“An exhilarating cacophony of conflicting voices . . . The fury of its rhetoric takes on all but irresistible momentum.”Kirkus Reviews
Act of the Damned
978-0-8021-3476-9 • $15.00 • Paperback • Oct. 1996
As the socialist revolution closes in, a once-wealthy
Portuguese family is accused of “economic sabotage.” They must escape across
the border to Spain, then on to Brazil—but the family is bankrupt, financially
and spiritually. The patriarch, Diogo, lies dying, while his rapacious
offspring rifle through his belongings, searching for his will. He remembers
with bitterness and resignation his foolish marriage to his brother’s beautiful
mistress, who left him with a mongoloid daughter and simpleminded son, who at
sixty is running toy trains past his father’s deathbed with the solemn
self-importance of a five-year-old.
Told through a rippling overlay of voices, Act of the
Damned circles closer and closer to the revelation of the diabolical
immorality of Diogo’s greedy son-in-law Rodrigo . . . who has fathered a child
on his own bastard daughter and who is closing in on Diogo’s crumbling estate.
In the oppressive autumn heat, the characters’ schemes ebb and flow in an
atmosphere of decrepit elegance, tarnished silver, and rotting brocade. When
the moment of departure finally arrives, the scene shifts from chaos to vacuum
and Rodrigo find himself no longer at the center of the group but,
terrifyingly, outside and alone.