the Troublesome Offspring of Cardinal Guzman by Luis de Bernières (1992)
“In the constitution of the city it states that “It is strictly forbidden to procure abortion by hanging a woman upside down in a sackful of ants and beating her until she miscarries. But it is permitted to procure abortions by means of dried llama foetuses.” It also states that “All visitors wishing to use the whorehouse must carry a certificate of clean blood from the clinic in Ipasueño,” and that “Anyone giving bad advice is responsible for what follows from that advice.”
Cardinal Guzman is the perfect cardinal on the outside, but he has a secret affair with his cook which has resulted in an illegitimate son. He is given reports saying that the country is full of heretics and they must do something about it, so he sends out some priests. But the priests are behaving worse than the Spanish Inquisition and they are heading for Cochadebajo de los Gatos.
Yes! This book is exactly how I hoped it would be, only many times better. In fact, it’s my favourite in the trilogy. The main reason for this is because it mainly dealt with the people of Cochadebajo and gave a lot of answers to things I wondered about in the first book (but also raised some new questions). And I got a much better picture of Dionisio in this one than in the previous book which bore his name.
But the cats are still my favourites. And perhaps the President’s sex life.