Figures of Enchantment

Zulfikar Ghose, Author HarperCollins Publishers $20.45 (256p) ISBN 978-0-06-015575-9
The author of Don Bueno, a native of Pakistan who lives in Texas, writes in the surrealist mode common to much Latin American fiction. Felipe Gamboa, a government clerk in a mythical South American country, forbids a young suitor, Federico, to woo his daughter Mariana. Neither a revolutionary nor a troublemaker, Felipe is shortly afterward arrested on suspicion of threatening to overthrow the government and dumped into a small boat miles from habitation. Federico, in despair over the loss of Mariana, is picked up at a carnival by an aging courtesan and eventually introduced to a kind of international pimp, well acquainted with women eager to buy Federico's company. Felipe, meanwhile, having drifted to safety on a small island, marries and begets Herminia, in whom his lost Mariana is recreated. When Herminia is 16Mariana's age when her father was arrestedFederico is sent to reclaim the island. Federico has never stopped thinking about Mariana, and seeing Herminia he is stirred with memories of his long-repressed love. But tragedy waits for the players in this convoluted drama, which is burdened with a tangled narrative thread, an unlikely series of coincidences and puppet-like characters who move not by volition but by their author's whim. (July 16)
Reviewed on: 01/01/1986
Release date: 01/01/1986
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