cover image Catalina y Catalina = Catalina and Catalina

Catalina y Catalina = Catalina and Catalina

Sergio Ramirez. Alfaguara, $17.95 (229pp) ISBN 978-968-19-0828-7

Ramirez (b. Nicaragua, 1942) made an assured entrance into the Latin American literary scene in 1998 when his novel Margarita, est linda la mar (Margarita, the Sea Is Beautiful, Alfaguara, 1998) won the Alfaguara de Novela prize. His opposition to Anastasio Somoza, dictator of Nicaragua for 44 years, has given him space in literature and in politics he was a member of the Sandinista movement and the vice-president of the first democratic government after Somoza in 1985. But even though Ramirez can't stay off politics, ""Perdon y olvido"" (""Forgiveness and Forgetfulness""), the best piece in this short story collection has nothing to do with political activities or social concern. Here, he tells the story of a man who delves into his past after he identifies his parents as extras in an old Mexican film. Even though no particular motive connects the stories and they can be read independently from one another, Nicaragua lives in every line; Ramirez minutely explains local or regional references so that readers who haven't been to Nicaragua can get involved in the plot. Although Ramirez's style doesn't stand out among other Latin American works, his evocation of Nicaragua, Mayan myths, love, and search for identity will captivate readers. Recommended for public libraries and bookstores serving readers interested in Nicaraguan culture and history. Camilo Hoyos, Bogot , Colombia