HomeGroupsTalkExploreZeitgeist
Search Site
This site uses cookies to deliver our services, improve performance, for analytics, and (if not signed in) for advertising. By using LibraryThing you acknowledge that you have read and understand our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy. Your use of the site and services is subject to these policies and terms.
Hide this

Results from Google Books

Click on a thumbnail to go to Google Books.

Loading...

The War of the End of the World (1981)

by Mario Vargas Llosa

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
2,032426,265 (4.14)2 / 251
An apocalyptic prophet in the Brazilian backlands creates the state of Canudos. In it there is no money, property, marriage, income tax, decimal system, or census.
Loading...

Sign up for LibraryThing to find out whether you'll like this book.

» See also 251 mentions

English (32)  Spanish (5)  Danish (1)  Portuguese (1)  Dutch (1)  Catalan (1)  Portuguese (Brazil) (1)  All languages (42)
Showing 1-5 of 32 (next | show all)
Sometimes a really long book only elicits a very short summary from me, either because I don't have much to say, or because I don't think my reaction would fit well in a review. This book is one of the latter cases. First of all, it's huge, and not merely in size but in all the other aspects too - cast, range, and its scope. That epic quality is probably why it's been analogized to Leo Tolstoy's War and Peace, but I think the plot is also somewhat similar to Victor Hugo's Ninety-Three. It's a novelistic take on the War of Canudos, a small attempt to quiet a small rebellious village that grew into the deadliest civil war in Brazilian history. In Llosa's hands, the town's dedication to an obscure charismatic religious figure becomes a stand-in for the massive changes Brazil was experiencing at the time: abolition of slavery, transition from monarchy to a republic, and attempts to secularize a deeply religious people in the name of Brazil's new motto: Order and Progress. Some of the scenes with jungle warfare also reminded me of Joseph Conrad's Heart of Darkness (or at least Apocalypse Now).

One thing that helped keep it readable was that Llosa is a master of tempo, interspersing the epic battles with the stories of these people whose lives are entwined with the ideals of the age. If ever a book deserved the adjective "apocalyptic", it would be this one. I've never read "Rebellion in the Backlands" by Euclides da Cunha, which is supposedly the primary source material, but the exact fidelity to events is almost besides the point here - the increasing attempts by the central government to conquer the rebels in the town build to a fever pitch amid the kind of hysterical millennialism that feels as real as anything. The constant doom-laden tension is only enhanced by the scenes of analepsis and prolepsis, as characters reflect on their past actions and what they meant, if mere mortals could ever attempt to understand the true magnitude of the action. I don't usually pay a lot of attention to introductions, but I wish my copy of the book had discussed the contrast in the view of politics as presented here and Llosa's real-life, somewhat neoliberal political career. It seems like quite a contrast.

Anyway, it was a remarkable book with some truly indelible scenes of faith, war, and death. Many of the book's brief scenes are as well-drawn as anything you'll read in those more famous books it's compared to. This short extract only begins to hint at its qualities:

"It's easier to imagine the death of one person than those of a hundred or a thousand," the baron murmured. "When multiplied, suffering becomes abstract. It is not easy to be moved by abstract things."
"Unless one has seen first one, then ten, a hundred, a thousand, thousands suffer," the nearsighted journalist answered. "If the death of Gentil de Castro was absurd, many of those in Canudos died for reasons no less absurd."
"How many?" the baron said in a low voice. He knew that the number would never be known, that, as with all the rest of history, the figure would be one that historians and politicians would increase and decrease in accordance with their doctrines and the advantage they could extract from it. ( )
  aaronarnold | May 11, 2021 |
This is the first book by Mario Vargas Llosa that I read, and I am ashamed that I never attempted to read any of his books before. Of course, as a Brazilian, I may be biased about this book, but I felt totally mesmerized by it. It is an epic telling the story of a peasant revolt on the backlands of Brazil on the late 1900’s. But, against the historical background of factual military maneuvers, political machinations and religious fundamentalism, the characters – both fictional and historical - are portrait with such care and humanity, they are certainly going to stay with me for a long time. ( )
  RosanaDR | Apr 15, 2021 |
A very good long read which has all the intensity of the most roasted Brazilian coffee you can imagine. There’s a lot of conflict here so steer clear if you’re not up for that.

Based on the true story of a hinterland rebellion in northeastern Brazil in the late 19th century known now as the War of Canudos. The coming millenium leads to the formation of a messianic cult formed almost entirely of peasants who form an early version of Occupy to form their own society building their own town of Canudos.

In the eyes of the government, doing anything they didn’t sanction invited the only solution governments understand: crush the people at all costs. And the cost is high, on both sides. This leads, ultimately to a major tragedy which should never have happened.

