Our Lives Are the Rivers: A Novel

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9780060820718: Our Lives Are the Rivers: A Novel

Based on actual events, this sweeping novel tells the life story of a woman who was willing to risk it all for her country and her lover—in whose legacy lies the history of an entire continent.

Our Lives Are the Rivers tells the story of beautiful young freedom fighter Manuela Sáenz, and the epic tale of her long love affair with liberator Simón Bolívar. A novel of intoxicating love, passion, and adventure, Jaime Manrique vividly captures a dynamic continent struggling for its own identity.

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About the Author:

Jaime Manrique is the award-winning author of the memoir Eminent Maricones, and the novels Latin Moon in Manhattan, Twilight at the Equator, and Colombian Gold. A contributor to Salon.com, BOMB, and other publications, he lives in New York City and is an associate professor in the MFA program at Columbia University.

From Publishers Weekly:

Manrique ( Latin Moon in Manhattan) distills the tumultuous last years of colonial South America through the life of Manuela Sáenz (1797–1856), the controversial mistress of Gen. Simón Bolívar. A veteran spy in Peru's successful, early 1820s struggle against Spanish rule, Ecuadorian Manuela meets Simón, a Venezuelan aristocrat who led five South American nations to independence, while she suffers the de facto slavery of an arranged marriage to a wealthy, possessive Englishman, James Thorne. In her relationship with Simón, Manuela finds passion and renewed purpose, earning the moniker "liberator of the Liberator" after pushing Bolívar out a window to help him escape assailants. She remains loyal to Bolívar until his death in 1830 and earns the rank of colonel in battlefield heroics along the way. Haphazardly placed chapters in the voices of Manuela's black slaves, Natán and Jonotás, offer further perspectives on Manuela and Simón's vision of freedom; it would be rejected by South America as tyranny, leading, among other things, to Manuela's exile from Colombia, her destitution and her burial in an unmarked Peruvian grave at the novel's bittersweet conclusion. An epic page-turner that swells with ecstatic love and righteous anger, Manrique's latest skillfully recreates an inspired pair, and their times. (Mar.)
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