'A comic novel on the grand scale written with tremendous confidence and verve. Mario, 18-year-old law student and radio news-editor, falls scandalously for his Aunt Julia, the 32-year-old divorced wife of a cousin, and the progressively lunatic story of this affair is interwoven with episodes from a series of radio soap-operas written by his friend Pedro Comacho. Vargas Llosa's huge energy and inventiveness is extravagant and fabulously funny.' New Statesman
The Dream of the Celt explores the life of the Irish revolutionary Sir Roger Casement who was executed for treason after his involvement in the 1916 Easter Rising, travelling with its protagonist from Liverpool and Dublin to the Congo and Peru, where Casement worked as a British consul, and to London, where he ended his life in Pentonville jail.With its preoccupation with political issues and its international scope The Dream of the Celt sits firmly in the tradition of the greatest of Vargas Llosa's work.
In 1844, Flora Tristan embarked on a tour of France to campaign for workers' and women's rights. In 1891, her grandson set sail for Tahiti, determined to escape civilisation and seek out inspiration to paint his primitive masterpieces. Flora died before her grandson was born, but their travels and obsessions unravel side by side in this absorbing novel. Flora, the illegitimate child of a wealthy Peruvian father and French mother, grows up in poverty, and after fleeing a brutal husband, journeys to Peru to demand her inheritance. On her return, she makes her name as a popular writer and a champion of the dispossessed, setting herself the arduous task of touring the French countryside to recruit members for her Workers' Union. Paul, struggling, profligate painter and stubborn visionary, abandons his wife and five children for life in the South Seas, where his dreams of paradise are poisoned by poverty, syphilis and the stifling forces of French colonialism, though he has his pick of teenage Tahitian lovers and paints some of his greatest works. A rare study of passion, ambition and the determined pursuit of greatness in the face of illness, death and conservative forces, The Way to Paradise shows a contemporary master at the peak of his powers.
In Who Killed Palomino Molero? Mario Vargas LLosa has turned to detective fiction. The setting is Peru in the 1950s. Near an air force base in the northern deserts, a young airman is found brutally tortured and murdered. Two local policemen, Lieutenant Silva and Officer Lituma, set out to investigate. But they are not glamorous detectives with modern resources at their disposal; they don't even have a squad car and have to hitch rides on chiken trucks and cajole a local cabdriver to take them out to the scene of the crime. Not that anyone seems eager for Silva and Lituma to capture Palomino Molero's killer. But the two policemen persevere, and the slow and haphazard pace of the investigation only serves to intensify the high-pitched narrative tension, as the novel comes to haltingly rest on the very question with which it began. Who killed Palomino Molero? is an entertaining and brilliantly plotted mystery. It is also serious fiction. Deftly, unobtrusively, the book takes up some of the great themes of all of Vargas Llosa's novels: guilt and innocence, the impossibility of justice in a society grounded in inequality and the eternally elusive nature of the truth.
Mario Vargas Llosa's A Fish in the Water is a twofold book: a memoir by one of Latin America's most celebrated writers, beginning with his birth in 1936 in Arequipa, Peru; and the story of his organization of the reform movement which culminated in his bid for the Peruvian presidency in 1990.Llosa evokes the experiences which gave rise to his fiction, and describes the social, literary, and political influences that led him to enter the political arena as a crusader for a free-market economy.A deeply absorbing look at how fact becomes fiction and at the formation of a courageous writer with strong political commitments, A Fish in the Water reveals Mario Vargas Llosa as a world figure whose real story is just beginning.
