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The Wine of Astonishment is a novel by Earl Lovelace about the Prohibition movement in Trinidad and its effect on a Spiritual Baptist town, who use Sacramental Wine in their worship.
Mitchell is a cousin of the narrator, a lazy and dishonest man who has no care for the people around him:
...Mitchell, my cousin, who leave off labouring on Richardson Estate, borrow a saw and hammer and pass himself off to the Americans as a carpenter, spend, as he boast forever after, six months carpentering without ever driving a nail.
In no time at all Mitchell is foreman of a gang of carpenters. He is money-lender and Contact-Man, dealing in blackmarket goods and selling GI boots and other things he thief from the American Base.
(Lovelace, The Wine of Astonishment, Google Books)
Mitchell uses many methods of the con-man, posing as a man of skill and worth to trick people into supporting him. His influence with the Americans, based entirely on his bluster, lands him in the position of underground hustler, the man who can get anything for anyone for the right price. This reputation inflates Mitchell's ego, and he becomes a smug and cruel man, boasting about his wealth and insulting his friends and family for their lower standards of living. He is an opportunist, and rejects the town's religious faith for a job with their dishonest councilman, Ivan Morton.
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