The News from Paraguay

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Opening in 1854, this historical novel follows Ella Lynch, a young Irishwoman who begins a passionate affair with Francisco "Franco" Lopez, the charming but volatile son of Paraguay's leader.  When she arrives in Franco's home country, she revels in her new status as his paramour − especially once Franco assumes the position of president.  But when Franco suddenly declares war on Paraguay's powerful neighbors, Ella's gilded existence is thrown into chaos. 

Written in short vignettes that illuminate the lives of Ella and Franco, The News from Paraguay weaves an engrossing tale of love, loyalty, and destruction.

"As if he had read his mother's mindhe would be damned if he drowned! Franco decided to learn how to swim.  Swimming, he knew, was both cleansing and good exercise.  (In Europe, it was the rage even women swam, and in the city of London alone there were six permanent pools and Franco had watched dozens of boys swim from floating baths under Waterloo Bridge.)  At the suggestion of Mr. Frederick Masterman, the apothecary general to the Paraguayan Army, who also had assured Franco that he had seen this practiced successfully in his native town of Croydon, Franco put a frog in a large basin full of water, then lay naked on his bathroom floor and copied exactly the frog's screwlike movements."

Lily Tuck is an American short story writer, biographer, and novelist.  Her published works include The News from Paraguay; Siam; I Married You for Happiness; and Limbo, and Other Places I Have Lived.

Published:  2004
Length:  248 pages
Set in:  Paraguay