When a witch doctor appears on the Marquis de Casalduero's doorstep prophesizing a plague of rabies in their Colombian seaport, he dismisses her claims - until he hears that his young daughter, Sierva Maria, was one of four people bitten by a rabid dog, and the only one to survive. Sierva Maria appears completely unscathed - but as rumours of the plague spread, the Marquis and his wife wonder at her continuing good health. In a town consumed by superstition, it's not long before they, and everyone else, put her survival down to a demonic possession and begin to see her supernatural powers as the cause of the town's woes. Only the young priest charged with exorcising the evil spirit recognizes the girl's sanity, but can he convince the town that it's not her that needs healing?
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From the Nobel Prize-winning author of Love in the Time of Cholera, a startling new novel -- the story of a doomed love affair between an unruly copper-haired girl and the bookish priest sent to oversee her exorcism.
Of Love and Other Demons is set in a South American seaport in the colonial era, a time of viceroys and bishops, enlightened men and Inquisitors, saints and lepers and pirates. Sierva Maria, only child of a decaying noble family, has been raised in the slaves' courtyard of her father's cobwebbed mansion while her mother succumbs to fermented honey and cacao on a faraway plantation. On her twelfth birthday the girl is bitten by a rabid dog, and even as the wound is healing she is made to endure therapies indistinguishable from tortures. Believed, finally, to be possessed, she is brought to a convent for observation. And into her cell stumbles Father Cayetano Delaura, the Bishop's protege, who has already dreamed about a girl with hair trailing after her like a bridal train; who is already moved by this kicking, spitting, emaciated creature strapped to a stone bed. As he tends to her with holy water and sacramental oils, Delaura feels "something immense and irreparable" happening to him. It is love, "the most terrible demon of all." And it is not long before Sierra Maria joins him in his fevered misery.
Unsettling and indelible, Of Love and Other Demons haunts us with its evocation of an exotic world while it treats, majestically the most universal experiences known to woman and man.
Natasha Richardson's film credits include Nell, Widow's Peak, The Comfort of Strangers, and The Handmaid's Tale. She has appeared on stage in Anna Christie, High Society, Hamlet, and A Midsummer Night's Dream, among others.
Gabriel Garcia Marquez (1927- ) was born in Aracataca, Colombia. His most recent book, Memories of My Melancholy Whores, is his first new novel to be published in a decade and is available as a Penguin Paperback. He is the author of several novels, works of non-fiction and collections of short stories, including Leaf Storm (1955); One Hundred Years of Solitude (1967); The Autumn of the Patriarch (1975); Chronicle of a Death Foretold (1981) and The General in His Labyrinth (1989). He was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1982.
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Book Description Penguin Books, 1996. Paperback. Book Condition: New. book. Bookseller Inventory # M014024669X