De Bernieres's debut novel is the delightfully funny tale about the
battle between Dona Constanza and the locals in her village, after
she diverts a river to fill her swimming pool. When troops of
soldiers are called in by the Government to deal with them, the
villages plan to flee to the mountains and start afresh. (Kirkus
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
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