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2010 Nobel Prize: Mario Vargas Llosa

Club Read 2010

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Oct 7, 2010, 9:27am Top

Mario Vargas Llosa, the Peruvian novelist has won the Nobel Prize for literature.



Oct 7, 2010, 1:04pm Top

A fantastic choice in my opinion! Bravo!

Oct 7, 2010, 1:59pm Top

I want to read him...where do i start?

Oct 7, 2010, 2:06pm Top

I agree! Bravo! One of my all-time favorites.

As for where to start, both of his (in my opinion) masterpieces are difficult, because of the interweaving of different characters and different stories, although completely worth it. They are The War at the End of the World (my favorite) and Conversation in the Cathedral (other people's favorite). I haven't read all the other Vargas Llosas that are in my library, but of the ones I have read I think I liked Death in the Andes the best.

Oct 7, 2010, 5:08pm Top

Aunt Julia and the Scriptwriter is semi-autobiographical and pretty funny as well.

Oct 7, 2010, 5:36pm Top

I loved Aunt Julia and the Scriptwriter, Conversation in the Cathedral (my favorite, but I haven't read The War at the End of the World yet), The Time of the Hero and The Feast of the Goat. All are quite different novels, though; The Feast of the Goat is a historical novel about the last days of Rafael Trujillo, the former dictator of the Dominican Republic, and it's a chilling and breath taking read; The Time of the Hero, Vargas Llosa's first novel, describes a scandal at a Peruvian military school that was quite controversial when it was originally published; Aunt Julia and the Scriptwriter, as Jane mentioned, is based on the young Vargas Llosa, in his days as a student and burgeoning writer, and his relationship with his older and recently divorced aunt; and The Conversation in the Cathedral looks at Peru in the 1950s, during the dictatorial rule of Manuel Odría, and the devastating effects that Odría's rule had on people in all levels of Peruvian society.

Oct 7, 2010, 8:26pm Top

For something different his work Pantaleon y las visitadoras (Captain Pantoja and the Special Service) is fantastic! My first work for him and I can't stop recommending it to people. Love love love.

So happy he won the Nobel Prize.

Oct 7, 2010, 10:43pm Top

#4-to-8 - Great suggestions, and Murr thanks for the link. So many choices... If I'm feeling brave I might look for The War at the End of the World.

Oct 8, 2010, 7:19am Top

Fortunately for all of us MVL has a large body of work and he continues to write. His latest novel, El sueño del celta (The Celtic's Dream), will be published in Spanish on November 3rd; it's an "adventure that begins in the Congo in 1903 and ends in a jail in London in 1916."

Oct 8, 2010, 7:24am Top

I already was looking forward to reading more Vargas LLosa (both books I own and books I have yet to buy), so this will be additional inspiration. I've ordered Time of the Hero and Captain Pantoja and the Special Service.

Edited: Oct 8, 2010, 9:20am Top

Today's online edition of the Guardian has a preview of an article about Mario Vargas Llosa by the novelist William Boyd that will appear in tomorrow's Guardian Review. I especially enjoyed and agreed with his comparison of Vargas Llosa to Gabriel García Márquez:

Vargas Llosa is very hard to classify and pin down as a writer: he has written short novels and very long novels, comic novels and deeply serious novels, straightforward realistic novels and recognisably South American "magic-realist" novels. Perhaps this unclassifiability has been seen as a disadvantage. Indeed, when one compares Vargas Llosa to his great South American literary rival Gabriel García Márquez one is reminded of Archilochus's old fox and hedgehog adage: "The fox knows many things, the hedgehog knows one big thing." Márquez, a hedgehog novelist if there ever was one, received his Nobel in 1982 at the age of 55. Vargas Llosa received his at the age of 74. Almost 30 years later the day of the fox has arrived – it inevitably comes around, even if it takes a little longer.

Mario Vargas Llosa: an unclassifiable Nobel winner

Oct 11, 2010, 7:21pm Top

I am glad that the Guardian list of the essential books includes The Bad Girl. It is generally acknowledged to be MVL's take on Madame Bovary, still one of the greatest novels of all time. MVL does some interesting things and I can see Flaubert nod approvingly from Pantheon.

Oct 11, 2010, 7:27pm Top

Speaking of Madame Bovary, I've read good things about the new translation by Lydia Davis, whose translation of Swann's Way as part of the multitranslator Penguin edition of In Search of Lost Time finally got me to read the whole novel. Has anyone read it or thought of reading it?

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