Teen-age Marta Maldonado and her family are placed under house arrest for her fathers editorials criticizing the abuses of the government of the unnamed South American country in which they live. Not just another child-in-war novel, this first novel strikes a particularly contemporary note in its unsentimental portrayal of the abuses of power and of a family's attempt to remain intact in adversity. The author has based the novel on a short story originally published in the New Yorker; and her skills from short-story writing stand her in good stead. Pithy, efficient, laced with satisfying detail, never reducing human beings to the ""sides"" they might represent, this tale of imprisonment is carried off with Ã‰lan. The engaging present-tense and first-person narrative are at times tense, romantic, and poignant; Marta Maldonado is a creation not to be forgotten.