Nicaragua Way Reviews
By Sheila Jordan
Fighting depression after the loss of an election sounds familiar to today’s landscape. Something similar frames the plot of Nina Serrano’s novel, Nicaragua Way. This work of historical fiction recreates a past that is amazingly relevant to the struggles of the present. Nina writes with the grace of a poet (which she is).She is a consummate storyteller and the prose flows along with the action, intertwining her heroine Lorna’s personal yearnings as she strives to find her place and develop her leadership skills in the complex world of the Sandinistas. Nicaragua Way provides an intimate look at the political and strategic thinking of an international revolutionary struggle committed to transforming a country following the overthrow of a debilitating dictatorship. It’s an essential reading if Nicaragua was a life-changing experience for you. It’s also a totally enjoyable read as a novel of a woman’s journey of maturity, self-awareness and the love of family, justice and finding a life partner; all set in the fascinating semi-tropical setting of an adventure tale.
By Valerie Haynes Perry:
In its elegance, intelligence, and political fervor, Nicaragua Way by Nina Serrano is reminiscent of Isabel Allende’s Of Love and Shadows. It is a remarkable piece of historical fiction. Serrano depicts the environments of San Francisco and Nicaragua with equal attention and affection. Her characters comprise a tightly-knit community that is often compellingly contentious, which makes the novel thought provoking.
Lorna Almendros–activist, poet, journalist, writer, and all-around artist–commands the story and the queue of men who are bowled over by her beauty, intellectual energy, and charm like so many pins in an alley. Eddie, her long-time friend; Luis, the avant garde computer artist; and Guillermo, a mysterious Nicaraguan architect form the male triangle that surrounds the protagonist. But Lorna’s female counterparts are the ones who arguably move the story forward and give rhythm to its smooth pace. Most notably are Rini, Lorna’s daughter (an engineer); Helen, Lorna’s best friend; “Dr. Daisy,” the Cuban doctor; and Arminda, a Nicaraguan “angel.”
Learning about Nicaragua and being inspired by previous struggles is a bonus. The characters in this novel will stay with you as does the exciting energy of people working here in the United States against imperialism. You also get to experience the hope of those within their own country, fighting for Nicaragua to flourish.
Love the book. Still reading the book, and i met the author at John F. Kennedy library in Vallejo, CA. The author thought I was a writer. No way, I was donating romance novels to friends of the library.
How amazing! The author gave me her e-mail address, I bought it on amazon.com and there it is, the book, Nicaragua Way, I am retired for two years and busy..
I will read the book..It’s interesting because life in San Francisco, bay area,…
Still on chapter 1..
Ever since Nina Serrano informed me, several years ago, that she wanted to use my painting on the cover of a novel, I have been waiting impatiently to read it.
The novel was worth the wait. I am proud to have my painting on the cover.
The title of one of her chapters, “The Political is Personal”, exemplifies Nina’s approach in this accurate and engaging account of San Francisco’s solidarity movement through the eyes of Lorna Almendros. At the beginning of the novel Lorna is a forty something, single mother and poet, who in the process of putting a painful and humiliating marriage behind her, has rediscovered her family’s Nicaraguan origins. Her ally in this awakening is the indefatigable activist and womanizer, Eddy, who contrives to draw her, somewhat unwillingly, into the emerging Nicaraguan solidarity movement. Eddy is an engaging and contradictory character. He typifies Nina Serrano’s feminist critique of her characters and the revolution. She loves them deeply, but she is aware of their imperfections.
The story lingers over Lorna’s slow transformation, in San Francisco, into a major activist. These pages are especially interesting for their intimate view of the beginnings of the Bay Area solidarity movement which would become such a powerful force in the ’80’s.
It gains steam on Lorna’s first visit to Nicaragua, and thereafter interweaves the difficult personal journey of Lorna and her daughter with the alternately painful and inspirational story of the Sandinista revolution.
When I am compelled to describe in a few words, my own experience of this revolution. I usually observe, “Having visited Nicaragua during that period, it felt like everyone was in love.” Such was the euphoria of this popular revolution. How appropriate then, that Nina should tell the story of this revolution through the sensitive eyes of a woman seeking and ultimately finding true love.
I also loved Serrano’s colorful depictions of Lorna’s many female friends and the positive relationship she had with her daughter Rini–one of mutual respect. Another important feminist aspect of the novel is Lorna’s conflict over her need for love: her attraction to a macho revolutionary, Eddie, which vies with her own principles of self-integrity and autonomy and also a second temptation to throw over her own carefully constructed full life in San Francisco to run off with a Sandinista romantic younger lover, Guillermo. What does she do? Read this book and find out. It’s a page-turner!
One Woman’s Journey. Nicaragua Way took me on a journey through the history of a movement I had known so little about. With Nina Serrano’s guidance through telling this story through the eyes of Lorna Almendros, that history was transformed into both a love story and an adventure story. I was able to learn historical facts without it being didactic. I felt the personal connection necessary to truly be part of a revolution. Nina Serrano brought to life Lorna’s challenges as an older woman, a single mother, a poet and an activist.
Reading Nicaragua Way is well worth the journey as you follow Lorna’s path and experience life through her eyes.
Nicaragua Way is filled with the sensuous details of life. Serrano, a long-time activist, poet, radio producer, teacher, and playwright, never forgets that love is at the center of all things, and most of all, the revolution.
Most importantly, the story is told by a woman. In its best moments the novel brings life to the issues women face in all political movements and how impactful women’s leadership and participation can be. Read this book, you’ll enjoy it and learn from it along the way.
About Nina Serrano: Nina is a well-known, international prize-winning inspirational author and poet. With a focus on Latino history and culture, she is also a playwright, filmmaker, KPFA talk show host, a former Alameda County Arts Commissioner, and a co-founder of the San Francisco Mission Cultural Center for Latino Arts. Oakland Magazine’s “best local poet” in 2010, she is a former director of the San Francisco Poetry in the Schools program and the Bay Area’s Storytellers in the Schools program. A Latina activist for social justice, women’s rights, and the arts, Nina Serrano at 82 remains vitally engaged in inspiring change and exploring her abundant creativity. For more information go to ninaserrano.com or contact her publisher at estuarypress.com. For more detailed information about Nina see About Nina on her website.
About Estuary Press: Estuary Press is the publisher of Nicaragua Way. It is also the home of the Harvey Richards Media Archive, a repository of photography and video documentaries of various social change and political movements during the 1960s and 1970s. Contact Paul Richards (510) 967 5577, firstname.lastname@example.org or visit estuarypress.com for more details.
MEDIA – For photos & interviews: Paul Richards (510) 967 5577; email@example.com