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Louis de Bernières Box Set of 3 books: The War of Don Emmanuel's Nether Parts / Señor Vivo and the Coca Lord / The Troublesome Offspring of Cardinal Guzmán

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This rambunctious first novel by the author of the bestselling Corelli's Mandolin is set in an impoverished, violent, yet ravishingly beautiful country somewhere in South America. When the haughty Dona Constanza decides to divert a river to fill her swimming pool, the consequences are at once tragic, heroic, and outrageously funny. "Walks a precarious edge between slapstic This rambunctious first novel by the author of the bestselling Corelli's Mandolin is set in an impoverished, violent, yet ravishingly beautiful country somewhere in South America. When the haughty Dona Constanza decides to divert a river to fill her swimming pool, the consequences are at once tragic, heroic, and outrageously funny. "Walks a precarious edge between slapstick and pathos, never once losing its balance."—Washington Post Book World.


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This rambunctious first novel by the author of the bestselling Corelli's Mandolin is set in an impoverished, violent, yet ravishingly beautiful country somewhere in South America. When the haughty Dona Constanza decides to divert a river to fill her swimming pool, the consequences are at once tragic, heroic, and outrageously funny. "Walks a precarious edge between slapstic This rambunctious first novel by the author of the bestselling Corelli's Mandolin is set in an impoverished, violent, yet ravishingly beautiful country somewhere in South America. When the haughty Dona Constanza decides to divert a river to fill her swimming pool, the consequences are at once tragic, heroic, and outrageously funny. "Walks a precarious edge between slapstick and pathos, never once losing its balance."—Washington Post Book World.

30 review for Louis de Bernières Box Set of 3 books: The War of Don Emmanuel's Nether Parts / Señor Vivo and the Coca Lord / The Troublesome Offspring of Cardinal Guzmán

  1. 4 out of 5

    Rebecca Ryan

    I've been sitting here for a few minutes trying to figure out how to say enough about these books. I laughed, I cried? Not enough. I read them 10 years ago and haven't been that overwhelmed by an author since? Not enough. This trilogy was one of those times in life where a book or books just hits the right need at the right time for the right person. Beyond the personal connection with me, I found it hysterically funny, intensely thought provoking, and obsessively interesting. I've been sitting here for a few minutes trying to figure out how to say enough about these books. I laughed, I cried? Not enough. I read them 10 years ago and haven't been that overwhelmed by an author since? Not enough. This trilogy was one of those times in life where a book or books just hits the right need at the right time for the right person. Beyond the personal connection with me, I found it hysterically funny, intensely thought provoking, and obsessively interesting.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Tara

    I became depressed as I neared the end of this trilogy because I was going to miss the characters and the adventure so much.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Erik

    Forget about the cinematic travesty of Corelli's Mandolin. These three were his best works. As a friend mentioned, these books will never translate properly to film because there are no throwaway characters or incidental acts. Everything matters and is interwoven to create a rich and complex tapestry of tragedy, comedy, and magical realism a la Gabriel Garcia Marquez. Highest recommendation. Forget about the cinematic travesty of Corelli's Mandolin. These three were his best works. As a friend mentioned, these books will never translate properly to film because there are no throwaway characters or incidental acts. Everything matters and is interwoven to create a rich and complex tapestry of tragedy, comedy, and magical realism a la Gabriel Garcia Marquez. Highest recommendation.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Ryan Russell

    I feel like I have had a pretty good grasp of how a book series should run. First act through Third act and all of that. This book serious not only ignores that structure, but kicks it in the butt, slaps a silly note on its back, and then chucks it out the door. And this series is all the better for it. It has a loosely followed cast, with a couple million characters. Somehow, you want to be a part of all of their lives. These books are beyond entertaining. They make you fall in love ever single I feel like I have had a pretty good grasp of how a book series should run. First act through Third act and all of that. This book serious not only ignores that structure, but kicks it in the butt, slaps a silly note on its back, and then chucks it out the door. And this series is all the better for it. It has a loosely followed cast, with a couple million characters. Somehow, you want to be a part of all of their lives. These books are beyond entertaining. They make you fall in love ever single page. Moments that are heart-rendingly sad are followed by moments that are transcendingly hilarious.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Jason

    Bernieres owes a lot to Gabriel Garcia Marquez, and people who enjoy Marquez should get a kick out of this series. Bernieres is like Marquez on crack. I find Marquez a little more poetic and smooth, while Bernieres weilds magical realism like a scythe, cutting down reality without flinching and turning his crop into a hilarious and profound conglomeration of characters and stories about the people of South America. If you only know Bernieres through Corelli's Mandolin, you're in for a completely Bernieres owes a lot to Gabriel Garcia Marquez, and people who enjoy Marquez should get a kick out of this series. Bernieres is like Marquez on crack. I find Marquez a little more poetic and smooth, while Bernieres weilds magical realism like a scythe, cutting down reality without flinching and turning his crop into a hilarious and profound conglomeration of characters and stories about the people of South America. If you only know Bernieres through Corelli's Mandolin, you're in for a completely different ride.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Charlie Wall

