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 Jiminéz, 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.
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Zulfikar Ghose is internationally known as a critic, poet and novelist. His books include Jets from Orange, Figures of Enchantment and a trilogy, The Incredible Brazilian. His work has received praise from T. S. Eliot, Anthony Burgess, John Fowles and Michael Moorcock, amongst others. Born in 1935 in Sialkot, Pakistan, Ghose emigrated to England in 1952. After graduating from Keele University with a BA in English and Philosophy, he lived in London where he was a cricket correspondent for The Observer and wrote for the Times Literary Supplement, The Spectator and the Western Daily Press. In 1960, he met the novelist and poet B. S. Johnson, with whom he became close friends, and in the same year he joined The Group – a collection of poets who met at Edward Lucie-Smith’s house in Chelsea to discuss their work. These meetings were attended by, amongst others, George MacBeth and Philip Hobsbaum, and occasionally by Ted Hughes. In 1963, Zulfikar Ghose was put forward for the E. C. Gregory Award by the judges T. S. Eliot, Herbert Read, Henry Moore and Howard Sergeant; but when Eliot fell ill, his place on the committee was taken by a solicitor who raised an objection concerning Ghose’s nationality. The committee decided to overcome the legal hurdle by giving him a “Special Award”. His works comprise books and poems published on both sides of the Atlantic and where his rich prose has been described as “remarkable, imagistic, witty and original” and all his writing “sheer literary pleasure, exciting, effective, evocative and the beauty of great art”. In 1969, Ghose emigrated to the U.S.A after an invitation to teach at the University of Texas at Austin. He had tea with Patricia Nixon at the White House who presented him with a copy of The Complete Poems of Elizabeth Bishop. He became a US citizen in 2004 and went on to hold the distinguished position of Susan Taylor McDaniel Regents Professor in Creative Writing. Ghose, now retired from full-time teaching, is the Professor Emeritus, University Texas at Austin. He lives with his wife Helena de la Fontaine, an artist from Brazil, whom he married in London in 1964.
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Book Description Hutchinson, 1989. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. book. Bookseller Inventory # 91476704