In the Belly of the Horse is a gripping story illuminating an historic period in the life of a Peruvian family separated and kept apart by seemingly insurmountable forces during a time of civil conflict. Outraged and fearful that war is surging too close to home, Manuel Perez takes his seven-year-old son Salvador into hiding. Otilia, his wife and mother of the child, stays behind to protect the family property. As the elusive enemy roams the countryside, she waits, distraught, for Manuel to return. This is Peru in the 1990s, a struggling nation with a large disparity in standards of living, where the majority live in squalor and face daily injustices. When Manuel does not return, Otilia rushes out of the house to search for him and their son. While the violent Shining Path guerilla movement incites revolution and brutal government forces respond, Otilia makes her way to a remote mining camp in the Andes Mountains. Rather than reporting the disappearance of her husband and son to the unscrupulous authorities, she works in the camp’s kitchen, keeping a low profile and waiting for danger to pass. Aware that she is facing a grim reality, scared by the unrestrained violence around her, and heartbroken that her appeal to find her loved ones are going unanswered, Otilia agonizes over what to do next. This novel provides some understanding of the situation in which countless people find themselves due to armed conflict within and between the political powers around them, and explores many aspects of the psychology of the victims, the difficulty of finding out the truth, and the actions of various groups working with people from many countries who are enduring the pain of loss and displacement.
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About the Author
Eliana Tobias was born in Santiago, Chile, to immigrant parents who escaped the Holocaust. She graduated from the University of Chile then completed other degrees in early childhood and special education in the United States and Canada. After working in this field in various capacities, including teaching at the National University of Trujillo in Peru, she moved to Vancouver, where she has lived for thirty years and where she discovered her love of writing. Her rich experience of political turmoil, of listening to stories of the Holocaust when Jewish communities in Europe were shattered, of losing family in Chile under military dictatorship, and living in Peru during a time of intense civil conflict, fueled her passion to write about the ways in which people caught in devastation rebuild their lives. Eliana Tobias lives in Vancouver, B.C.