Who Killed Palomino Molero, an entertaining and brilliantly plotted mystery, takes up one of Vargas Llosa's characteristic themes: the despair at how hard it is to be an honest man in a corrupt society.
"Splendid, suspenseful, and irresistible . . . A contemporary love story that explores the mores of the urban 1960s--and 70s and 80s."--The New York Times Book Review
Ricardo Somocurcio is in love with a bad girl. He loves her as a 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.
In perhaps his most ambitious and tragic novel, Mario Vargas Llosa tells his own version of the real story of Canudos, inhabiting characters on both sides of the massive, cataclysmic battle between the society and government troops. The resulting novel is a fable of Latin American revolutionary history, an unforgettable story of passion, violence, and the devastation that follows from fanaticism.
The first is his aunt Julia, recently divorced and thirteen years older, with whom he begins a secret affair. The second is a manic radio scriptwriter named Pedro Camacho, whose racy, vituperative soap operas are holding the city's listeners in thrall. Pedro chooses young Marito to be his confidant as he slowly goes insane.
Interweaving the story of Marito's life with the ever-more-fevered tales of Pedro Camacho, Vargas Llosa's novel is hilarious, mischievous, and masterful, a classic named one of the best books of the year by the New York Times Book Review.
Flora Tristán, the illegitimate child of a wealthy Peruvian father and French mother, grows up in poverty and journeys to Peru to demand her inheritance. On her return in 1844, she makes her name as a champion of the downtrodden, touring the French countryside to recruit members for her Workers' Union.
In 1891, Flora's grandson, struggling painter and stubborn visionary Paul Gauguin, abandons his wife and five children for life in the South Seas, where his dreams of paradise are poisoned by syphilis, the stifling forces of French colonialism, and a chronic lack of funds, though he has his pick of teenage Tahitian lovers and paints some of his greatest works.
Flora died before her grandson was born, but their travels and obsessions unfold side by side in this double portrait, a rare study in passion and ambition, as well as the obstinate pursuit of greatness in the face of illness and death.
The title story, "The Cubs," tells the story of the carefree boyhood of P.P. Cuellar and his friends, and of P.P.'s bizarre accident and tragic coming of age. Innovative in style and technique, it is a work of both physical and psychic loss.
In a candid and perceptive forward to this collection of early writing, Vargas llosa provides background to the volume and a unique glimpse into the mind of the Nobel Prize-winning artist.
Latin American democracy, the role of religion in civic life, and the future of globalization. But Vargas Llosa's influence is hardly limited to politics. In some of the liveliest critical writing of his career, he makes a pilgrimage to Bob Marley's shrine in Jamaica, celebrates the sexual abandon of Carnaval in Rio, and examines the legacies of Vermeer, Bertolt Brecht, Frida Kahlo, and Octavio Paz, among others.
Nobel laureate Mario Vargas Llosa's newest novel, The Discreet Hero, follows two fascinating characters whose lives are destined to intersect: neat, endearing Felícito Yanaqué, a small businessman in Piura, Peru, who finds himself the victim of blackmail; and Ismael Carrera, a successful owner of an insurance company in Lima, who cooks up a plan to avenge himself against the two lazy sons who want him dead.
Felícito and Ismael are, each in his own way, quiet, discreet rebels: honorable men trying to seize control of their destinies in a social and political climate where all can seem set in stone, predetermined. They are hardly vigilantes, but each is determined to live according to his own personal ideals and desires—which means forcibly rising above the pettiness of their surroundings. The Discreet Hero is also a chance to revisit some of our favorite players from previous Vargas Llosa novels: Sergeant Lituma, Don Rigoberto, Doña Lucrecia, and Fonchito are all here in a prosperous Peru. Vargas Llosa sketches Piura and Lima vividly—and the cities become not merely physical spaces but realms of the imagination populated by his vivid characters.
A novel whose humor and pathos shine through in Edith Grossman's masterly translation, The Discreet Hero is another remarkable achievement from the finest Latin American novelist at work today.
When The Time of the Hero was first published in Peru in 1962, it was considered so scandalous that a thousand copies were burned in an official ceremony at the Leoncio Prado Military Academy. That same year, the book received the Biblioteca Breve Prize, an award given to the best work of fiction in the Spanish language.
