This is classic Latin American magic realism - an epic story, told by a cranky but engaging narrator, of a family feud which spans generations and gives a fascinating insight into Venezuelan history.
It had rained for a week without surcease -growing stronger,half letting up, pouring out of the skies again. The village was a phantom place of muck, a dark blur in the middle of the woods, and the mud-coated men fought against the wrathful current. The river overflowed its bank and wiped out everything it found in its path, filling every rill or hollow and leaving ponds everywhere. It dragged along with it fenceposts, earth, stones, pieces of houses, animals, children.
For two days Andres Cayetano waded alongside the others, searching for the bodies of his children; some corpses appeared but not his. He left the church went back home empty-handed and told his wife: 'nothing.'