Sunday, August 5, 2012

Diptychs: A Nicaraguan Village Revisited

The faces of rural Nicaragua have haunted me since adolescence.   I was born in Los Angeles, California, to Nicaraguan parents.  When I was eleven, they decided to move back to their homeland.  That event marks the birth of my obsession with Nicaragua’s countenances.  My newfound fascination also gave rise to an intense desire to learn their stories, and I began to listen attentively to their personal narratives.  Before long, their tales of triumphs, losses, hopes, disenchantments, dreams, and tragedies started to tug ferociously at my creativity.

So reads the opening paragraph of the introduction I wrote for Diptychs: A Nicaraguan Village Revisited—Robert Kalman’s collection of portraits of the people of Larreynaga, Nicaragua.

Robert and I have different recollections about how I joined his marvelous project.  According to Robert, my descriptions of life in the Nicaraguan community of La Curva, in the novel Meet Me under the Ceiba, moved him to contact me and then invite me to write the prologue for Diptychs.

I, on the other hand, recall that Joshua Berman—travel writer extraordinaire and co-author of MoonHandbooks Nicaragua—posted a short announcement in which he praised Robert’s work and provided a link to a few samples.  After seeing Robert’s stunning portraits, I sent him a brief note congratulating him for his genius at capturing the wondrous faces of humble Nicaraguans.  After receiving my message, he took the time to read my novel.  

(To learn Robert’s version of our initial encounter, read the interview that appears in Go to Nicaragua.

Regardless of who made first contact, I can state without a doubt that my small role in Robert’s book is one of my proudest feats as a writer.  I wholeheartedly recommend Diptychs: A Nicaraguan Village Revisited for any person who loves Nicaragua and appreciates the art of portraiture.

Diptychs is on sale at Blurb.