Fic­tion

The Advertiser - SA Weekend - - BOOKS -

Poor Man’s Wealth Rod Usher, 4th Es­tate, $27.99 Im­bued by 20 years in Spain, Rod Usher has writ­ten a tale of life in Higot, a back­wa­ter vil­lage some­where in the to­bacco lands. Usher in­tro­duces a clus­ter of pro­vin­cial of­fi­cials beget­ting plans to save their ail­ing econ­omy. The tale is nar­rated by the cor­pu­lent mayor, El Gordo, who dwells in an in­her­ited li­brary of English books. Usher evokes his char­ac­ter slowly with in­ter­nal­i­sa­tions and one be­comes fond of his foibles and his good but wary heart. He and his com­mit­tee at­tempt to gen­er­ate a tourism in­dus­try by cre­at­ing a hoax at­trac­tion. Strangers start ar­riv­ing, sur­pris­ing the vil­lage with de­mands for things like re­fresh­ments and sou­venirs. It is all very gen­tle, softly comic and en­tirely charm­ing. Samela Har­ris

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