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The Bad Girl (2006)

by Mario Vargas Llosa

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
1,751676,967 (3.71)1 / 123
Presents the story of a love affair between a Peruvian translator and an adventurous and independent woman, "the bad girl," as it unfolds over the course of forty years, from Lima to London, Paris, Tokyo, and Madrid.
  1. 20
    Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert (browner56)
    browner56: The stories of two women, separated by 150 years, who search desperately for something they never find. Flaubert's legendary protaganist is the role model for Vargas Llosa's "bad girl".

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» See also 123 mentions

English (47)  Spanish (5)  Italian (3)  Norwegian (3)  French (2)  German (2)  Swedish (1)  Dutch (1)  Finnish (1)  Hebrew (1)  Greek (1)  All languages (67)
Showing 1-5 of 47 (next | show all)
This novel's first-person narrator is one Ricardo Somocurcio, whom we accompany from his teenage years in 1950s Lima, when he dreams of settling down in Paris, throughout later decades when, his dream achieved, he works as an interpreter in the French capital and around the world.

The real protagonist of the story however is, La Nina Mala, the "bad girl" of the title. We first meet her when, as a supposed daughter of Chilean immigrants, she turns heads in Lima. It is here that Ricardo (together with most of his male friends) is first besotted with her. It eventually turns out that she is no less Peruvian than Ricardo and that the background she has made up is simply a ruse to spice up her life story.

Indeed, subterfuge is "la nina mala" 's defining trait. She literally changes name and identity as, over the years, she flits in and out of Ricardo's life at the most unexpected of times. Ricardo falls for her again and again, although he is well aware that she is an opportunistic, cynical woman who, in a rare show of honesty, admits that she will never love him. Against the backdrop of a changing society (from stylish Paris to swinging London at the time of the onset of the AIDS crisis, to Tokyo and Spain), we witness, almost voyeur-like, to a relationship which veers wildly between teenage romance, heart-warming love and erotic obsession.

Like its main character, this novel does not try to be realistic and, as coincidences pile up, the reader is tempted to project allegorical interpretations onto "la nina mala". The most obvious one is that she is a symbol of a novelist's inspiration - a "Muse" of sorts. A novelist's calling is like a siren-song, or like la nina mala's charm - hard to ignore, even if it brings sacrifice, pain and penury.

Whether the novel is read at face value or as a symbolic journey, it remains a poetic work, beautifully rendered in this Italian translation. ( )
  JosephCamilleri | Sep 12, 2020 |
Immer wieder tritt sie unerwartet in sein Leben und wirbelt es durcheinander. Ob in Paris, London, Madrid oder Tokio, ob als Guerrillera oder Heiratsschwindlerin - sobald Ricardo "das böse Mädchen" zu fassen geglaubt hat, ist es schon wieder verschwunden. Auf rätselhafte Weise scheinen sie füreinander bestimmt; oder ist nur er es, der nicht von ihr lassen kann?
  Fredo68 | May 14, 2020 |
Dépaysant et absorbant, malgré des personnages peu attachants (et en dépit de quelques maladresses terminologiques en matière du métier du personnage principal ... ). ( )
  DougLasT | Apr 27, 2020 |
Creando una admirable tensión entre lo cómico y lo trágico, el Premio Nobel de Literatura y Príncipe de Asturias de las Letras, Mario Vargas Llosa, libera en esta novela una historia en la que el amor se nos muestra indefinible, dueño de mil cara
  Haijavivi | Jun 4, 2019 |
Comienza muy dinámico y entretenido, pero después de la tercera desaparición de la niña mala perdió completamente mi interés. La mayoría de los personajes (aunque estereotipados) resultan curiosos, sobre todo la niña mala, pero el personaje principal tiene tan poco carisma que al final quieres saber más de sus amigos que de él. Confieso que no pude terminar la novela, para el capítulo cinco ya no sentía necesidad de saber el desenlace de la historia.
Antes de ésta, leí La ciudad y los perros, que me fascinó. Pero creo que este libro no cumplió mis expectativas.
Aún así, los personajes son atrayentes, los entornos son geniales, las descripciones de las ciudades y el contexto se hacen muy bien, y una que otra escena erótica resulta bastante eficaz (aunque el protagonista sea más bien bobalicón). ( )
  LeoOrozco | Feb 26, 2019 |
Showing 1-5 of 47 (next | show all)
Det är inte särskilt intressant i längden att höra vad Ricardo tycker om det mesta och det är inte bra när gestaltningen blir en förevändning för tyckande, alltså tveklöst författarens eget.
Das eigentliche Happyend aber folgt sofort: Vargas Llosa, dieser listige, kunstfertige Romancier, bietet dem Leser eine literarische Lösung an: dem Ich-Erzähler Ricardo wird indirekt durch das böse Mädchen ein Lob zuteil, das auf den Autor Mario Vargas Llosa als Verfasser dieses Liebesromans hindeutet und so dem bösen Mädchen, .das das letzte Wort hat, auch jede Absolution zuteil wird
Der Leser fühlt sich von diesem großen Autor einmal wieder bewegt, belehrt und belustigt und (je nach Alter) beinahe gerührt an Zeiten erinnert, in denen alles besser werden sollte.

» Add other authors (12 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Mario Vargas Llosaprimary authorall editionscalculated
Grossman, EdithTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Presents the story of a love affair between a Peruvian translator and an adventurous and independent woman, "the bad girl," as it unfolds over the course of forty years, from Lima to London, Paris, Tokyo, and Madrid.

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Book description
Ricardo Somocurcio is in love with a bad girl. He loves her as a coy teenager known as "Lily" in Lima in 1950, when she flits into his life one summer and disappears again without explanation. He loves her still when she reappears as a revolutionary in 1960s Paris, then later as Mrs. Richardson, the wife of a wealthy Englishman, and again as the mistress of a sinister Japanese businessman in Tokyo. However poorly she treats him, he is doomed to worship her. Charting Ricardo's expatriate life through his romances with this shape-shifting woman, Vargas Llosa has created a beguiling epic romance about the life-altering power of obsession. [From Book's Back Cover]

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