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The Feast of the Goat by Mario Vargas Llosa
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The Feast of the Goat (2000)

by Mario Vargas Llosa

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
1,747544,040 (4.11)1 / 262
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English (39)  Spanish (5)  Dutch (3)  Swedish (2)  French (2)  Portuguese (Portugal) (1)  Catalan (1)  Danish (1)  All languages (54)
Showing 1-5 of 39 (next | show all)
La historia de la fiesta del Chivo es un libro espectacular. Esta excelentemente narrado y sabe cruzar las historias que cuenta de manera magica y asombrosa, por un lado esta Urania Cabral y su regreso a Republica Dominicana, para enfrentar su pasado y las huellas que dejo en ella, de otro lado esta el General Trujillo en sus últimos días y muestra como dominaba el país y finalmente esta la historia de aquellos que lo lograron asesinar, sabiendo que existía una alta probabilidad de morir en el intento, pero sabiendo que este era un paso indispensable para que Santo Domingo dejara de ser Ciudad Trujillo. A través de esta historia [a:Mario Vargas Llosa|22515|Mario Vargas Llosa|https://d.gr-assets.com/authors/1394819964p2/22515.jpg] nos lleva a la triste historia de uno de los dictadores mas conocidos de Latinoamérica. ( )
  CaroPi | Jun 22, 2014 |
The Feast of the Goat is an enormously powerful, brutal and moving historical novel about the prologue and aftermath to Trujillo ( )
  nosajeel | Jun 21, 2014 |
Mr Llosa can write. I won't dispute that. But this is not a good novel for me for the following reasons. (1) The author has bitten off far more than he can chew in a mere 400 pages. The scope of the book is vast and too much feels rushed. He might have narrowed his scope, but alas he wants it all. Because of the enormous narrative breadth, this reader never got the level of satisfaction in the area of character development that he would have liked; there are so many characters and after a while they all seem to blur. (2) There is a rushed, headlong quality to the book, probably this is intentional but I do not like it. (3) I find the levels of Catholic motivation to be too much; probably for a Latin American reader these levels are just right. For these and other reasons I did not finish the book and give it two stars.

The book breaks into three stories: (1) that of Urania Cabral, set in the present day, when she returns to a now democratized Dominican Republic years after Trujillo's assassination to confront (torment) her father who was a "senator" (read crony) under the Benefactor; (2) that of Trujillo himself in the weeks before his assassination; and (3) that of the group of men, mostly young men, who will kill him.

The story Urania tells to her incapacitated father, who is now in a wheelchair, is most unsettling. Urania is visiting from New York City where she now lives. She has done extensive reading on the subject, now knows much about those dark mysterious years of her youth. For example, how Trujillo, habitually cuckolded his ministers. Urania spares her mute father none of it. She is so cruel.

Dictator Trujillo is a megalomaniac on the model of Stalin. He terrorized his own people for 31 years. In October 1937 he ordered the slaughter of about 20,000 Haitians in what came to be known as the Parsley Massacre. Typically, the US backed him as a bulwark against Communism. (Now where have we seen that pattern before? Chile, Vietnam, Cuba, and Korea spring to mind, to mention a few.)

Trujillo's a compulsive neat freak who seeks through personal cleanliness and punctilio a semblance of the moral standing he can never command. We first come across him undergoing his daily toilette with great care. Trujillo's story begins in 1961 some 16 months after a Pastoral Letter has been sent by the Vatican to the Catholic community in the Dominican Republic. Since then the Church has, Trujillo feels, harassed him from the pulpit for his flagrant human rights violations and turned the people against him. The two Catholic leaders responsible for this he imagines feeding alive to sharks, as he has so many other opponents.

The assassins's storyline is set on May 30, 1961, as they await the Generalissimo's car on a stretch of road. There are 4 of them in the car and as they wait there are flashbacks outlining the motivations of each. This is tedious.

In some ways The Feast of the Goat is a counterpart novel to Graham Greene's The Comedians. That book--set in Haiti on the other side of Hispaniola in the 1960s when the corrupt Duvaliers were in power--is a model of narrative pacing and economy. ( )
  William345 | Jun 11, 2014 |
Intense read about the last days of the Trujillo regime in the Dominican Republic. Told from the points of view of several important players as well as the fictional Urania Cabral who returns to the island after 35 years of self-exile. ( )
  imjustmea | Jun 1, 2014 |
I found this a powerful story even though it was unpleasant (to say the least!) in places. The novel tells of the final days of Trujillo's rule in the Dominican Republic through a series of flashbacks seen through differing eyes while the main character Urania is making her first visit back to the country 35 years later.