Vargas Llosa is, for me, unique in that he’s the only writer based south of San Diego that I can read with ease. For some reason, writers from South / Latin America seems to write in such a tortured enigmatic fashion that you wonder if they do this simply to obscure the fact that they really don’t have much of anything noteworthy to say.

Coelho, Allende, Bolano, Garcia Marquez, Paz – all of these have brought their offerings and received a Cain-like rebuke from me. Even Borges, while he may have much worthile to say, doesn’t half do a song and dance to get there.

But pick up this book and you are captivated from the start. The characterisation is vivid and vast and that includes the unforgiving landscape. The events that unfold are woven back and forth sometimes chronologically, sometimes not, like a baker kneading the dough of some fabulous bread.

But, as you discover early on, this bread will stick in the throat. As a reader you are disturbed throughout. The ending is particularly bitter.

The handling of the crisis shows that almost nothing has changed in the intervening century and a half. Aung San Suu Kyi, Assad, Mohammed bin Salman, King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa have all led brutal acts of oppression against their own citizens which are very selectively condemned by our own governments. ( )
  arukiyomi | Oct 11, 2020 |
Mario Vargas Llosa's novel "The War of the End of the World" was certainly a challenging and slow read for me, but I found it mostly enjoyable and worthy of reputation.

This is historical fiction that tells the story of the War of Canudos in turn of the century Brazil. A wandering traveler named The Counselor picks up a growing horde of the poverty stricken believers -- many whom are also criminals-- who migrate with him to Canudos to start a new society. The society seems to work so well, it worries officials in Brazil who send a series of troops to quell what they view as a rebellion against the current order. Their alarm grows as the people of Canudos manage to fend off three attacks before finally succumbing during the fourth battle.

There is a huge cast of characters here and Llosa does an amazing job painting such vivid portraits of them that they become memorable in their own right. This is really masterfully written. ( )
  amerynth | Nov 14, 2019 |
Un livre magnifique, un récit riche: par ses personnages, par son écriture, par le déroulement de l'histoire. Un récit long, aussi, mais je n'y ai pas vu de longueur, au contraire.
Même si on connaît presque dès le début le dénouement, on est pris dans le récit, et on se prend à rêver.
Les personnages sont attachants, même les 'pires', mais qui sont les pires, finalement?
Ma note est un peu dans n'importe quel sens, difficile d'exprimer comme ça en quelques lignes ce que ce 'pavé', cette véritable saga peut m'inspirer, mais dans une première approche: j'aime!

Un peu de l'histoire quand même, car c'est d'histoire qu'il s'agit: une histoire vraie, au Brésil au XIXème, une guerre qui n'en est pas une, opposant un groupe d'illuminés(?) de pacifistes(?) de croyants, en tout cas, dont la foi pourrait presque déplacer des montagnes, et des militaires, ayant définitivement le mauvais rôle dans ce livre. Je n'ose donc pas donner le nom de guerre à cet évènement, les forces sont trop disproportionnées, c'est bien plutôt une bataille de répression... difficile cependant de prendre fait et cause pour le groupe "réprimé", dont je ne partage pas les opinions, et pourtant, leur bataille est belle, leur foi est impressionnante... j'ai encore du mal à croire que cette guerre a réellement eu lieu: c'est trop fort trop riche pour être vrai ; mais parallèlement, j'ai aussi du mal à penser que toute cette histoire sort de l'imagination d'un seul être: c'est trop complet, trop riche pour cela... trop beau peut-être aussi... ( )
  elisala | Feb 16, 2018 |
Showing 1-5 of 32 (next | show all)
no reviews | add a review

» Add other authors (68 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Mario Vargas Llosaprimary authorall editionscalculated
Morino, AngeloTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Богдановск… АлександрTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
You must log in to edit Common Knowledge data.
For more help see the Common Knowledge help page.
Canonical title
Original title
Alternative titles
Original publication date
People/Characters
Important places
Important events
Related movies
Awards and honors
Epigraph
Dedication
To Euclides da Cunha in the other world; and, in this world, to Nélida Piñon
First words
The man was tall and so thin he seemed to be always in profile.
Quotations
Last words
Disambiguation notice
Publisher's editors
Blurbers
Original language
Canonical DDC/MDS
Canonical LCC

References to this work on external resources.

Wikipedia in English (1)

An apocalyptic prophet in the Brazilian backlands creates the state of Canudos. In it there is no money, property, marriage, income tax, decimal system, or census.

No library descriptions found.

Book description
Haiku summary

Popular covers

Quick Links

Rating

Average: (4.14)
0.5
1 5
1.5
2 8
2.5 3
3 50
3.5 10
4 94
4.5 20
5 126

Is this you?

Become a LibraryThing Author.

 

About | Contact | Privacy/Terms | Help/FAQs | Blog | Store | APIs | TinyCat | Legacy Libraries | Early Reviewers | Common Knowledge | 166,344,245 books! | Top bar: Always visible