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4.5 out of 5 stars
Senor Vivo & The Coca Lord
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 16 January 2008
It would be a mistake to remember de Bernieres solely in terms of 'Captain Corelli', although that is undoubtedly a great book. For me, the trilogy of which 'Senor Vivo' is the central part is even better. Admittedly, it needs some concentration to remember all of the names of people and places, but it's really worth the effort in this case. It helps a little to read them in order, but I didn't, and still survived. A truly magnificent book!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 7 January 2012
This is one of my favourite books ever! I did accidentally read the triolgy in the wrong order, which didn't actually matter too much. However, I would recommend starting with 'The War of Don Emmanuel's Nether Parts' and 'The Troublesome Offspring of Cardinal Guzman'. They are also both incredible!

I believe that de Bernieres' style is very unqiue and perhaps takes some getting used to but his narrative is captivating and the plot is beautiful. I even cried at certain points in this book.

Definitely would recommend this book, it will change you and stay with you forever. I come back to it every few months and always take something new from it.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on 30 January 1999
This is a wonderful book that continues with many of the characters from his first book (The war of Don Emmanuel's Nether Parts, which I thought had a slightly keener edge). His idiosyncratic style of a multiplicity of threads with very short chapters takes a little getting used to but is so effective once you've got the hang of it.
Although it is a superb book, you'll enjoy it even more if you have knowledge of Spanish and/or Portuguese since he pokes gentle fun using these languages.
Louis de Bernieres is a wonderful author who writes well constructed English that is a pleasure to read. I promise you won't be disappointed by this book, but DO read Don Emmanuel first. (I haven't been paid to say this - honestly!)
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
on 2 June 2000
I actually read this book first of the South American trilogy and it did not diminish my enjoyment at all. I just love these books - the language is poetical, you feel every emotion from shock to humour to disgust to sympathy. How I wish I could visit Cochadebajo de los Gatos! If you haven't read Louis de Bernieres' books before they do take a bit of getting used to but believe me it is well worth it and you will be hooked!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 16 January 2008
It would be a mistake to remember de Bernieres solely in terms of 'Captain Corelli', although that is undoubtedly a great book. For me, the trilogy of which 'Senor Vivo' is the central part is even better. Admittedly, it needs some concentration to remember all of the names of people and places, but it's really worth the effort in this case. It helps a little to read them in order, but I didn't, and still survived. A truly magnificent book!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 12 October 2007
This book has wonderful irreverent humour contrasted with gruesome violence, all woven into an absolutely brilliant entrancing story. I'm sure I didn't understand all the nuances as I speak neither Spanish nor Portuguese but enjoyed it immensely. I may have made the mistake of not reading de Bernieres' earlier books in this series first, but am not sure I would have had a higher opinion of the book if I had done so.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on 19 September 2000
Whilst I found the first part of the trilogy too loose in its structure, de Bernieres here concentrates on a single story, and the novel is better for it. I think this simplified narrative is more accessible than either Don Emmanuel or Captain Corelli, opening up the story to its audience better. I found the torture scenes towards the end too graphic (and I'm not normally squeamish) and ill-suited to the humour and satire that had gone previously - the juxtaposition of horror with humour is something that the author balances better in Corelli. Still, another excellent read and recommended.
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on 30 September 1999
I thought this was good and was pleasantly surprised to be reunited with the characters from Nether Parts, like meeting old friends. Having said that I didn't rate this book in the same league. He uses the same writing style with a multiplicity of shorts chapters which I like but also the brief glimpses of what is to come which worked well in Nether Parts and Correlli don't really come off here, indeed one of them doesn't happen at all. He also seems to mail in the ending which is true to some extent in the other books but gets a bit tiresome when it happens all the time. Finally I think he seems to go a bit over the top with some of his characterisations in this book. What were interesting (if unbelievable) characters in Nether Parts seem to me to become charicatures in this book and he appears to be trying too hard to be a little off the wall. Overall though very readable and enjoyable and I can't wait to read Cardinal Guzman, plus my Mexican friend says it is a perfect representation of Latin American life and culture, so what do I know!?
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on 17 December 1999
As an early book of Louis de Bernieres, Senor Vivo is not as sophisticated as Captain Corelli. It does not have the variety of writing styles present in his later offering, but nevertheless this is a very enjoyable read. Senor Vivo is, like Don Emmanuel, set in a chaotic South American state. It is about a clash between good and evil, between morals and money, and of course between ideas. Its hero is endearing and entertaining, the scenes are bizarre but very humourous (what other novel begins with a comment on the President fathering a cat?), and the underlying serious theme is thought-provoking. If you are looking for an epic, then this is nto for you. It is light reading, appropriate for a 'before bed' or a 'holiday' read, but it is engaging, emotional and enthralling. Another winner from Louis de Bernieres, certainly destined to be a great writer.
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on 19 August 1999
As a follow up to Don Emmanuel, this is no disappointment. The characters are wonderfully contructed, and the author demands complete attention, as seemingly incongruous events slowly all fit into place. In order to enjoy the book fully, the reader must be prepared to accept that people can, in fact, turn themselves into eagles. This is a wonderful, sad, outrageous, funny, clever, and beautifully crafted book. Read it (but only once you've read Don Emmanuel! - things make a whole lot more sense!)
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