“Tyrant Banderas was first published in 1926 and remains a masterpiece – now given a new lease of life in Peter Bush’s excellent translation. The novel spans three tumultuous days, and its deliberately bewildering structure (divided into seven parts with each subdivided into separate books) is reminiscent of Malcolm Lowry’s Under the Volcano. Santos Banderas is an unforgettable character, as is the effeminate Barón de Benicarlés, head of the colonial legation and ‘His Catholic Majesty’s plenipotentiary minister’, who fritters away his stipend from the Spanish crown shooting up morphine, delousing his lapdog, powdering his face and lusting after bullfighters.
“This banana republic whose resources are exploited by foreign investors at the expense of the serf-like ‘coppery populace’ of native Indians is only too familiar, but the fact that Valle-Inclán never specifies the locale of the tyrant’s dominion only adds to the book’s universality and timelessness. ”