Paraguay – the name conjures up everything most exotic and extreme in South America.
It’s a place of hellish jungles, dictators, fraudsters and Nazis, utopian experiments, missionaries and lurid coups.
It’s not a place for the timid because there isn’t even a guidebook.
But Paraguay, as revealed in this outstanding new book, is among the most beautiful and captivating countries in the world.
The beguiling Paraguayans, despised and feared by their neighbours, are unfathomable.
They adore Britain (hundreds volunteered to fight for Britain in the Falklands War), have a taste for soccer and, when the Vice-President is murdered, they call in Scotland Yard.
John Gimlette has written a brilliant evocation which captures Paraguay’s originality, passion, quirkiness and contradictions.