Louis de Bernieres’ trilogy set in South America (Colombia and Peru) is a quirky set of books that if I were to have to pick a genre would place them within the magical realism category. The books weave several tenuously linked storylines with a span of subject matter from political blunders, corruption and incompetence to and Andean healer who adopts a mute street urchin who ends up dying and becoming his guiding jungle spirit. The book was recommended to me after a Facebook plea for something “funny” but several of the utterly grotesque scenes recounting the violence of narcoterrorists are not in the least bit amusing. The stories of political corruption and brutality are peppered amongst stories of Andean magic men, wandering lepers, alchemy, and young intellectuals in love. It’s a bit of a weird combo. One minute someone if getting a Colombian necktie (where the throat is slit and the tongue pulled through the gash) and the next a woman who has had “alchemical sexual relations” gives birth to a kitten.
The writing is good though and the writer does an excellent job of drawing the reader in the sense of time and place.
Would I recommend ? That depends. I didn’t like the books enough to read the third in the trilogy but did managed to get absorbed by some of the stories in the first two. I wouldn’t go out of my way to track these down unless this genre or time and place is appealing to you.