This week’s Read comes courtesy of Miranda, our Reading Resources Intern who suggests Seńor Vivo and the Coco Lord by Louis de Berniéres.
Seńor Vivo and the Coca Lord is the second book in de Berniéres’ Latin American trilogy, though it can be enjoyed alone at no disadvantage.
Set in a nameless country, thought to be based upon Colombia, we follow the exploits of philosophy lecturer Dioniso Vivo and his attempts to challenge the ludicrously corrupt government and drug cartel through a number of ingenious and condemnatory letters published in national newspaper, La Prensa. De Berniéres is a master of magical realism; what he gives us in brutal and vivid depictions of violence, he balances wonderfully with warm glimpses of magical, folkish tales.
De Bernieres’ light touch and use of comedy makes his difficult subject matter and commentary on the state of late 20th century Central and South America more accessible. I enjoyed the novel on holiday and it made for a surprisingly light and vibrant read, while its realist, unglamourised style ensured that the real issues at the heart of the book remained with me after reading.
“Dolphins love each other so romantically, so playfully, so completely, that it is obvious that they are sent by God to teach us by their example to do the same.”
Louis de Bernieres, Seńor Vivo and the Coca Lord