"...[A]s with other fine writers, Vargas functions on more than a single level of meaning." - The New York Times
In 1916, the Irish nationalist Roger Casement was hanged by the British government for treason. Casement had dedicated his extraordinary life to improving the plight of oppressed peoples around the world—especially the native populations in the Belgian Congo and the Amazon—but when he dared to draw a parallel between the injustices he witnessed in African and American colonies and those committed by the British in Northern Ireland, he became involved in a cause that led to his imprisonment and execution. Ultimately, the scandals surrounding Casement's trial and eventual hanging tainted his image to such a degree that his pioneering human rights work wasn't fully reexamined until the 1960s.
In The Dream of the Celt, Mario Vargas Llosa, who has long been regarded as one of Latin America's most vibrant, provocative, and necessary literary voices—a fact confirmed when he was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 2010—brings this complex character to life as no other writer can. A masterful work, sharply translated by Edith Grossman, The Dream of the Celt tackles a controversial man whose story has long been neglected, and, in so doing, pushes at the boundaries of the historical novel.
Hugo, Vargas Llosa says, had at least two goals in Les Misérables--to create a complete fictional world and, through it, to change the real world. Despite the impossibility of these aims, Hugo makes them infectious, sweeping up the reader with his energy and linguistic and narrative skill. Les Misérables, Vargas Llosa argues, embodies a utopian vision of literature--the idea that literature can not only give us a supreme experience of beauty, but also make us more virtuous citizens, and even grant us a glimpse of the "afterlife, the immortal soul, God." If Hugo's aspiration to transform individual and social life through literature now seems innocent, Vargas Llosa says, it is still a powerful ideal that great novels like Les Misérables can persuade us is true.
In the past, culture was a kind of vital consciousness that constantly rejuvenated and revivified everyday reality. Now it is largely a mechanism of distraction and entertainment. Notes on the Death of Culture is an examination and indictment of this transformation—penned by none other than Mario Vargas Llosa, who is not only one of our finest novelists but one of the keenest social critics at work today.
Taking his cues from T. S. Eliot—whose essay "Notes Toward a Definition of Culture" is a touchstone precisely because the culture Eliot aimed to describe has since vanished—Vargas Llosa traces a decline whose ill effects have only just begun to be felt. He mourns, in particular, the figure of the intellectual: for most of the twentieth century, men and women of letters drove political, aesthetic, and moral conversations; today they have all but disappeared from public debate.
But Vargas Llosa stubbornly refuses to fade into the background. He is not content to merely sign a petition; he will not bite his tongue. A necessary gadfly, the Nobel laureate Vargas Llosa, here vividly translated by John King, provides a tough but essential critique of our time and culture.
Fantastically intelligent, inspired, and surprising, Touchstones is a landmark collection of essays from one of the world's leading writers and intellectuals.
Written by a former army lieutenant, civil engineer, and journalist, Backlands is Euclides da Cunha's vivid and poignant portrayal of Brazil's infamous War of Canudos. The deadliest civil war in Brazilian history, the conflict during the 1890s was between the government and the village of Canudos in the northeastern state of Bahia, which had been settled by 30,000 followers of the religious zealot Antonio Conselheiro. Far from just an objective retelling, da Cunha's story shows both the significance of this event and the complexities of Brazilian society.
Published here in a new translation by Elizabeth Lowe, and featuring an introduction by one of the foremost scholars of Latin America, this is sure to remain one of the best chronicles of war ever penned.
Pocos libros han despertado tanta expectación en todo el mundo como la autobiografía de Gabriel García Márquez, autor de Cien años de soledad y ganador del Premio Nobel de Literatura. En sus memorias, García Márquez nos habla de su infancia y primera juventud en Colombia, ofreciéndonos una crónica de los años que modelaron su imaginación y que, andando el tiempo, cristalizarían en algunos de los relatos y novelas más importantes del siglo XX. En sus páginas el lector se encontrará con episodios como el conmovedor retrato de sus abuelos, con quienes se crió en su aldea natal de Aracataca, o la descripción del asesinato de un candidato presidencial en Bogotá, del que fue testigo ocular. García Márquez da cuenta de las gentes, los lugares y los sucesos que le sirvieron de acicate como periodista y como narrador. Desbordante de humor y sabiduría, el autor se adentra por igual en los misterios de la escritura y de la vida, brindándonos un relato apasionante de la búsqueda de sus orígenes que despierta ecos de los mejores momentos de la prosa de su ficción. Además de un escrito de extraordinario mérito literario, Vivir para contarla constituye una guía indispensable para entender el resto de su obra.
