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Vargas Llosa, Mario

novel boy lima opera

(Peruvian, 1936– )

Mario Vargas Llosa is a journalist, essayist, and politician as well as a novelist, and ran as a Conservative candidate for the office of the Peruvian presidency. He began his career as a leftist, and early books like Time of the Hero (1962), a novel about the indoctrination process endured by military students in Lima, reflect these political concerns. He is best known for the humane and sophisticated comic style of his later work, represented in Aunt Julia and the Scriptwriter (1977), a witty and entertaining story about a soap opera writer who uses the scandalous affair of a young man and his cousin, an older woman, as raw material for his scripts. As the factual and fictional versions of the same events become increasingly entangled and the soap opera's melodramas unfold, the characters' lives are transformed. The War at the End of the World (1981) is an epic novel based on a historical episode from the late nineteenth century, when an apocalyptic cult took hold in north-eastern Brazil. In Praise of the Stepmother (1988) is a short novel in which a boy's sexual yearning for his stepmother is interwoven with the boy's fantasies about erotic paintings, while the same boy reappears as an adult in The Notebooks of Don Rigoberto (1997), the explicit tale of a Lima businessman's inseparable cultural and sexual lives told as a sometimes bawdy, sometimes poetic comedy of human desire.

Isabel Allende, Guillermo Cabrera Infante, Gabriel García Márquez.

See MAGIC REALISM  WB

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