Urania Cabral, a New York lawyer, returns to the Dominican Republic after a lifelong self-imposed exile. Once she is back in her homeland, the elusive feeling of terror that has overshadowed her whole life suddenly takes shape. Urania's own story alternates with the powerful climax of dictator Rafael Trujillo's reign. In 1961, Trujillo's decadent inner circle (which includes Urania's soon-to-be disgraced father) enjoys the luxuries of privilege while the rest of the nation lives in fear and deprivation. As Trujillo clings to power, a plot to push the Dominican Republic into the future is being formed. But after the murder of its hated dictator, the Goat, is carried out, the Dominican Republic is plunged into the nightmare of a bloody and uncertain aftermath. Now, thirty years later, Urania reveals how her own family was fatally wounded by the forces of history. In The Feast of the Goat Mario Vargas Llosa eloquently explores the effects of power and violence on the lives of both the oppressors and those they victimized. 'The Feast of the Goat will stand out as the great emblematic novel of Latin America's twentieth century and removes One Hundred Years of Solitude of that title.' Times Literary Supplement
Set in an isolated, run down community in the Peruvian Andes, Vargas Llosa's riveting novel tells the story of a series of mysterious disappearances involving the Shining Path guerrillas and a local couple performing cannibalistic sacrifices with strange similarities to the Dionysian rituals of ancient Greece. Part-detective novel and part-political allegory, it offers a panoramic view of Peruvian society; not only of the current political violence and social upheaval, but also of the country's past, and its connection to Indian culture and to pre-Hispanic mysticism. As in his other novels, Vargas Llosa breathes into this work a magical assemblage of narrators, time frames and subplots. We meet Senderista guerrillas, disenfranchised Indians, jaded army officers, eccentric townspeople and cult worshippers, among many unforgettable characters. The result is a work of broad sweep, powerful narrative drive, and keen insight into one of Latin America's most fascinating and complex countries.
The Cubs and Other Stories is Mario Vargas Llosa's only volume of short fiction available in English. Vargas Llosa's domain is the Peru of male youth and machismo, where life's dramas play themselves out on the soccer field, on the dance floor and on street corners. The title work, The Cubs, tells the story of the carefree boyhood of PP Cuellar and his friends, and of PP's bizarre accident and tragic coming of age. In a candid and perceptive foreword to this collection of early writing, Vargas Llosa provides background to the volume and a unique glimpse into the mind of the artist.
Don Rigoberto - a rather grey insurance executive by day, a dedicated pornographer and sexual enthusiast by night - misses Lucrecia, his estranged second wife. He desperately compensates for her absence by filling his notebooks with a steamy mix of memory and sexual fantasy. Husband and wife have been separated for a year because of a sexual encounter between Rigoberto's pre-pubescent son Alfonso and his stepmother. Alfonso is a strange fey creature of angelic appearance and apparently diabolical impulses - more seducer than seduced despite his age. He visits Lucrecia's house without his father's knowledge and insists that he wants his parents to make up, having apparently forgotten the incident that caused the original break-up. Meanwhile, Rigoberto and Lucrecia are each receiving highly erotic letters which each believe to have been sent by the other but may well have been written by Alfonso. Add to all this the notebooks at the core of the novel and the reader is drawn into Don Rigoberto's own confusion between imagination and physical reality. The Notebooks of Don Rigoberto is a funny, sexy, disquieting and very compelling novel that is one of Vargas Llosa's finest works.
Ricardo Somocurcio is in love with a bad girl. He loves her as a teenager known as 'Lily' in Lima in 1950, where she claims to be from Chile but vanishes the moment her claim is exposed as fiction. He loves her next in Paris as 'Comrade Arlette', an activist en route to Cuba, an icy, remote lover who denies knowing anything about the Lily of years gone by. Whoever the bad girl turns up as and however poorly she treats him, Ricardo is doomed to worship her. Gifted liar and irresistible, maddening muse - does Ricardo ever know who she really is?
The War of the End of the World is one of the great modern historical novels. Inspired by a real episode in Brazilian history, Mario Vargas Llosa tells the story of an apocalyptic movement, led by a mysterious prophet, in which prostitutes, beggars and bandits establish Canudos, a new republic, a libertarian paradise.
A visitor from Peru, happening upon an exhibition of photographs from the Amazon jungle in an obscure Florentine picture gallery, finds his attention drawn to a picture of a tribal storyteller seated among a circle of Michiguenga Indians. There is something odd about the storyteller. He is too light-skinned to be an Indian. As the visitor stares at the photograph, it dawns on him that he knows this man. The storyteller is his long-lost friend, Saul Zuratas, his classmate from university who was thought to have disappeared in Israel. The Storyteller is a brilliant and compelling study of the world of the primitive and its place in our own modern lives.
With meticulous observation and the seductive skill of a great storyteller, Vargas Llosa lures the reader into the shadow of perversion that, little by little, darkens the extraordinary happiness and harmony of his characters. The mysterious nature of happiness and above all, the corrupting power of innocence are the themes that underlie these pages, and the author has perfectly met the demands of the erotic novel, never dimming for an instant the fine poetic polish of his writing.
