6 March 2017
A Good Read
The Troublesome Offspring of Cardinal Guzman by Louis de Bernieres
Set in an imaginary Latin American country the novel's political themes parody the worst excesses of the Pinochet government of Chile, the collapse of democratic social order in Uruguay in the 1970's and other dirty wars of the 1960's to 1980's in Southern and Central America.
In the village of Cochadebajo macho philosophers, defrocked priests and reformed (though still active) prostitutes live in cheerful anarchy. But this unruly utopia is about to be interrupted when the demon-harried Cardinal Guzman decides to inaugurate a new Inquisition, with Cochadebajo as its ultimate target.
Cardinal Guzman lives extravagantly and immorally, due to the discovery of his having fathered a son, and his loathing of the poor shanty-dwellers who live below his palace. He has an army of fanatics who are all too willing to destroy bodies in order to save souls. His clergy and the corrupt military set out to destroy the heresy of the countryside, and in doing so the hypocrisy of his faith and his promiscuousness is revealed, as is the hypocrisy of religion in general and the Catholics in particular.
I tried a few times to read this but couldn't get into it. I'm glad I persevered though because I did enjoy it. It's quirky, full of very funny characters (had to make notes of who they all were!), and a brilliant plot. It was rather gruesome at times (think the Crusades).
Posted by Polly