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The first of Louis de Bernieres' magical, tragic, hilarious trilogy set in a fictional South American country.

When the spoilt and haughty Dona Constanza tries to divert a river to fill her swimming pool, she starts a running battle with the locals. The skirmishes are so severe that the Government dispatches a squadron of soldiers led by the fat, brutal and stupid Figueras to deal with them.
Despit visiting plagues of laughing fits and giant cats upon the troops, the villagers know that to escape the cruel and unusual tortures planned for them, they must run. Thus they plan to head for the mountains and start a new and convivial civilisation.

Reviews

A very good book indeed, the sharpest and funniest I have read in quite some time

Financial Times

A fat, juicy, tropical fruit of a narrative... There is astonishing landscape. There are numerous good jokes. And, indispensably in such a novel, there is magic

Independent on Sunday

A wonderful mixture of the mythical and the poetic, of the cruel and clinical aspects of life... I have seldom read a finer first novel. It is one to savour and revisit

Scotland on Sunday

Sureal and hilarious [...] perfect for anyone lucky enough to be on an South American gap year

Katy Guest, The Independent

A tour de force

Time Out

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Formats & editions

Also by Louis de Bernieres

Of Love and Desire
The Dust that Falls from Dreams
Imagining Alexandria
The Death of Miss Agatha Feakes (Storycuts)
Talking to George (Storycuts)
The Girt Pike (Storycuts)
Notwithstanding
A Partisan's Daughter
Birds Without Wings
Sunday Morning At The Centre Of The World
Captain Corelli's Mandolin
The Troublesome Offspring Of Cardinal Guzman
Senor Vivo & The Coca Lord

Recommendations

The Handmaid's Tale
To Kill A Mockingbird
Echo Burning
A Gentleman in Moscow
The Girl on the Train
The Heart's Invisible Furies
The Narrow Road to the Deep North
Dragonfly In Amber
The Golden House
The Curious Incident of the Dog In the Night-time
The Golden Age
Swing Time
The Mistress
Tiger Men
A Long Way from Home
Uncommon Type
The Trip of a Lifetime
The Travelling Cat Chronicles
Colombiano
The Light Between Oceans