Award Winning Book, 2018 International Latino Book Awards
(Best Latino Focused Fiction Book – English)
Finalist-2018 Latino Books Into Movies Awards (Drama)
In the Belly of the Horse is a gripping story illuminating an historic period in the life of a Peruvian family separated and kept apart by seemingly insurmountable forces during a time of civil conflict. Outraged and fearful that war is surging too close to home, Manuel Perez takes his seven-year-old son Salvador into hiding. Otilia, his wife and mother of the child, stays behind to protect the family property. As the elusive enemy roams the countryside, she waits, distraught, for Manuel to return. This is Peru in the 1990s, a struggling nation with a large disparity in standards of living, where the majority live in squalor and face daily injustices. When Manuel does not return, Otilia rushes out of the house to search for him and their son. While the violent Shining Path guerilla movement incites revolution and brutal government forces respond, Otilia makes her way to a remote mining camp in the Andes Mountains. Rather than reporting the disappearance of her husband and son to the unscrupulous authorities, she works in the camp’s kitchen, keeping a low profile and waiting for danger to pass. Aware that she is facing a grim reality, scared by the unrestrained violence around her, and heartbroken that her appeal to find her loved ones are going unanswered, Otilia agonizes over what to do next. This novel provides some understanding of the situation in which countless people find themselves due to armed conflict within and between the political powers around them, and explores many aspects of the psychology of the victims, the difficulty of finding out the truth, and the actions of various groups working with people from many countries who are enduring the pain of loss and displacement.
Miramichi Reader review:
While it deals with all-too-true circumstances, the mood of In the Belly of the Horse is never so dark as to be depressing. I found it to be informative about Peru’s recent history and sympathizing with all of Ms. Tobias’ well-conceived characters. Recommended reading for those interested in social issues such as the plight of the victims of revolutions, cover-ups by ruling dictatorships and the search for missing loved ones.
In The Belly of the Horse
Set in the context of real events the story is back-shadowed by hundreds of years of oppression of the underprivileged, when Peru was still a struggling, fragile nation with large disparity in standards of living and the majority lived in squalor and faced injustices.
It was the time when under the leadership of a philosophy professor who hatched a radical plan to reform government, he cultivated a following and it became known as Sendero Luminoso – The Shining Path guerilla movement.