The Jaguar Smile, Paperback Book
3.5 out of 5 (1 rating)


In this brilliantly focused and haunting portrait of the people, the politics, the land, and the poetry of Nicaragua, Salman Rushdie brings to the forefront the palpable human facts of a country in the midst of revolution.

Rushdie went to Nicaragua in 1986. What he discovered was overwhelming: a land of difficult, often beautiful contradictions, of strange heroes and warrior-poets.

Rushdie came to know an enormous range of people, from the foreign minister - a priest - to the midwife who kept a pet cow in her living room.

His perceptions always heightened by his sensitivity and his unique flair for language, in The Jaguar Smile, Rushdie brings us the true Nicaragua, where nothing is simple, everything is contested, and life-or-death struggles are an everyday occurrence.


  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 160 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage Publishing
  • Publication Date:
  • Category: Politics & government
  • ISBN: 9780099285229

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Interesting travelogue, though a bit outdated. In the 1980's Salman Rushdie was invited to Nicaragua by the Sandinista regime. He spent 3 weeks in the country, and on this basis alone he wrote this entire book. I would say that 3 weeks is not a lot to fully get to know a country or get a grasp on its political situation. It is easy to be charmed by poets and writers who have become politicians and by ladies who keep a pet cow in their home. Luckily Salman Rushdie is a good writer so this book is well written and a pleasure to read. The observations are sharp and sometimes funny. What I also liked about it is the continuous doubt inside the author about a regime which on the one hand claims to be a true democracy but on the other shut down a newspaper. Which on the one hand had to fight for survival against a very mighty enemy but on the other hand seemed to misuse its own power against its native Amerindian inhabitants.