The Troublesome Offspring of Cardinal Guzman

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Overview

With the same ebullient storytelling, luxuriant prose, and irrepressible eroticism he brought to The War of Don Emmanuel s Nether Parts and Señor Vivo and the Coca Lord, Louis de Bernières continues his chronicle of Cochadebajo, the Andean village where macho philosophers, defrocked priests, and reformed (though hardly inactive) prostitutes cohabit in cheerful anarchy. But this unruly utopia is imperiled when the demon-harried Cardinal Guzman decides to inaugurate a new ...
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The Troublesome Offspring of Cardinal Guzman

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Overview

With the same ebullient storytelling, luxuriant prose, and irrepressible eroticism he brought to The War of Don Emmanuel s Nether Parts and Señor Vivo and the Coca Lord, Louis de Bernières continues his chronicle of Cochadebajo, the Andean village where macho philosophers, defrocked priests, and reformed (though hardly inactive) prostitutes cohabit in cheerful anarchy. But this unruly utopia is imperiled when the demon-harried Cardinal Guzman decides to inaugurate a new Inquisition, with Cochadebajo as its ultimate target.  
     On his side, the Cardinal has an army of fanatics who are all too willing to destroy bodies in order to save souls. The Cochadebajeros have precious little ammunition, unless you count chef Dolores's incendiary Chicken of a True Man, and a civil defense that deems nothing more crucial than the act of love. Part epic, part farce, The Troublesome Offspring of Cardinal Guzman confirms de Bernières's reputation as England's answer to Gabriel García Márquez.
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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
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
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780375700156
  • Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 9/28/1998
  • Series: Vintage International Series
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 459
  • Sales rank: 837,913
  • Product dimensions: 5.25 (w) x 8.25 (h) x 1.00 (d)

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.

From the Hardcover edition.

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