The War of Don Emmanuel’s Nether Parts- Louis de Bernieres

Image from Amazon

Synopsis (from Amazon)

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.

Despite 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.

Note: I do not feel that this synopsis adequately describes the book. However I am at a loss of how I can describe it any better while still allowing some of the…plot to be hinted at so I am using this for lack of anything better.


Oh why had a never heard of this book before? I can’t even remember seeing it in bookstores (despite the fact that it is the first in a series and still in print). For so long I have been looking for a Louis de Bernieres novel which meets up to my experience of Captain Corelli’s Mandolin which is one of my favourite books. I had seen Senor Vivo & The Coca Lord a number of times and considered buying it but was never convinced (it is probably a good thing seeing as it is further along in the same series). Well I can certainly say I want to read it now!

I suppose you can guess that I really enjoyed this book. I think it sis one of the most unique books I have ever read. It’s full of all kinds of strange happenings. Those who watch my twitter feed may have noticed me commenting that I had never read a book where a woman gave birth to a cat before, and that gives you just an idea of some of the strange things that happen in this book!

It did take me a little time to get into, but once I was into it you couldn’t get me away from it, and I generally find that I end up loving books more when they have been hard work. There was a point where the main strangeness was that I couldn’t work out how it would all come together. It seemed for a long time that there were just lots of individual storylines which weren’t connected, or at least barely connected, and I kept getting the characters mixed up. However after a while I began to work things out a bit more, and even became disappointed when a chapter end because I knew it would be a while before I found out what would happen to that character, and the stories began to join together a bit more.

I can’t say there was a character I didn’t enjoy reading about by the end but I did especially like reading about the President. I also enjoyed how different sides of the same story were shown so that even though there were some horrible acts they never really seemed to be done by horrible men because you not only saw their consequences but also how they came about.

I cannot wait to read the rest of the series



If anyone knows where I read the review of this book which prompted me to read it can you let me know so I can credit them please?


Filed under Contempory, Fiction review

27 responses to “The War of Don Emmanuel’s Nether Parts- Louis de Bernieres

  1. Holly Parker

    The trilogy of my favourite 3 books of all time. I love them all! The most colourful, interested, flavoured books of all. Enjoy the rest!


  2. Lucybird

    Thanks, I’m really looking forward to them


  3. i love love love this series! even though some of the violence in it gets quite graphic i just love the way he uses humour and wackiness to tell a great story and really convey some poignant emotions and tragedies. i want to move to cochadebajo de los gatos!


  4. Anonymous

    The books in this set are on a ‘slow burn’. People are talking, it is not big advertising which is on fire for them.


  5. Lucybird

    I think I prefer that anyway. Overhype just puts me off.


  6. Lucybird

    Yeah I know what you mean about the violence, but I think it’s needed, it makes what happens so much more real.


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  8. Toots

    I read this book on your passionate recommendation, and very interesting it was too. It has the feel of a fable, with strange and violent events told in a detached voice, which brings out the tragedy and also the irony so well. In particular I was moved by the way events seemed to move on a wave of error, misjudgement and self-interest. Awful occurrences were the result of mistakes, foolishness or stupidity rather than evil. And there was always the feeling that systems had taken over – systems that did not take into account human nature and led to corruption. Wow – a really political book but with a light touch. Thanks for the recommendation!


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