The Children and the Nations

Richard Elman, Author, Maggie Black, Author
Richard Elman, Author, Maggie Black, Author Peregrine Smith Books $15.45 (0p) ISBN 978-0-87905-289-8
Reviewed on: 09/01/1988
Release date: 09/01/1988
In 44 brief short stories, Elman portrays Nicaragua under the Sandinistas as a nation rife with terror, confusion and unrelenting fear. Much closer to journalistic sketches than to fiction, these fast takes depict senseless murders, state repression, irrational arrests. Informers, whores, hangers-on, gamblers and diplomats swarm around Rik, the main narrator, and his buddy, a French reporter named Prudhomme. Some pieces deal with the Sandinistas' uprooting of the Miskito Indians, their repression of homosexuality, and charges of state-backed anti-Semitism. In his 21st book, Elman (who did the novelization of Taxi Driver ) returns to the terrain he investigated in the nonfiction book Cocktails at Somoza's. He implies here that the Ortega regime is no better than the U.S.-sponsored Somoza dictatorship. Elman's razor-sharp prose purports to pierce the reality of ordinary Nicaraguans' lives, yet the stories are repetitious and nearly drown in glib, cynical detachment. (Nov.)
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