Thursday, May 07, 2015

Sergio Ramirez

Went to the Americas Society last night to hear Sergio Ramirez, the great Nicaraguan writer, and Nick Caistor, the translator of his masterpiece Divine Punishment. The novel concerns a trial in Nicaragua in the 1930s when a man was charged with the murder of two high society women and his employer. Ramirez read the opening of his novel, about a pack of stray dogs, and the poison that people want to buy to kill them, like a lawyer, careful and emotionless. Later he revealed that he was trained to be a lawyer, although he never practiced.

Born to a merchant father and a headmistress mother, Ramirez grew up in a small town by the Pacific Coast. He was the first in the family to go to the University at Leon, to be trained for a profession. At college, he became involved in politics, quite against his will, for his mind was set on writing. He presented his first book of short stories to his father before he could present him his college degree. He joined the Sandinista movement to overthrow the Somoza dictatorship. When the revolution succeeded, he rose to become Vice President of the country for a number of years. He wrote Divine Punishment while in office, waking up at 4 am every morning to write until 9 am.  He did not regret leaving politics, for he was eager to return to full-time writing.

I did not buy a copy of the book because I hope to become proficient enough in Spanish to read it in its original language.

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