This delightful farce opens as the prim and proper Captain Pantoja learns he is to be sent to Peru's Amazon frontier on a secret mission for the army-to provide females for the amorous recruits. Side-splitting complications arise as world of Captain Pantoja's remarkable achievements start to spread.
The Time of the Hero has been acclaimed by critics around the world as one of the outstanding Spanish novels of recent decades. In the author's native Peru, this powerful social satire so outraged the authorities that a thousand copies were publicly burned. The novel is set in Leoncio Prado Military Academy in Lima, where a group of cadets attempt to break out of the vicious round of sadistic ragging, military discipline, confinement and boredom. But their pranks set off a cycle of betrayal, murder and revenge which jeopardizes the entire military hierarchy. 'A work of undeniable power and skill.' Sunday Telegraph
In this book, Vargas Llosa invites readers to enter into his confidence as he unravels six of his own novels and two other works of fundamental importance to him. Vargas Llosa's native Peru, the setting and character of much of his fiction, is at the centre of his piece on "The Chronicles of the Birth of Peru" - the powerful account of the discovery and conquest of Peru by the Spaniards - which Vargas Llosa describes as "novels disguised as history". In other chapters, Vargas Llosa tells how his method of writing has evolved, discusses his attraction to Sartre's work and his days at military school, describes what it was like at nine to see the ocean for the first time, and explains the process of changing the dead language of "soap operas" (as in his own "Aunt Julia and the Scriptwriter") into the living language of serious art. He also relates why "The War of the End of the World" is his personal favourite among his novels. Throughout A Writer's Reality, Vargas Llosa focusses on what he sees as a central metaphor for the writer's task - to transform lies into truth.
Mario Vargas Llosa has been making waves in cultural and political spheres for over thirty years. Making Waves presents for the first time in English a collection of his essays, a journey through time, through books, and through different geographical locations, plotting the intellectual biography of one of the world's finest writers. We follow Vargas Llosa from Peru to France, where he writes on Sartre, Simone de Beauvoir and Camus, visits the dog cemetery which contains the tomb of Rin Tin Tin, and describes the life of the aspirant writer in the Paris of the 1960s. In Britain, he examines the writings of Doris Lessing and Salman Rushdie, the house in Dean Street where Karl Marx lived, and - in a hilarious and celebrated memoir - considers the transformation of his son, Gonzalo, into a rastafarian.
Felicito Yanaque has raised himself from poverty to ownership of a trucking business. His two sons work for him. He receives a threatening letter demanding protection money. The police don't take him seriously, Felicito refuses to pay up and gets sucked into a nightmare. He becomes a reluctant public hero. Then his mistress is kidnapped, and matters become seriously complicated. And he finds that his troubles have begun very close to home. His fate is interwoven with the story of Rigoberto, a wealthy Lima insurance executive. His boss and old friend, Ismael, suddenly announces that he is marrying his housekeeper, a chola from Piura, to the consternation of his twin sons, a pair of brutal wasters. Ismael escapes to Europe with his new bride, leaving Rigoberto to face the twins' threats, and their claims that he connived with a scheming woman to rob an old man of his fortune. Rigoberto is hounded by the press and TV. Meanwhile, his only son is having visions of a mysterious stranger who may or may not be the devil...
In the past, culture was a kind of vital consciousness that constantly rejuvenated and revivified everyday reality. Now it is largely a mechanism of distraction and entertainment. Notes on the Death of Culture is an examination and indictment of this transformation - penned by none other than the Nobel winner Mario Vargas Llosa, who is not only one of our finest novelists but one of the keenest social critics at work today.Taking his cues from T. S. Eliot - whose treatise Notes Towards the Definition of Culture is a touchstone precisely because the culture Eliot aimed to describe has since vanished - Vargas Llosa traces a decline whose ill effects have only just begun to be felt. He mourns, in particular, the figure of the intellectual: for most of the twentieth century, men and women of letters drove political, aesthetic, and moral conversations; today they have all but disappeared from public debate.But Vargas Llosa stubbornly refuses to fade into the background. He is not content to merely sign a petition; he will not bite his tongue. A necessary provocateur, here vividly translated by John King, provides an impassioned and essential critique of our time and culture.
"Le voyeurisme est le vice le plus universel qui soit. Vous le savez mieux que personne : nous voulons connaître les secrets et, de préférence, les secrets d'alcôve. Fourrer son nez dans l'intimité des puissants, des célébrités, des importants."
