Siria's Reviews > Señor Vivo and the Coca Lord

Señor Vivo and the Coca Lord by Louis de Bernières
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's review
Dec 12, 2008

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bookshelves: 20th-century, british-fiction, magical-realism
Read in December, 2008

Señor Vivo and the Coca Lord is a parody, pastiche and example of magical realism in equal measure—the tale of a philosophy professor, Dionisio Vivo, from a country not unlike Colombia, who begins a war of letters in the newspaper editorial pages against a major drug trafficker, and is forced to end it in great violence. This is not a book for the faint-hearted (I'm not joking about the degree of violence) nor is it a book for someone who finds the magical realism genre tiresome (de Bernières avoids it ever being twee, but it is a bold and sometimes buffoonish element of the book, played for laughs and sarcasm), but if you like your novels in uncompromisingly primary colours, you might well enjoy it. It's not my favourite of his books, but I did enjoy it—though having read de Bernières for the first time in a while, since I've started to educate myself a little more about the things which underpin what I read, the fact that it's a white British guy writing a satire set in a Latin American country... I don't know quite how to categorise it, but at times it felt a little—voyeuristic? Is that the right word? There were sections where it felt as if he was almost making another country his playground, and that made for uncomfortable reading.

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12/12/2008 page 12
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