    This magical realist trilogy is one of the best I've ever read. In parts hilarious, horrifying, fascinating, life affirming. Heavily influenced by Marquez, each book deals with a different issue affecting South America: 1st book details the destructive power of the army; 2nd the cocaine cartels; 3rd the Catholic church. This magical realist trilogy is one of the best I've ever read. In parts hilarious, horrifying, fascinating, life affirming. Heavily influenced by Marquez, each book deals with a different issue affecting South America: 1st book details the destructive power of the army; 2nd the cocaine cartels; 3rd the Catholic church.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Amyss

    PERFECTION X 3= THIS SERIES

  8. 4 out of 5

    Annie Moyes

    The Troublesome Offspring of Cardinal Guzman. Another De Bernieres masterpiece introducing humble village people with extraordinary nerve, verve braveness and the bitter, tortured Cardinal Guzman whose exulted position has been one of hell because he has never been able to live up to it, sends his embattled priests on a mission to bring God back to the heathens. Accompanied by former guerrillas, defrocked priests, and an army of whores they set out on a their mission - an inquisition that will d The Troublesome Offspring of Cardinal Guzman. Another De Bernieres masterpiece introducing humble village people with extraordinary nerve, verve braveness and the bitter, tortured Cardinal Guzman whose exulted position has been one of hell because he has never been able to live up to it, sends his embattled priests on a mission to bring God back to the heathens. Accompanied by former guerrillas, defrocked priests, and an army of whores they set out on a their mission - an inquisition that will destroy many in its path, except for an extraordinary village built high in the mountains who will, through sheer cunning bring this army of inquisitors to its knees. Louis de Bernieres writing is wonderful, painful, terrifying and sheer genius.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Damian O

    A magical series by de Bernieres, each book is a dense, pacey sequence of outrageous incidents, punctuated by descriptions so delicious that they implore you to childishly agree to pretend are really plausible. Many of these incidents or stories will irritate you into stopping to considering the larger themes they evoke, from political theory, religious tradition, the justification of terrorism, class-divide and time and time again, love. De Bernieres doesn't seem to be doing anything to inhibit A magical series by de Bernieres, each book is a dense, pacey sequence of outrageous incidents, punctuated by descriptions so delicious that they implore you to childishly agree to pretend are really plausible. Many of these incidents or stories will irritate you into stopping to considering the larger themes they evoke, from political theory, religious tradition, the justification of terrorism, class-divide and time and time again, love. De Bernieres doesn't seem to be doing anything to inhibit his predeliction for the absurd, and through doing this, he manages to maintain safe distance from the risk of seeming ascriptive and preachy. As I said, magical.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Jay Royston

    Loved these books - if you are into comedy/tragedy type plots, these are hard to beat. I laughed at times and I also was amazed at the tragedies Louis would put in there. It has an insane amount of insights into human nature and South American political comedy during a violent situation. I often recommend this for people who enjoyed Catch 22 or want something a bit deeper than Douglas Adams or Terry Pratchett.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Sally

    I love to read his books purely for the beautiful turn of phrase but also the way he mixes spirit world with us on earth. He creates characters who are absurd, connected to the other world, tragic, horrifying but experience enough of the similiar emotions and problems to me that I can relate. Besides all of that, he is just damn funny in a most unexpected way.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Glenn

    Major literary goldmine, recommended by Tara. Thick, substantial, riveting, immensely satisfying. And very entertaining, too. Great story telling, fascinating characters, all interwoven with obvious deep understanding of the history of every South American country. Best read in order (start w/Don Emmanuel). Merits multiple readings.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Nell

    This book gives the reader experiences he/she would never have - magic realism. the jungle, the mountains, the rainforest - the imagery is fantastic, so real that you feel as if you are there. The characters are so full tht when they experience tragedy or freedom or happiness, the reader does as well. Can't say enough about this book - great read. This book gives the reader experiences he/she would never have - magic realism. the jungle, the mountains, the rainforest - the imagery is fantastic, so real that you feel as if you are there. The characters are so full tht when they experience tragedy or freedom or happiness, the reader does as well. Can't say enough about this book - great read.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Clair Gorringe

    Bernieres paints a picture so vivid you want to jump on a plane (burro and epic hike) to visit his mythical South American destination. His cast of characters invite you to feel a gamut of emotions and many feel like old friends by the 3rd book. I have read this series many times and am enchanted and hooked every read.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Sally