I can't really say that I liked this novel; it dealt with a history I don't share and one that was filled with horrors. However, Vargas Llosa's writing was brilliant and kept me interested and reading even when I knew that something that would make me cringe was coming. The multiple points of view were fascinating and the switches from past to present helped build tension and release it simultaneously. ( )
  leslie.98 | Apr 17, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 39 (next | show all)

» Add other authors (15 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Mario Vargas Llosaprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Bensoussan, AlbertTraductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Grossman, EdithTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Синянская, ЛюдмилаTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Epigraph
El pueblo celebra con gran entusiasmo la Fiesta del Chivo el treinta de mayo.
Mataron al Chivo
Merengue Dominicano
Dedication
A Lourdes y José Israel Cuello, y a tantos amigos dominicanos
First words
Urania. Her parents had done her no favor; her name suggested a planet, a mineral, anything but the slender, fine-featured woman with burnished skin and large, dark, rather sad eyes who looked back at her from the mirror.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0312420277, Paperback)

Mario Vargas Llosa, a former candidate for the presidency of Peru, is better placed than most novelists to write about the machinations of Latin American politics. In The Feast of the Goat he offers a vivid re-creation of the Dominican Republic during the final days of General Rafael Trujillo's insidious and evil regime. Told from several viewpoints, the book has three distinctive, alternating strands. There is Urania Cabral, the daughter of Trujillo's disgraced secretary of state, who has returned to Santo Domingo after more than 30 years. Now a successful New York lawyer, Urania has never forgiven her aging and paralyzed father, Agustín, for literally sacrificing her to the carnal despot in the hope of regaining his political post. Flipping back to May of 1961, there is a group of assassins, all equally scarred by Trujillo, waiting to gun the Generalissimo down. Finally there is an astonishing portrait of Trujillo--the Goat--and his grotesque coterie. Llosa depicts Trujillo as a villain of Shakespearean proportions. He is a preening, macho dandy who equates his own virility with the nation's health. An admirer of Hitler "not for his ideas but for the way he wore a uniform" (fittingly he equips his secret police force with a fleet of black Volkswagen Beetles), Trujillo even has his own Himler in Colonel Abbes Garcia, a vicious torturer with a predilection for the occult.

As the novel edges toward Trujillo's inevitable murder, Urania's story gets a bit lost in the action; the remaining narratives however, are rarely short of mesmerizing. Trujillo's death unleashes a new order, but not the one expected by the conspirators. Enslaved by the soul of the dead chief, neither they nor the Trujillo family--who embark on a hideous spree of bloody reprisals--are able to fill the void. Llosa has them all skillfully outmaneuvered by the puppet-president Joaquín Belaguer, a former poet who is the very antithesis of the machismo Goat. Savage, touching, and bleakly funny, this compelling book gives an all too human face to one of Latin America's most destructive tyrants. --Travis Elborough, Amazon.co.uk

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:25:17 -0400)

(see all 4 descriptions)

Publisher description: It is 1961. The Dominican Republic languishes under economic sanctions the Catholic church spurs its clergy against the government from its highest ranks down, the country is arrested in bone-chilling fear. In The Feast of the Goat, Vargas Llosa unflinchingly tells the story of a regime's final days and the unsteady efforts of the men who would replace it. His narrative skates between the rituals of the hated dictator, Rafael Trujillo, in his daily routine, and the laying-in-wait of the assassins who will kill him their initial triumph and the shock of fear's release--and replacements. In the novel's final chapters we learn Urania Cabral's story, self-imposed exile whose father was Trujillo's cowardly Secretary of State. Drawn back to the country of her birth from 30 years after Trujillo's assassination, the widening scope of the dictator's cruelty finds expression in her story, and a rapt audience in her extended family. In The Feast of the Goat, Vargas Llosa weighs the burden of a corrupt and corruptive regime upon the people who live beneath it. This is a moving portrait of an unrepentant dictator and the unwilling citizens drawn into his orbit.… (more)

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