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On a tropical island in the throes of an election that is about to turn into a revolution, six Jesuit missionaries approach the evening of their days. The Old Ones, as they are called - a kind of chorus comprising three Americans, one German, an Italian, and a native islander - have years ago acquired a young maidservant who has bettered herself. She was beautiful and becomes even more so; she was bright and becomes brighter still, thanks to her association with the worldly-wise old priests - a combination that devastates the local youths and subjects the missionaries to one last ordeal. Each of them falls in love with her. Each of them conceals it. Each of them is afraid. One even quits the Church. Their ordered and safe world goes haywire and their peace of mind becomes precarious until a blatant offense against propriety turns all their hidden cards faceup. A German from the Eternal City - a chance acquaintance picked up on the coast and abducted rather than invited - makes a woman of the maidservant and turns the Old Ones into accomplices overnight. All at once they become instigators, accessories, pimps, spies, and petty parasites, indefatigable eavesdroppers on the love life under their roof. The evening of their days is forgotten...


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Published January 1, 2002 by Suhrkamp. 501 pages
Genres: Education & Reference, Literature & Fiction. Fiction

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The impending revolution that hovers in the background makes the seclusion of Kurt and Mayla's pastorale all the weirder--as does the fact that every single one of the priests is in love with her and makes a point of confessing his sexual transgressions to Kurt at the earliest opportunity.

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