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Senor Vivo and the Coca Lord: A Novel
     

Senor Vivo and the Coca Lord: A Novel

by Louis de Bernieres
 
Dionisio Vivo, a young South American lecturer in philosophy, is puzzled by the hideously mutilated corpses that keep turning up outside his front door. To his friend, Ramon, one of the few honest policemen in town, the message is all too clear: Dionisio’s letters to the press, exposing the drug barons, must stop; and although Dionisio manages to escape the

Overview

Dionisio Vivo, a young South American lecturer in philosophy, is puzzled by the hideously mutilated corpses that keep turning up outside his front door. To his friend, Ramon, one of the few honest policemen in town, the message is all too clear: Dionisio’s letters to the press, exposing the drug barons, must stop; and although Dionisio manages to escape the hit-men sent to get him, he soon realizes that others are more vulnerable, and his love for them leads him to take a colossal revenge.

Senor Vivo and the Coca Lord is the second novel in a trilogy set in South America. It won a Commonwealth Writers Prize in 1992.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
The wild satire and inventive fantasy that marked de Bernieres' first novel, The War of Don Emmanuel's Nether Parts, reverberate through this audacious story of drug trafficking, corruption, love and murder. In an unnamed South American country resembling Colombia, Dionisio Vivo, a fearless philosophy professor who exposes the country's illegal coca trade in a letter-writing campaign to a leading newspaper, miraculously evades repeated assassination attempts. But his best friend, Ramon, a policeman, and his sweetheart, Anica, who is sexually assaulted by the drug baron's goons, do not escape the cocaine cartel's wrath. Dionisio, who converses telepathically with animals and walks everywhere accompanied by two black jaguars, takes his revenge in a series of events by turns ribald, surreal, horrific, uproarious and tragic. The supernatural constantly intrudes on a landscape of cruel poverty, as exemplified by Father Garcia, a levitating priest, and Lazaro, a hermaphroditic leper cured by a sorcerer. Yet de Bernieres, who lives in London, makes us keenly aware of the drug trade's corrosive effects on a society where drive-by murders are commonplace. (Aug.)
Library Journal
In an unnamed South American country, President Veracruz practices sexual alchemy, after which his wife gives birth to a large cat and the people of one community mate with dolphins taking human form. Here, magic and myth are incorporated into daily life. Here, too, coca production destroys communities, filling whole villages with vacant zombies serving the coca lord, El Jereca. A young teacher of philosophy, Dionisio Vivo, who traces his ancestry through a series of incredible historical events, condemns the disease eating away at his country through a regular flow of letters to the local paper. Soon El Jereca responds. Dionisio finds corpses, whole and in parts, disposed at his door. Still the letters continue, and Dionisio becomes a hero in his country; women camp on the outskirts of his town waiting to bear his child. But Dionisio loves Anica, whose father supplies weapons to El Jereca's thugs, and their love must survive persistent attacks. De Bernieres creates an enjoyable story where magic and love of mythological proportions combats destruction. For most collections.-- Brack Stovall, Carrollton P.L., Tex.
Newsday
"Bright and inventive... de Bernieres takes and gives great pleasure in the sheer fun of storytelling>"
Miami Herald
"By turns mischievous, horrifyng and triumphant... All the ways to its mordant final sentence, Senor Vivo stupefies and engages. It is brave, ironic and wise."
The New York Times
"This is a wholly original book, with a richly developed narrative, eccentric characters and vivid descriptions spiked with thought-provoking epigrams. As an imaginative denunciation of the cocaine trade in its human costs, [this novel] is amusing, terrifying and ultimately sobering."
Rocky Mountain News
"You will never read another novel quite like this.... De Bernieres possess[es] a master's touch with language.... His feel for the absurd in everyday life [is] matched by his gift for fantasy."
New York Newsday
"Smart, serious, fast, funny and terrifically entertaining, with as much style and substance and as much wonder as wit."

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780688111304
Publisher:
HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
08/01/1992
Edition description:
1st U.S. ed
Pages:
251

Meet the Author

Louis de Bernieres, who lives in Norfolk, was selected as one of the twenty best Young Novelists in 1993. His first novel, The War of Don Emmanuel’s Nether Parts, won a Commonwealth Writers Prize and was followed shortly by two sequels, Senor Vivo and the Coca Lord and The Troublesome Offspring of Cardinal Guzman. His fourth novel, Captain Corelli’s Mandolin, won the Commonwealth Writers Prize, Best Book in 1995 and is now an international bestseller, having sold over 1.5 million copies.

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