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Vargas Llosa

Book Tips - Mario Vargas Llosa

The Nobel Prize in Literature 2010 was awarded to Mario Vargas Llosa "for his cartography of structures of power and his trenchant images of the individual's resistance, revolt, and defeat".

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A Fish in the Water (El pez en el agua)

A very honest autobiography.
/Victoria Pareja, Peru

Aunt Julia and the Scriptwriter (La tía Julia y el escribidor)

The characters in this book are so very rich, absurdly so at times. However, I never doubted that the author - while writing a work of fiction - was drawing on personal experiences. A wonderfully entertaining book.
/Nicholas, Philippines
It is very funny and hilarious.
/Patricia S�nchez Marrou, Peru
Wonderful story of becoming a writer.
/Martin Camps, United States
Classic Vargas Llosa: the examination of reality and fantasy, where they meet, the places fiction occupies in our lives, what happens when we lose the boundaries between reality and the fictions we have created. Inspired by his own life (thus the relationship with "real" reality), this book presents a recurring theme in the author's work in a light-hearted, easy to read novel. Big ideas, simple prose.
/Travis, United States
It is cheeky and very clever. It drives you in deeply. You don't want to let your book go until you know what happened between Julia and Mario. Besides the romance, it is full of comical stories, revealing our complex latinamerican character. Love it!!
/Diana Jaramillo, Australia

Captain Pantoja and the Special Service (Pantaleón y las visitadoras)

Vargas LLosa describes in his particular style, the tragic story of an army officer who in his effort to raise the morale of a jungle outpost of the army, ends up becoming a very official pimp. Thus he loses his wife and the army's respect.
/Miguel Herrera, Peru
Because it explores a case and that case becomes universal.
/Alvaro J. Velezmoro, Peru

Conversation in the Cathedral (Conversación en la catedral)

Amazing descriptions, innovative narrative technique, and confusing dialogues. Impressive, since the first page.
/Mauricio Chereque, Peru
Same reasons why he deserved Nobel Prize: "for his cartography of structures of power and his trenchant images of the individual's resistance, revolt, and defeat". This book clearly states all the things mentioned before.
/Luis Álvaro Másquez, Peru
The fragmentation of the dialogs in the time.
/I. G., Brazil
I am a Peruvian and read the book as soon as it was published. It describes, with fictioned characters, the political situation and cruelty of President Odria's regime then.
/Professor Guillermo Whittembury, Venezuela
Very entertaining, a series of stories all in one.
/Maria, United States

Death in the Andes (Lituma en los Andes)

A brilliant immersion into the Peruvian Andes culture that succeeds in describing the reactions towards internal violence in the country.
/Francisco, Peru

Dictionary of the Lover of Latin America (Diccionario del amante de América Latina)

Is a vision of Latin America from Vargas Llosa's perspective, one of the most influential writer of our letters. Politics, history and literature at its best.
/Fernando Javier Lopez, Spain

Fonchito y La Luna (Fonchito and the Moon)

This children's book really presents a magical and simple tale about the lengths that a young boy in love will go to win the heart of the girl that he loves from afar.
/Zachary Hardy, United States

La civilizacion del espectaculo

It made me reflect on how the culture on my country is rapidly getting erased and how important my role as a university professor can be in fighting to recover our national culture and values - though an apparently insignificant contribution.
/Dora Caballero, Paraguay

Letters to a Young Novelist (Cartas a un novelista)

I like it because it explains the situation of my life.
/Alexandre Jean Richard, Haiti

The Bad Girl (Travesuras de la niña mala)

No complexity. Easy reading.
/Mack, United States
It tells a very complicated saga of love, a quest, in the simplest way possible.
/Anirban Chakraborty, India
I like this book because it is a description of a real love from a man's perspective. Sometimes real love is so real that it is not perfect. Vargas Llosa depicts a relationship like this in the midst of ideas of communism in the world, poverty, ambition and compassion.
/Gwendoline Hernandez, United States
Mario Vargas Llosa's novel The Bad Girl is not only a story of thwarted love, it reveals to me a haunted swath of the third world's Diaspora. Its characters cast about the globe like seeds in the wind. Homeless and poor in their adopted countries, the host of nationalities, that populate the novel become the sum and subject of ambitions and desires.
/Professor Pranab Kumar, India
Excellent book. You travel from Peru to Paris and feel as you are there all the time.
/Natalia Escobar-Pemberthy, Colombia

The City and the Dogs (La Ciudad y Los Perros)

This book is very interesting because it shows emotions about the young men, futhermore this is a book without restrictions of any kind. I love it.
/Isamar, Peru

The Cubs and Other Stories (Les Jefes)

I like the structure of dialogues among characters, without evidence who is who, and spoken 60's peruvian slangs.
/Wilfredo Huanachin Osorio, Peru

The Dream of the Celt (El sueño del celta)

Vargas Llosa's narrative is in my opinion one of the greatest in all Latin America. El Sueño del Celta caught me immediately because of its unique way of telling a true story based on a crude reality. Vargas Llosa is a master of history novels and this book represents a history that needed to be told in that fantastic way. He once said "I want to be for readers what were for me great writers". He earned it with all his books, also his writings can be read by different people, teenagers and adults will enjoy them, and the most important, while you are reading you learn history.
/Diana Carolina Diaz, Venezuela
Roger Casement, the main character, uses diplomacy and experience to help Ireland, Congo and South America from oppression by some old rulers and landlords. It's an amazing journey into our deeper freedom feelings.
/Ludwig Alain Zaragoza, Mexico

