In my book In the Belly of the Horse I imagine my characters living under difficult circumstances at a particular period in history. But I don’t situate them in Chile, where I am from, and where people had lived through a similar chaos decades before. Instead I take the reader to Peru, the country where I worked and traveled extensively. I did the necessary research to place my characters in real life situations in an imaginary story.
I have often asked myself what would it be like to have to escape from your country of birth? Why am I haunted by this notion when I live in North America in a stable democracy? Perhaps it’s because of the intriguing stories I heard as a child as both my parents, each one separately, had to flee Europe before the second world war. So naturally in my story I place Otilia – the main character, in a small village where she carries out her responsibilities as a wife and mother, is independently employed and living a comfortable life. Then one day – a terrorist group shows up and the family must flee! Her life takes a turn due to an unfortunate fact of history.
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