First published in Spain in 1968--so a forebear of One Hundred Years of Solitude, G-M's benchmark--and set also in a small jungle town, this short friendly novel weaves much less exaggerated fantasy than OHYS, but shares the same calm yet gay prose and morose humor. "Lampoons" have begun springing up on walls around town at night, misspelled gossip sheets that "say what everybody knows, which is almost always sure to be the truth." Not that anyone ever really sees them; they're ripped down too fast. But each poor soul is nervously afraid that the next one will be about him or her. Sailing imperturbably through the uproar are the local priest, the local doctor and dentist (a leader of the clandestine opposition to the corrupt regime of the military mayor), and his less-than-excellency himself. Eventually the story sharpens to a political point about corruption, but it's all done with genial exactitude; "Don't be surprised," one character reassures another, "all of this is life." Not major work but--again gloriously served by a fine Gregory Rabassa translation ("While the doctor was studying the dial, the curate examined the room with that boobish curiosity that consulting rooms tend to inspire")--a pleasing glimpse of a fanciful, vivid imagination at its most unforbidding.