Mamista

Mamista

by Len Deighton
     
 

Deep in Marxist Guerilla territory a hopeless war is being fought.

The Berlin Wall is demolished. Marx is dead. Try telling that to Ramon and his desperate men hiding in the jungle cradling their AK 47s, dusting off the slabs of Semtex and dreaming of world revolution.

MAMista takes us to the dusty, violent capital of Spanish Guiana in South America, and thence

Overview

Deep in Marxist Guerilla territory a hopeless war is being fought.

The Berlin Wall is demolished. Marx is dead. Try telling that to Ramon and his desperate men hiding in the jungle cradling their AK 47s, dusting off the slabs of Semtex and dreaming of world revolution.

MAMista takes us to the dusty, violent capital of Spanish Guiana in South America, and thence into the depths of the rain forest; the heart of darkness itself. There, four people become caught up in a struggle both political and personal, a struggle corrupted by ironies and deceits, and riddled with the accidents of war. They are four people who never should have found themselves bound together in a mission for revolution.

Ralph Lucas, the Australian doctor, came to the jungle on charitable business, strictly civilian. Tending frontline casualties of war, with too few medical supplies and only a beautiful but untrained woman by his side, was not on the agenda. Gerald Singer, tough, black warrior, with an indomitable sense of humour, was already in guerrilla territory. He can take it. Up to a point. Angel Paz, part charming youngster, part violent hoodlum, has theories about everything. His arrogance will set in motion the last terrible endgame.

But it is Inez who will suffer the most; for being a woman, an educated woman. At guerrilla headquarters she was Ramon's right-hand. In the jungle she is the butt of men's jokes and the subject of their fantasies.

For the men in Washington this MAMista 'patrol' is just one short entry in a busy worldwide agenda. But for the three men and one woman trapped in the jungle of our nightmares it is the sentence of death. Never has Deighton portrayed so accurately the terror and the tedium of war, or the shifting alliances and betrayals between people who have nothing to lose but their lives.

This new reissue includes a foreword from the cover designer, Oscar-winning filmmaker Arnold Schwartzman, and a brand new introduction by Len Deighton, which offers a fascinating insight into the writing of the story.

Editorial Reviews

Kirkus Reviews
Deighton's longest, most complex and passionate novel in years: an epic tale, set in a South American jungle, of good men and women crushed beneath the heel of Realpolitik. The world-weary pessimism that seeped into Spy Sinker (1990) stains these pages black; even Deighton's customary whimsy has withered into a pervasive bitter irony. Yet there's valor in his new, brilliantly realized huge cast of characters, beginning with two men who travel for different reasons to Spanish Guiana: Australian M.D. Ralph Lucas, sent by a relief group to research medical conditions in the area controlled by the MAMista Marxist guerrilla movement; and Angel Paz, an idealistic young "Yanqui" Marxist determined to fight for revolution. After meeting under the brutal gaze of the country's neofascist rulers, the pair—accompanied by Inez, a beautiful female revolutionary—endure a harrowing air ride to the south, where they link up with General Ramón, leader of the MAMista. There, disillusionment sets in as Lucas is shocked at the rampant disease and malnutrition, and Paz finds himself compared unfavorably by Ramón to the wise, if capitalist, Lucas. A guerrilla raid on an American outpost jacks up the emotional tension: Inez, to her shame, kills in cold blood; Paz causes an innocent's death; a CIA man is captured—and proves the key for future horrors. Meanwhile, in mesmerizing scenes set—in contrast to the miasmic jungle—in elegant D.C. power venues, including the White House, the President and his chief advisor hammer out a shady deal with Ramón to permit US exploitation of a huge oil find in guerrilla territory. To consecrate the deal, Ramón sends Lucasand comrades to escort the CIA man north on a jungle trek that explodes in heroism, betrayal, absurdity, and death. The spirits of Graham Greene and Joseph Conrad hover over this stately, outstanding mix of tragedy and black farce that builds slowly—but inexorably—to its piercing conclusion.

From the Publisher

‘Deighton’s longest, most complex and passionate novel in years: an epic tale, set in a South American jungle, of good men and women crushed beneath the heel of Realpolitik’ Kirkus Review

‘You will be hooked from the first chapter and enjoy every line… The Berlin Wall may have tumbled, destroying overnight a whole spy cottage industry, but as the dust settles Len Deighton rises like the phoenix… a superb novel’
Bryan Forbes, Sunday Express

‘Moral ambiguity used to be called Greeneland. Since Graham Greene’s death, that territory is open for conquest. At least part of it ought to be renamed Deightonsville’
Time Magazine

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780060179366
Publisher:
HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
07/01/1991
Pages:
410

Meet the Author

Born in London, Len Deighton served in the RAF before graduating from the Royal College of Art (which recently elected him a Senior Fellow). While in New York City working as a magazine illustrator he began writing his first novel, The Ipcress File, which was published in 1962. He is now the author of more than thirty books of fiction and non-fiction. At present living in Europe, he has, over the years, lived with his family in ten different countries from Austria to Portugal.

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