicaraguan underground resistance until 1975 when she had to flee the Somoza regime’s secret police and go into exile. During her exile, she participated in several logistical operations. After Somoza was ousted and the Sandinistas came to power, she held government positions but resigned her political appointments to become a full time writer in 1986. She divides her time between Managua and Los Angeles.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 5
( 3 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 3 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 14, 2015

    Fantastic. Great imagery. A book that makes you imagine the scen

    Fantastic. Great imagery. A book that makes you imagine the scenes and feel as if you are the characters. 

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 28, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted January 8, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

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