    I started off loving this trilogy with its mixture of bizarre, grim and fantasy set in a corrupt mythical South American country. The macabre sat along side the weird in a compelling way. The end of the last book however jolts you into the realisation that this sort of corruptions and evil is everyday life for some people.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Sezín Koehler

    An absolutely magnificent trilogy about every social and cultural issue under the sun affecting South America. Gorgeously written, melding socio-economic theory with poetic magical realism. An absolute treat of a novel. You almost wish there was another trilogy to follow.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Dan Jones

    Funny and desperately sad at the same time. Magical and brutally real at the same time. My friend David bought me Senor Vivo as a Christmas present and I bought the rest. I like reading things set elsewhere in different cultures and this does that perfectly.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Shona Macdonald

    The most astonishing set of stories i've ever read. Utterly brilliant. Also contained a description of a scene i've had nightmares about but it was appropriate to the story. Takes a while to get into the rhythm of but once you're in, the humour and cadence is addictive :) The most astonishing set of stories i've ever read. Utterly brilliant. Also contained a description of a scene i've had nightmares about but it was appropriate to the story. Takes a while to get into the rhythm of but once you're in, the humour and cadence is addictive :)

  19. 4 out of 5

    Daniel Watts

    The most deeply engaging and moving books I have ever read. I read them years ago yet still have not read anything that comes close to the emotional power that I experienced reading these books. They are hilarious and deeply, tragically sad. A must read.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Justus

    Loved it!

  21. 5 out of 5

    Katharine Eger

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. Bird without Wings Beautiful book., sometimes too lyrical that it was hard to follow

  22. 4 out of 5

    Val

    I read this South American trilogy before Louis de Bernières's more famous Captain Corelli's Mandolin and still consider them his best work. This trilogy obviously owes a huge debt to magic realism literature, but he has done something very different to any Latin-American author I have read. The magical and symbolic parts blend seamlessly into the narrative, he has mastered the technique, but the difference is in the real life parts of the books. Life can be earthy and funny and sometimes tragic; I read this South American trilogy before Louis de Bernières's more famous Captain Corelli's Mandolin and still consider them his best work. This trilogy obviously owes a huge debt to magic realism literature, but he has done something very different to any Latin-American author I have read. The magical and symbolic parts blend seamlessly into the narrative, he has mastered the technique, but the difference is in the real life parts of the books. Life can be earthy and funny and sometimes tragic; de Bernières does not shrink from describing some horrific events in painstaking and painful detail. He also has a sense of humour which tends towards bodily functions, and he gives that full rein as well.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Gareth Mason

    Superb trilogy that feels very heavily influenced by Garcia Marquez's A Hundred Years of Solitude, which is the nearest I can come to a negative in that the authors inspiration came from the example of another. Nonetheless, his ability to conjure up three tragicomic masterpieces from this magical region without coming from it is the highest compliment to the writer and a generous gift to fans of great literature and exciting places. Superb trilogy that feels very heavily influenced by Garcia Marquez's A Hundred Years of Solitude, which is the nearest I can come to a negative in that the authors inspiration came from the example of another. Nonetheless, his ability to conjure up three tragicomic masterpieces from this magical region without coming from it is the highest compliment to the writer and a generous gift to fans of great literature and exciting places.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Jakes

    This book is competing with another novel set in South America -- Mutis's Adventures and Misadventures of Maqroll. At times De Bernieres' supercharged fantasy world carries the day -- at others I drift back to the more humanly believable and morally serious Mutis -- perverse huh? I know I should just settle down and read one or the other. This book is competing with another novel set in South America -- Mutis's Adventures and Misadventures of Maqroll. At times De Bernieres' supercharged fantasy world carries the day -- at others I drift back to the more humanly believable and morally serious Mutis -- perverse huh? I know I should just settle down and read one or the other.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Ana

    I enjoyed reading this book and I keep remembering the characters a while after finishing the book. A bit depressing a bit funny, quite violent and very good descriptions of everything. One really gets attached to the characters.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Michelle

    A surrealist novel that is both hilarious and horrifying at times, it parodies the history of Latin America from colonialism to the present.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Katie

    This is quirky but really wonderful. I'd recommend reading the whole trilogy. I felt completely transported to Latin America and into the world the author created. This is quirky but really wonderful. I'd recommend reading the whole trilogy. I felt completely transported to Latin America and into the world the author created.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Mick Barry

    My review for The War of Don Emmanual's Nether Parts is generic to this trilogy. My review for The War of Don Emmanual's Nether Parts is generic to this trilogy.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Louise

    Wonderfully witty satires of Latin American society from the Catholic Cardinals to the Communist revolutionaries.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Martin

    In my humble opinion, this is by far his best work.

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