Manuel, the strange-eyed young seminarist walks so closely, so peculiarly with Christ that it is not always possible to distinguish him from the object of his passionate zeal. As anomalous as the dark, seething country which bred him, Manuel is the son of a pure blooded Mexican woman- Maria of the red eyes- and a tormented young peasant. Three forces animate him, forces which in anyone but a true Mexican would ignite: a fervent Christianity, an equally ardent belief in the ancient Indian deities, and the fire of the militant revolutionary, which the author suggests is, in essence, Christian. To Manuel these are the same -- dark, unbreakable ties with time, birth and death. And Manuel lives his life, outwardly receptive to the foreign influences of Mexico City, never forgetting the lessons taught him by his friend, an itinerant peddler and a religious zealot, and then, having raped a young girl, allows himself to be chained to a cross where as a ritual figure he is to rest the night. The narrator goes to the mount to release him, but he is already released, and cradled in the arms of a tall stranger, disappears into the Mexican night, which is, for all one knows, eternity... An intricate pattern of homosexuality, earthiness, and Catholic Communism permeate this poetic novel in which ultimately Mexico-- deep, brooding, unknowable--emerges as the hero. A baffling, beautifully written story by the author of The Little Valley of God, but obscure for popular acceptance.