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Feast of the Goat by Mario Vargas Llosa

Feast of the Goat (original 2000; edition 2003)

by Mario Vargas Llosa

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2,058693,227 (4.1)1 / 305
Title:Feast of the Goat
Authors:Mario Vargas Llosa
Info:Faber & Faber (2003), Paperback, 480 pages
Collections:Your library
Tags:toberead, xy, peruvian

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

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Showing 1-5 of 51 (next | show all)
It read easily but wasn't my cup of tea. ( )
  lapiccolina | Jun 23, 2017 |
Mario Vargas Llosa's book "The Feast of the Goat" was a brutal read, but ultimately an interesting one. I probably wouldn't have read this if it hadn't been on the list of 1,001 Books to Read Before You Die, but it was certainly a worthwhile book.

The novel tells the story of Rafael Trujillo, a dictator who ruled the Dominican Republic for 30 years with an iron fist. He pitted his advisers and friends against each other and demanded adoration from the all in his country.

The novel is not an easy read-- there are torture scenes that a fairly disturbing, which I mostly skimmed over. However, I found the portrait of the Trujillo and his "friends" to be well done and very relevant to today's world. ( )
  amerynth | Apr 28, 2017 |
I chose to read this book because it's on the 1001 books to read before you die list and there is a group read of it. I knew it would be a little out of my comfort zone, but I ended up really appreciating it, though I can't say I enjoyed a book this brutal.

This book is about the Dominican Republic during the Trujillo era (roughly 1930s-1960s). It starts in the present day with Urania Cabral who is in her late 40s finally returning to the country that she fled from just before Trujillo's assassination. She left as a 14 year old girl after a traumatic experience that led her to break ties with her father, a high-up political figure. Her story is slowly revealed and sheds light on Trujillo's personality and her father's fall from favor.

Another story line is that of Trujillo himself in the days before his assassination. Vargas Llosa paints a fascinating portrait of the dictator, his hunger for power, and the inner insecurities of his mind.

Along with these two stories is the story of the men behind the assassination. As they wait to ambush Trujillo, flashbacks tell how they got there.

In the end, it all comes together and you witness the brutal aftermath of the assassination and find out what happens to this small country when their dictator is gone.

Mario Vargas Llosa writes with a ton of confidence. His writing is smooth and authoritative. I believed every word of his portrait of this man, which bothered me at times since this is fiction, after all. Even though this isn't my favorite sort of book, I'd highly recommend it to anyone interested in the era and topic. ( )
  japaul22 | Mar 11, 2017 |
En mi -cada vez mas larga- lista de libros por leer se encuentran, por supuesto, algunos de Vargas Llosa. La Fiesta del Chivo no era uno de ellos. Lo compré por casualidad un día que fui (sin mi lista) de improviso a la librería. Punto. Lo hice más por la curiosidad de leer a este gran escritor, que por cierto: él SÍ es merecedor del Premio Nobel, que por otra cosa.

Realmente no tenía idea de que iba "La fiesta del Chivo" cuando lo empecé a leer. No tenía idea de esta gran "novela del dictador" que nos traslada a República Dominicana para mostrarnos, por medio de tres lineas narrativas entrelazadas, la historia de un régimen opresor, violento, cruel y real: La dictadura de Rafael Leónidas Trujillo.
La primera linea nos habla del regreso de una mujer "Urania Cabral" al país después una larga ausencia, para visitar a su padre enfermo, Agustín Cabral, quien una vez fue senador durante el gobierno de Trujillo. La segunda, el último día de vida y el asesinato de Trujillo, apodado "El Chivo", en la cuál se conoce más a fondo al dictador, sus miedos, sus pensamientos y hasta sus secretos. La última historia nos da a conocer quienes fueron los asesinos de Trujillo, mucho de los cuales formaron alguna vez parte de su gobierno.
Luego del asesinato, prácticamente el final del libro, Mario Vargas Llosa nos muestra de una manera muy, muy fría y muy dura la persecución y las torturas por las que pasaron los asesinos.

Al principio la lectura puede ser un poco confusa por todos los nombres que aparecen y por los capítulos alternados. Por eso recomiendo que su lectura sea regular.

Es una gran novela. Historia que se repite tristemente en otros países latinoamericanos. Dictaduras auténticas-Dictaduras camufladas-Pueblos deteriorados, sometidos y embrutecidos. ( )
  Dalinauc | Jan 9, 2017 |
Here's the blurb on the cover of Mario Vargas Llosa's The Feast of the Goat: 'The Feast of the Goat' will stand out as the great emblematic novel of Latin America's twentieth century and deprives One Hundred Years of Solitude of that title.'--Times Literary Supplement.
And there went the fifth star. Llosa and Garcia Marquez were notable literary antagonists, Marquez being an egalitarian, Llosa a classical neo-liberal type. Their feud made uncomfortable reading for those who had read Llosa's Conversation in the Cathedral, which begins with the question, more or less: At what precise moment did Peru fuck itself up. It's a masterpiece of literary rule violations, intertwining numerous conversations, one which consists of but a few exchanges that sometimes require the reader to recall the previous statement after nearly 100 pages--and yet Llosa pulled it off. The book is one that teaches you how to read it. And it's a compelling read as well, requiring little more than an interest in language to gain and maintain access. If any book by Llosa is on a par with 100 Year, it's Conversation in the Cathedral. And not so long after that, Llosa hatched The War of the End of the World, based on a bizarre yet emblematic rebellion and reprisal toward the end of the 19th century that gave rise to what is considered Brazil's national epic, 'Os Sertoes', or The Backlands, by Euclides da Cunha. A work of elastic realism, the book is a stunning re-creation of the strange menagerie at the center of the rebellion.
Now I am asked to admire the virtuosity of The Feast of the Goat. I don't. I find it's plot, centered around the assassination of The Dominican Republic's dictator Trujillo in 1961, irresistible, and the blending of narratives competent, five steps back from Conversation in the Cathedral, but competent. Most importantly, I find the book to be a fairly exhaustive portrayal of a dictatorship and the way it permeates a society, destroying the will of the people, the very yearning for independent thought and action, the irreparable damage to an entire nation's psyches and emotional lives. This is the last serious work of a great novelist, so it is not surprising that the portrayal of the dictator and his lackeys is fine, that the portrayal of the assassins is compelling, and even that he pulls off the most important task he set himself, making powerful and real the contemporary character whose return to the Dominican after a 35 year absence generates the stories in the book.
Where Llosa failed, he did not attempt, so it would be unfair to charge the book with that failure, but it does reduce the importance of the book. The book has every opportunity to portray the lives of the poor, the lumpenproles--particularly those hired by the Dominican secret service to terrify the populace--yet Llosa set his standards somewhat lower, and rather than a great book that would have rivalled his two best he has written a book worth reading mostly for its political historical aspect. I recommend the book, but not the cover. ( )
6 vote RickHarsch | Jun 21, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 51 (next | show all)

» Add other authors (15 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Mario Vargas Llosaprimary authorall editionscalculated
Bensoussan, AlbertTraductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Grossman, EdithTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Синянская, ЛюдмилаTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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El pueblo celebra con gran entusiasmo la Fiesta del Chivo el treinta de mayo.
Mataron al Chivo
Merengue Dominicano
A Lourdes y José Israel Cuello, y a tantos amigos dominicanos
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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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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 Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:06:50 -0400)

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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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