The Troublesome Offspring of Cardinal Guzman

The Troublesome Offspring of Cardinal Guzman

by Louis De Bernieres
     
 

While the economy of his small South American country collapses, President Veracruz joins his improbable populace of ex-soldiers, former guerillas, unfrocked priests and reformed – though by no means inactive – whores, in a bizarre search for sexual fulfillment.

But for Cardinal Guzman, a man tormented by his own private demons, their stupendous,

Overview

While the economy of his small South American country collapses, President Veracruz joins his improbable populace of ex-soldiers, former guerillas, unfrocked priests and reformed – though by no means inactive – whores, in a bizarre search for sexual fulfillment.

But for Cardinal Guzman, a man tormented by his own private demons, their stupendous, hedonistic fiestas represent the epicenter of all heresies. Heresies that must be challenged with a horrifying new inquisition destined to climax in a spectacular confrontation…

The second part of a trilogy, following The War of Don Emmanuel's Nether Parts, which won the Commonwealth Writers Prize for Best First Fiction.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Like its predecessor, The War of Don Emmanuel's Nether Parts, this deftly constructed novel pokes gentle fun at the well-mined genre of magical realism while providing an exuberant portrait of a Latin America in which anything is possible. Set in an imaginary nation reminiscent of Colombia, where the British author once worked, these interconnected tales chronicle the running feud between the Catholic clergy, headed by Cardinal Guzman, and the heretical countryside -- in particular Cochadebajo, a free-spirited city serviced by an unfrocked priest and inhabited by a delightfully feisty collection of eccentrics, including a Mexican musicologist seduced by a mischievous set of twins, a former prostitute (in whose popular restaurant men down fiery chicken to prove their machismo) and Dionisio Vivo, the composer and crusading journalist who also figured in Senor Vivo and the Coca Lord. Accompanied by mercenaries, the clergy set out on a crusade that quickly gets out of control and only hardens the resolve of Cochadebajo's citizens to protect themselves. As the novel works to a dramatic climax, readers will join the author in rooting for the life-affirming joyousness of Cochadebajo, which is skillfully contrasted with the Cardinal's evil nature.
Library Journal
De Bernieres, winner of two Commonwealth Prizes, is an Englishman with a French name who writes magical realist novels set in South America. In his third work, he returns to his unnamed country (similar to Colombia), where Catholic hierarchy butts up against cocaine cartels and indigenous pantheism. A wonderful creation, the eponymous Cardinal Guzman is an aging prelate with a young mistress and a monster growing in his belly. As it slowly dies, the monster poisons him until, during an hallucination, the cardinal kills his own son, who soon returns as a hummingbird. The novel's essential plot is the struggle of the bucolic town of Cochadebajo to protect itself from a marauding latter-day Torquemada and his 'bodyguards,' who, unleashed by the words of the monster-pregnant Cardinal Guzman, have been terrorizing mountain villages in the name of God. In the climactic scene, a ragtag army of the town's men and women, an army brigade, and an affectionate band of several hundred black jaguars defeat the venomous inquisitor. The language is rich and the book is abundantly imagined. -- Harold Augenbraum, Mercantile Library, New York
Tom Gaughan
An Englishman with a French name has written a magical and magnificent book about a remote and entirely mythical Colombian city high in the Andes. Cochadebajo de los Gatos is populated by eccentrics -- and hundreds of tame black jaguars that love chocolate. The eccentrics have carved a wackily sane society out of the wilderness, but a traveling inquisition known as the New Albigensian Crusade, loosed by the corrupt Cardinal Guzman, threatens to destroy it. This wonderful novel, by turns bawdy, uproarious, and tragic, illuminates the tragedies that have plagued Latin America since the Spanish landed: bad government, poverty, drug lords, machismo that leads to mayhem, and, most important, the Catholic church. Every library that ranges beyond best-sellers should add this book and its two companion novels, The War of Don Immanuel's Nether Parts and Senor Vivo and the Coco Lord.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780436201141
Publisher:
Secker, Martin & Warburg, Limited
Publication date:
02/01/2000
Pages:
400

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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