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The Time of the Hero by Mario Vargas Llosa

The Time of the Hero (1962)

by Mario Vargas Llosa

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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924219,467 (3.74)1 / 66
Recently added byprivate library, matt5, Michael.Xolotl, Bodoni, Bea522, SCPeterson, uscer
Legacy LibrariesNewton 'Bud' Flounders, Eeva-Liisa Manner
  1. 10
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    L'Ecrivain by Yasmina Khadra (juan1961)
    juan1961: Otra historia sobre la vida en un colegio militar

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Spanish (9)  English (9)  Hebrew (1)  Dutch (1)  Italian (1)  All languages (21)
Showing 1-5 of 9 (next | show all)
Vargas Llosa’s first novel, written in 1963 when he was 27, shows his talent as a novelist. It centers on a group of young cadets in the Leoncio Prado Military Academy, which he himself attended from the age of 14 to 16, and the underworld of violence and drinking there.

The young men are frequently cruel and engage in some pretty disgusting acts (I’m tempted to describe one of them that occurs 33 pages in, but I’ll refrain from doing so). However, I don’t think this was the reason that the book caused an immediate outrage and ceremonial book burnings in Peru when it was published; I think it’s because it showed the sordid reality of life as a cadet, and the hypocrisy and corruption in the leaders of the academy.

While there is bullying and jealousy over girls that leads to violence, there are no heroes or villains here, and that’s to Vargas Llosa’s credit. It’s very strange to me that the English title was made “The Time of the Hero” in light of this; the original is quite simply “The City and the Dogs” in Spanish. Vargas Llosa uses multiple narrators and interleaved flashbacks, occasionally dabbling in stream of consciousness writing, and shows understanding of the psychology for all of his characters. In an understated way he explains their pasts and what formed them, and he also shows the sense of honor that some of them have despite their heinous outward actions. I also liked the ‘surprise’ which he cleverly builds up over the back half of the book.

Just this quote, in the preface, from Sartre:
“We play the part of heroes because we’re cowards, the part of saints because we’re wicked: we play the killer’s role because we’re dying to murder our fellow man: we play at being because we’re liars from the moment we’re born.” ( )
1 vote gbill | Jun 7, 2014 |
Ho comprato questo libro nel 1985, ristampa Rizzoli, prima edizione. Ricordo di averlo iniziato e mollato subito. Per una curiosa coincidenza lo avevo ripescato dallo scaffale pochi giorni prima dell'annuncio del Nobel. Dello stesso autore avevo letto un paio d'anni fa Avventure della ragazza cattiva, che mi aveva incantata. E così ho ripreso questo suo primo libro, e devo dire che valeva davvero la pena. Nel 1985 non avrei potuto leggerlo. era una prosa, un modo di narrare inusuale, molto in anticipo sui tempi. Prima e terza persona, passato e presente, molti punti di vista, molti piani narrativi. Incredibile scrivere un romanzo corale così e dominarlo saldamente. Certo anche il lettore deve lasciarsi condurre, non è un libro per chi ama la prosa facile e il susseguirsi cronologico. E' un libro impegnativo. Ne esce un quadro di gioventù dolente, in alcuni tratti bisogna togliere un attimo gli occhi dalle pagine e guardare altrove. Consigliato ai mega-lettori.
  Lilliblu | Aug 4, 2012 |
Vargas Llosa's first novel demonstrates many of the techniques and themes of his later novels, including multiple (often confusing) narrators, class, race, and sex, but for me it was a less thrilling read than his later works. Set in a military academy for cadets (one which Vargas Llosa himself attended), the novel is a scathing indictment of such academies and implicitly the military itself, leavened by satire. I found the first third or so of the book difficult to read as it details the sadistic and horrifying way the cadets treat each other and introduces many characters all at once. Then, once one of the cadets as been killed, the book becomes more readable, and explores betrayal, loyalty, honesty, and hypocrisy. The story of what happens in the academy is mixed with scenes of some of the cadets back in their homes, both before and after their time in the academy. As I neared the end of the novel, I found it hard to put down.

Incidentally, Vargas Llosa is said to have disliked the English title; the Spanish title translates literally as "The City and the Dogs" and is a much better title ("dogs" is the nickname of the first-year cadets).
3 vote rebeccanyc | Mar 20, 2011 |
The portuguese translation of La ciudad y los perros, the first novel of Llosa and the one that, when it was first published in 1963, turned him world famous overnight and provoked a bitter reaction by the peruvian military establishment, particularly those connected with the Leoncio Prado military college, in Lima, where the action of the novel takes place. Llosa was himself a cadet at the college, and the book is a brilliant denounciation of the physical and mental violence, and of the hypocrisy, of the military institution. ( )
  FPdC | May 24, 2010 |
Outstanding novel from an outstanding writer. Raw and violently real. ( )
  JavierSan | Apr 23, 2010 |
Showing 1-5 of 9 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (18 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Mario Vargas Llosaprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Klimowski, AndrzejCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Rijkmans, J.G.Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0571173209, Paperback)

A powerful social satire which outraged the authorities of the author's native Peru, where 1000 copies were publicly burned.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:23:37 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

Four cadets form a secret group to beat the confinement of their military academy. This sets off a chain of events that starts with a theft and ends in murder.

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