God's Favorite: A Novel

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9781416562474: God's Favorite: A Novel

In this fascinating work of historical fiction, Pulitzer Prize -- winning author Lawrence Wright captures all the gripping drama and black humor of Panama during the final, nerve-racking days of its legendary dictator, Manuel Antonio Noriega.

It is Christmas 1989, and Tony Noriega's demons are finally beginning to catch up with him. A former friend of President Bush, Fidel Castro, and Oliver North, this universally reviled strongman is on the run from the U.S. Congress, the Justice Department, the Colombian mob, and a host of political rivals. In his desperation, he seeks salvation from any and all quarters -- God, Satan, a voodoo priest, even the spirits of his murdered enemies. But with a million-dollar price on his head and 20,000 American soldiers on his trail, Noriega is fast running out of options.

Drawn from a historical record more dramatic than even the most artful spy novel, God's Favorite is a riveting and darkly comic fictional account of the events that occurred in Panama from 1985 to the dictator's capture in 1989. With an award-winning journalist's eye for detail, Lawrence Wright leads the reader toward a dramatic face-off in the Vatican embassy, where Noriega confronts his psychological match in the papal nuncio.

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Review:

Lawrence Wright is the author of several books of nonfiction, including the gripping Remembering Satan (1994), about an epidemic of "recovered" memories of Satanic ritual abuse in Olympia, Washington. God's Favorite is his first work of fiction, but it more accurately falls into the category of what Truman Capote called the nonfiction novel, since it is based in historical fact (the ouster of General Manuel Noriega in Panama)--but dialogue, description, and characters are embellished and in some cases entirely invented. As a political thriller, it is a genuine page-turner. Wright's prose has always been full of grit and electricity, but he has fun with fiction in a way he couldn't as a reporter.

At the heart of the book are two men living somewhat parallel lives: General Noriega and the Papal Nuncio--a burnt out, disgraced priest who revels in corruption: "He adored the secrecy, the scheming and plotting, the intricate connivings, the hidden meanings that made life in Panama a study in human duplicity." It's an atmosphere Wright captures masterfully--"a country that dines on gossip," the Chorrillo neighborhood where "rotten buildings slumped against one another like a bunch of packing boxes that had been left out in the rain." Moving through various private and public lives, Wright reveals how both men come to fear for their lives in a virtually lawless country where torture is an art form.

Like a superior made-for-TV miniseries, Wright's book brings the past alive in the form of melodrama. Noriega, the acne-scarred, sexually voracious dictator is a truly twisted villain: spooky and pathetic at once. One of the book's greatest scenes happens aboard a yacht, the Macho III, where Noriega and Oliver North are being waited on by a topless stewardess named Chiquita. North delivers the bad news that with his best pal William Casey dead, Noriega may be indicted for drug trafficking. As he talks, the American quaffs carrot juice and eats ribs, wiping sauce from his chin and trying not to ogle the girls. Meanwhile, Noriega tells him, "I think it's a sin to eat the flesh of other animals. Of course, you should enjoy your meal, don't worry about the moral consequences." It's a scene so twisted it made me feel positively patriotic. --Emily White

About the Author:

Lawrence Wright is a staff writer for The New Yorker and a fellow at the Center on Law and Security at New York University School of Law. The author of six works of nonfiction, including the Pulitzer Prize-winning The Looming Tower: Al-Qaeda and the Road to 9/11, he lives in Austin, Texas.

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Book Description SIMON SCHUSTER, United States, 2007. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Reprint. Language: English . Brand New Book. In this fascinating work of historical fiction, Pulitzer Prize -- winning author Lawrence Wright captures all the gripping drama and black humor of Panama during the final, nerve-racking days of its legendary dictator, Manuel Antonio Noriega. It is Christmas 1989, and Tony Noriega s demons are finally beginning to catch up with him. A former friend of President Bush, Fidel Castro, and Oliver North, this universally reviled strongman is on the run from the U.S. Congress, the Justice Department, the Colombian mob, and a host of political rivals. In his desperation, he seeks salvation from any and all quarters -- God, Satan, a voodoo priest, even the spirits of his murdered enemies. But with a million-dollar price on his head and 20,000 American soldiers on his trail, Noriega is fast running out of options. Drawn from a historical record more dramatic than even the most artful spy novel, God s Favorite is a riveting and darkly comic fictional account of the events that occurred in Panama from 1985 to the dictator s capture in 1989. With an award-winning journalist s eye for detail, Lawrence Wright leads the reader toward a dramatic face-off in the Vatican embassy, where Noriega confronts his psychological match in the papal nuncio. Bookseller Inventory # AAS9781416562474

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Book Description SIMON SCHUSTER, United States, 2007. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Reprint. Language: English . Brand New Book. In this fascinating work of historical fiction, Pulitzer Prize -- winning author Lawrence Wright captures all the gripping drama and black humor of Panama during the final, nerve-racking days of its legendary dictator, Manuel Antonio Noriega. It is Christmas 1989, and Tony Noriega s demons are finally beginning to catch up with him. A former friend of President Bush, Fidel Castro, and Oliver North, this universally reviled strongman is on the run from the U.S. Congress, the Justice Department, the Colombian mob, and a host of political rivals. In his desperation, he seeks salvation from any and all quarters -- God, Satan, a voodoo priest, even the spirits of his murdered enemies. But with a million-dollar price on his head and 20,000 American soldiers on his trail, Noriega is fast running out of options. Drawn from a historical record more dramatic than even the most artful spy novel, God s Favorite is a riveting and darkly comic fictional account of the events that occurred in Panama from 1985 to the dictator s capture in 1989. With an award-winning journalist s eye for detail, Lawrence Wright leads the reader toward a dramatic face-off in the Vatican embassy, where Noriega confronts his psychological match in the papal nuncio. Bookseller Inventory # AAS9781416562474

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