The Jaguar Smile
When travelling to a new country it’s often hard to know where to start. In order to better understand what you are seeing from the saddle it is beneficial to have some understanding of how the country got to where it is today. I read The Jaguar Smile just as we arrived in Nicaragua and it is a great first port of call.
The book recounts Rushdie’s three week tour of Nicaragua as a cultural guest of the Sandinista Government in 1986. It is a pretty short read actually and worth a look, especially if you have been to this country. He is certainly inspired by the Sandinista ministers he meets and though he disagrees with their censorship of the press, he supports their cause overall.
I liked it because it is conversational, accessible and from the point of view of someone who is new to Nicaragua and really not an ‘expert’. His telling of encounters with now historical figures are descriptive and emotive. He wrote a foreword for the edition I read, ten years after it was first published, in which he stood by the book and felt content that there was enough criticism to give it credibility. I thought so too..