May 08, 2004

The Jaguar Smile

The Jaguar Smile
Salman Rushdie
( picador, 1987 )

There's always something strange about reading of-the-moment political travel journalism after decades have elapsed. The one thing I wish The Jaguar Smile had contained was more contextualisation. True, I am a child of the 80s and remember the Sandinistas and Contras, the CIA aid and the now strange paranoia over communism. I ought to know this stuff, the book contained names I recall such as Daniel Ortega, and perhaps its a lot to ask to have clearer political delineations in a work from the time (although Orwell managed well enough in Homage to Catalonia) but I did occassionally feel an assumption of understanding had been taken by Rushdie. It can be argued that the mild bewilderment is meant to create the confusion and ambivilance Rushie himself feels in the face of a complex geopolitical war and certainly as a portrait of a country in revolution, The Jaguar Smile really works.

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