The Feast of the Goat (La fiesta del chivo)

I always has been interested in fiction based on history facts. Vargas Llosa has written a magistral novel where characters flourish around the life of Rafael Leonidas Trujillo Molina, nicknamed El Jefe, Dominican Republic dictator for more than thirty years.
/John Montañez Cortez, United States
The trenchant imaginary depicted by Vargas Llosa goes beyond the description of reality in this novel. It truly describes "the structures of power and the defeat of the individual" but while expressing a vivid reality, it also re-elaborates it and, through artistic alchemy, gives us the portrayal of a kaleidoscopic society and time, expressing with utmost narrative power the times and circumstances of a kidnapped society subdued by a tragicomic dictatorial regime. The prose and the narrative rhythm are outstanding, but overall, the artistic expression is passionate, expressive, horrid and beautiful and, ultimately, totalizing.
/Joseaugusto Mejía, United States
I was overawed because of the levels of cruelty and injustice human beings can reach and it is not fiction.
/Sofía, Spain
A great version of the most important political event in Dominican Republic history.
/Zohara, Panama
The swing between the yesteryear and today is amazing in Vargas Llosa's novels. It is like in a movie where you see now the old person and then colors fade, switch to black and white and then you see the young person in an old fashion room and you know now it is past. Think of doing this with words. It is not easy, but this wonderful Peruvian writer does it magnificently.
/Raluca Batanoiu, Germany
"La fiesta del chivo" tells the final throws of the Trujillo dictatorship in the Domonican Republic; it is a great example of the Latin American dictator novel (alongside others such as García Marquez's "El general en su laberinto", or Roa Bastos's "Yo el supremo"). It is excellent at creating tension and suspense and keeping it up throughout the novel using the most exciting cliffhangers. It's also great at describing the sense of oppression and the continuous fear Dominicans lived in under Trujillo's rule. And it masterfully weaves together its three narrative strands: Trujillo's, his assassins', and Urania Cabral's, a fictional woman visiting her home country after a long time away and remembering her own experiences during the final stretch of Trujillo's rule. I would recommend it to anyone looking for a good point of access to Vargas Llosa's extensive bibliography, as it's certainly one of his most important works, and a - for the most part - very entertaining one.
/Bettina Trueb, Germany
Complexity, richness and versatile prose combining the story with history ...
/John Montanez, United States

The Storyteller (El hablador)

It is a wonderful story.
/Panos, Greece

The Time of the Hero (La ciudad y los perros)

The contrast between the young characters, the way the author mixes their stories and the surprise at the end.
/Conti Gonzalez Baez, Mexico
Because the book is very veritable and your narrative is single.
/Raul Cézar de, Brazil
Depicts a powerful character formation and manges multiple perspectives fluently.
/Joaquín Requena, Uruguay
Reminds me of my two older brothers who also were at a Military High School in Arequipa. I am sure the experiences were similar.
/Gladys Vildoso, United States
Because it shows which feelings are behind violence. In a world full of contrasts, every human being can find his salvation.
/Anna Elisa, Italy
No author and no one here in Peru have told or wrote and published the experience at the Military College as did Mario Vargas Llosa in his work. I studied there for I write this message and I recommend reading the book.
/Rooswelt Romero, Bolivia

The War of the End of the World (La guerra del fin del mundo)

It is a marvelous account of how a cult lead by a priest try to resist the attack of fuedelists.
/Binu, Australia
I'm in the middle of 'The War of the End of the World', but I have difficulty putting it down at times. It is so excellent, and I enjoy the historical dimension of it. I have found myself in research, learning about the War of Canudos, Sebastianists, and Brazil's history of empire and republic in the 1800s. The complexity and layering of characters, the structure, and the denseness of the language is beautifully done and harkens back to the great 19th century novels. It's a refreshing book and change from the other books of simpler structure that are more common. I'm enjoying the book very much, and I'm looking forward to reading more from Vargas Llosa and other Latin American writers.
/Dixrek Powell, United States
The author, impressed by reading "Os Sertões - The Hinterlands", by Euclides da Cunha, decides to recount the dramatic Canudos War (1896-1897, Bahia-Brazil) and the story of Antonio Conselheiro in its full dimension of honor and revenge, power and passion, faith and folly, undertaking a saga without parallel in the history of the country.
/Fabiola Bezerra Veras, Brazil
It's a well constructed book with great characters and a captivating plot. Vargas Llosa is also responsible for a seismic shift in Spanish literature.
/Roshan Shinde, India
An amazing description of a social a movement that otherwise might seem impossible.
/Rodrigo Lopez, Mexico
This is a book that makes me happy and that it often applies in my thoughts as a true, ancient and constant friend. Juan Abado, the myopic journalist and the Lion of Natuba have become tangible, indestructible. While I was reading I didn't desire anything else other than to live among the pages: difficulty to interrupt the reading, that have ended with the eyes full of tears and with a deep thanks to Mario Vargas Llosa, "Because literature is fire!". Read just it as "Odyssey": a contemporary masterpiece.
/Paola Celletti, Italy
The evolution of the story, the description of the characters, the insights into human nature.
/Jose Luque, United States
Astonishing as a Da Vinci painting and as clear as a fond of well-exercised waters of humankind memory and thought.
/Luis Vásquez Coronel, Peru
It is a marvelous treatise on how religious or other fanatical ideas shape and lead our behavior.
/Luis Lizardi, Venezuela
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