Latin American authors who loved and described his natural surroundings,
and he ranks among the greatest writers of any time and place. He saw
the beauty of the Peruvian landscape, as well as the grimness of social
conditions in the Andes, through the eyes of the Indians who are a part
of it. Yawar Fiesta describes the social relations between Indians,
mestizos, and whites in the Peruvian highland town of Puquio in the
early twentieth century. Each group’s reaction to the national
government’s attempt to suppress the traditional Indian-style bullfight
reflects their attitude toward social change more generally. Included
with the text of the novel is Arguedas’ anthropological essay “Puquio: A
Culture in the Process of Change,” written eighteen years after Yawar
Fiesta. The article emphasizes the social changes in the village that
resulted from the road construction described in the novel. While
Arguedas’ poetry was published in Quechua, he invented a language for
his novels in which he used native syntax with Spanish vocabulary,
making translation into other languages extremely difficult. Frances
Horning Barraclough has met the challenge and produced an excellent work
that remains faithful to the author’s use of language to reflect with
lived experience of Peruvian Indians.
Seven Interpretive Essays on Peruvian Reality (Siete ensayos de interpretación de la realidad peruana), first published in 1928, is Mariátegui's major statement of his position and has gone into many editions, not only in Peru but also in other Latin American countries. The topics discussed in the essays—economic evolution, the problem of the Indian, the land problem, public education, the religious factor, regionalism and centralism, and the literary process—are in many respects as relevant today as when the book was written.
Mariátegui's thinking was strongly tinged with Marxism. Because contemporary sociology, anthropology, and economics have been influenced by Marxism much more in Latin America than in North America, it is important that North Americans become more aware of Mariátegui's position and accord it its proper historical significance.
Jorge Basadre, the distinguished Peruvian historian, in an introduction written especially for this translation, provides an account of Mariátegui's life and describes the political and intellectual climate in which these essays were written.
Late one night, Charly disappears without a trace, and Udo's well-ordered life is thrown into upheaval; while Ingeborg and Hanna return to their lives in Germany, he refuses to leave the hotel. Soon he and El Quemado are enmeshed in a round of Third Reich, Udo's favorite World War II strategy game, and Udo discovers that the game's consequences may be all too real.
Written in 1989 and found among Roberto Bolaño's papers after his death, The Third Reich is a stunning exploration of memory and violence. Reading this quick, visceral novel, we see a world-class writer coming into his own—and exploring for the first time the themes that would define his masterpieces The Savage Detectives and 2666.
Magnificently translated by Margaret Sayers Peden, Terra Nostra is, as Milan Kundera says in his afterword, "the spreading out of the novel, the exploration of its possibilities, the voyage to the edge of what only a novelist can see and say."
* Hailed by Edmund White as "a brilliant new novel" on the cover of the New York Times Book Review
* Lauded by Jonathan Franzen, E. L. Doctorow and many others
From a global literary star comes a prize-winning tour de force – an intimate portrayal of the drug wars in Colombia.
Juan Gabriel Vásquez has been hailed not only as one of South America’s greatest literary stars, but also as one of the most acclaimed writers of his generation. In this gorgeously wrought, award-winning novel, Vásquez confronts the history of his home country, Colombia.
In the city of Bogotá, Antonio Yammara reads an article about a hippo that had escaped from a derelict zoo once owned by legendary Colombian drug kingpin Pablo Escobar. The article transports Antonio back to when the war between Escobar’s Medellín cartel and government forces played out violently in Colombia’s streets and in the skies above. Back then, Antonio witnessed a friend’s murder, an event that haunts him still. As he investigates, he discovers the many ways in which his own life and his friend’s family have been shaped by his country’s recent violent past. His journey leads him all the way back to the 1960s and a world on the brink of change: a time before narco-trafficking trapped a whole generation in a living nightmare.
Vásquez is “one of the most original new voices of Latin American literature,” according to Nobel Prize winner Mario Vargas Llosa, and The Sound of Things Falling is his most personal, most contemporary novel to date, a masterpiece that takes his writing—and will take his literary star—even higher.
