A New History Of Torments Zulfikar Ghose 1982
A New History of Torments is a work of extraordinary imaginative scope by a writer at the height of his powers - a novel in which allegory and action, illusion and disillusion, passion and suspense blend into a complex and fascinating plot that could have been devised by a cunning fate ... or by a master novelist.
The story begins with a wealthy South American ranch owner, Jorge Rojas Jiminez, and the curse he brings on his land when he leaves his wife of two decades for a young and greedy mistress. As drought withers the crops, vampire bats ravage the herds, and the earth dies, Rojas' two grown-up children, Rafael and Violeta, leave home for adventures of their own with the aging revolutionary-adventurer Mark Kessel.
Embarking on one last extravagant exploit, Kessel has agreed to deliver two million dollars' worth of gold bullion for the revolution, in return for an ancient map, which, it is claimed, points the way to El Dorado. The map spells misfortune for all who possess it, for all who seek lost worlds and a lost treasure of gold. The combination of Rojas' crime against his family and Kessel's blundering onto his ranch to save his own skin affects, first innocently and then with an increasingly horrifying inevitability, the lives of several other characters: Rafael and Violeta; Violeta's friend Madeleine; and Jason, Kessel's nephew far away in Pernambuco on the Atlantic, become blindly committed to actions over which they seemingly have no control. A destiny that is comical and hideous, lyrical and tragic, pulls them into a fantastic flow of events.
Enchanting and exotic as a dream, A New History of Torments unfolds its mysteries and constant surprises with all the pace and excitement of a suspense novel. And yet, by its scope and the quality of the writing, it has the inevitability and beauty of great art.