|About the Book|
Carl, Willi,and BlancheIn l967, three young North Americans, Willi, Carl, and Blanche, set out in an old Buick to visit an uncle of Willi’s who lives in Central America. Willi,, a Marxist, who has never questioned his decision to be a painter, isMoreCarl, Willi,and BlancheIn l967, three young North Americans, Willi, Carl, and Blanche, set out in an old Buick to visit an uncle of Willi’s who lives in Central America. Willi,, a Marxist, who has never questioned his decision to be a painter, is hoping to experience and to work- Carl, indecisive, a follower, is avoiding the draft- and Blanche, dangerously passive, is along for the ride.The Buick makes their first decision, breaking down a country short of their destination. While waiting for the car to be fixed, they chance on a disillusioned young teacher from Indiana, who wants to sublet his house and leave the country. The three decide to stay, taking over the teacher’s bizarre house in the city.Willi takes an odd job- and begins to paint. Carl is hired to teach English to a middle-aged gentlewoman, doña Luz, and, through this connection, they come to live—after a fire destroys the house—at a remote farm belonging to her. Carl is drawn into her circle of Catholic charity, which includes her Marxist neighbors, Sonia and Sergio. Carl and Willi begin to visit the young couple for conversation. It is all very exhilarating until a kidnapped North American businessman is brought by Sergio’s associates to be hidden in the couple’s modest midst.The businessman is depressed, and intent on allowing himself to die of untreated diabetes. No doctor dares to come to attend him. Carl and Willi are asked to come and help keep him alive by forced feeding. They enter the pain of their countryman as well as the pain of their new neighbors. The businessman dies, and the couple ask Carl to try to have doña Luz save their children, but a Christmas celebration distracts everyone and the whole family is arrested.During this time, Blanche has allowed herself to be seduced by a farmhand, and Carl to fall in love with Doña Luz. Carried far beyond their flight to a childhood memory by all these happenings, the three separate: Willi choosing to stay in Sonia’s burned out home and wait for her, Blanche to return home and Carl to remain with D. Luz, “observing her from the distance she has imposed on him.