Lima, années 90. Alors que le dictateur Fujimori a plongé le pays dans la peur et la violence, deux couples de la haute société se retrouvent mêlés à un gigantesque scandale politique, médiatique et sexuel. Quelques photos compromettantes, un maître chanteur, un crime crapuleux : entre érotisme et corruption, chacun cache un secret dans cette sulfureuse comédie de moeurs.
Dans Le poisson dans l'eau (Éditions Gallimard, 1995), la première partie de son autobiographie, Mario Vargas Llosa partageait avec ses lecteurs deux périodes décisives de son existence : d'une part, le temps de son enfance, de son adolescence et de sa jeunesse ; d'autre part, les trois années qu'il a consacrées à parcourir le Pérou, entre 1987 et 1990, en tant que candidat à l'élection présidentielle.
Avec L'appel de la tribu, il reprend d'une certaine manière ce récit et nous livre une autre partie de son autobiographie. Mais, à la di érence de la précédente, qui reposait sur un récit factuel, il propose un autoportrait intellectuel, dont le but est de nous aider à mieux comprendre l'évolution de sa pensée politique.
/> Nous sommes ainsi invités à découvrir les sept auteurs qui ont marqué son passage du marxisme le plus orthodoxe au libéralisme, grâce à une analyse de leurs oeuvres. Il s'agit d'Adam Smith, de José Ortega y Gasset, de Friedrich August von Hayek, de sir Karl Popper, de Raymond Aron, de sir Isaiah Berlin et de Jean-François Revel. L'approche, passionnée et brillante, nous révèle de nouveaux aspects de la pensée de ces philosophes, ainsi que de la trajectoire vitale et intellectuelle du grand romancier péruvien.
Que de tours et de malices chez cette «vilaine fille», toujours et tant aimée par son ami Ricardo, le «bon garçon». Ils se rencontrent pour la première fois au début des années cinquante, en pleine adolescence, dans l'un des quartiers les plus huppés de Lima, Miraflores. Joyeux, inconscients, ils font partie d'une jeunesse dorée qui se passionne pour les rythmes du mambo et ne connaît d'autre souci que les chagrins d'amour. Rien ne laissait alors deviner que celle qu'on appelait à Miraflores «la petite Chilienne» allait devenir, quelques années plus tard, une farouche guérillera dans la Cuba de Castro, puis l'épouse d'un diplomate dans le Paris des existentialistes, ou encore une richissime aristocrate dans le swinging London. D'une époque, d'un pays à l'autre, Ricardo la suit et la poursuit, comme le plus obscur objet de son désir. Et chaque fois, il ne la retrouve que pour la perdre. Et, bien entendu, ne la perd que pour mieux la rechercher.
Il n'est jamais facile d'écrire l'histoire d'une obsession. Mais la difficulté est encore plus grande quand il s'agit d'une obsession amoureuse et quand l'histoire que l'on raconte est celle d'une passion. Mario Vargas Llosa avait déjà affronté ce défi par le passé dans La tante Julia et le scribouillard (1980), l'un de ses romans les plus populaires. Et voici qu'il le relève encore vingt-cinq ans plus tard et nous offre ce cadeau inattendu : une superbe tragi-comédie où éros et thanatos finissent par dessiner une autre Carte de Tendre entre Lima, Paris, Londres et Madrid. Car Tours et détours de la vilaine fille est bien cela : la géographie moderne d'un amour fou.
Comment un roman peut-il changer le monde ? Quels sont aujourd'hui les rapports entre création et société, entre politique et fiction ? Deux maîtres de la littérature mondiale tentent de répondre à ces questions et à quelques autres, révélant en même temps les secrets de leur « cuisine littéraire ».
Selon Vargas Llosa, un livre atteint son objectif quand il est capable de nous extraire de notre quotidien et de nous entraîner dans un monde où la fiction apparaît encore plus tangible que la réalité elle-même. De son côté, Claudio Magris, écrivain du voyage et des frontières, nous montre à quel point la littérature est un espace ouvert où la capacité créatrice de l'écrivain à inventer des fictions rejoint paradoxalement le mouvement de l'écriture vers la vérité.
Conduites avec grâce et intelligence par le directeur de l'Institut italien de Lima, Renato Poma, ces quatre conversations entre Claudio Magris et Mario Vargas Llosa mettent en lumière les liens étroits qui existent entre le Nobel péruvien et l'un des plus prestigieux écrivains italiens contemporains.