More than seventy-five years after its first publication, Manhattan Transfer still stands as "a novel of the very first importance" (Sinclair Lewis). It is a masterpeice of modern fiction and a lasting tribute to the dual-edged nature of the American dream.
En su primer libro de ficción, Borges trabaja con biografías de ladrones y rufianes verdaderos; personajes traidores y a veces también heroicos. Aquí están, entre otros, Lazarus Morell, redentor de esclavos; el impostor Tom Castro, hijo perdido y encontrado; y la viuda y pirata Ching, hábil en el saqueo de altamar. A estos le siguen “Hombre de la esquina rosada”, uno de sus relatos más celebrados; y “Etcétera”, un testimonio de sus incontables lecturas. Relatos que juegan a falsear y alterar historias ajenas, infundidos con el puro placer de contar cuentos, Historia universal de la infamia anunció la llegada de una voz literaria totalmente original.
“No hay nadie como Borges”. —The New York Times
Here is a recovered Renaissance classic, a Catalan novel of chivalry done into English for the first time by a gifted poet and translator. Cervantes singles out Tirant lo Blanc for very special praise in Don Quixote—in the scene in which the don’s friends, eager to save his sanity, are making a bonfire of the romances of chivalry which have constituted his sole intellectual and spiritual nourishments. Cervantes makes a pointed exception of this work, putting into the mouth of a character the suggestion that the book deserves to remain in print throughout the ages.
So it has—and now it can be read in David H. Rosenthal’s lively English. Tirant lo Blanc presents the life of the Renaissance nobility: politics, lovemaking, and war. The hero participates in all these activities with a great deal of dash and good humor, there is much excellent conversation along the way, and by the time the story has come to its satisfying conclusion, the modern reader is convinced that life was quite as complex 500 years ago as it is today—and, for the European nobility, perhaps a good deal more entertaining.
In 1955, Garcia Marquez was working for El Espectador, a newspaper in Bogota, when in February of that year eight crew members of the Caldas, a Colombian destroyer, were washed overboard and disappeared. Ten days later one of them turned up, barely alive, on a deserted beach in northern Colombia. This book, which originally appeared as a series of newspaper articles, is Garcia Marquez's account of that sailor's ordeal.
Translated by Randolf Hogan.
General Simon Bolivar, “the Liberator” of five South American countries, takes a last melancholy journey down the Magdalena River, revisiting cities along its shores, and reliving the triumphs, passions, and betrayals of his life. Infinitely charming, prodigiously successful in love, war and politics, he still dances with such enthusiasm and skill that his witnesses cannot believe he is ill. Aflame with memories of the power that he commanded and the dream of continental unity that eluded him, he is a moving exemplar of how much can be won—and lost—in a life.
A New York Times Notable Book
On the eve of his ninetieth birthday a bachelor decides to give himself a wild night of love with a virgin. As is his habit–he has purchased hundreds of women–he asks a madam for her assistance. The fourteen-year-old girl who is procured for him is enchanting, but exhausted as she is from caring for siblings and her job sewing buttons, she can do little but sleep. Yet with this sleeping beauty at his side, it is he who awakens to a romance he has never known.
Tender, knowing, and slyly comic, Memories of My Melancholy Whores is an exquisite addition to the master’s work.
A brilliant skeptic, José Saramago envisions the life of Jesus Christ and the story of his Passion as things of this earth: A child crying, the caress of a woman half asleep, the bleat of a goat, a prayer uttered in the grayish morning light. His idea of the Holy Family reflects the real complexities of any family, and—as only Saramago can—he imagines them with tinges of vision, dream, and omen. The result is a deft psychological portrait that moves between poetry and irony, spirituality and irreverence of a savior who is at once the Son of God and a young man. In this provocative, tender novel, the subject of wide critical discussion and wonder, Saramago questions the meaning of God, the foundations of the Church, and human existence itself.
From the Trade Paperback edition.
Horacio Oliveira is an Argentinian writer who lives in Paris with his mistress, La Maga, surrounded by a loose-knit circle of bohemian friends who call themselves "the Club." A child's death and La Maga's disappearance put an end to his life of empty pleasures and intellectual acrobatics, and prompt Oliveira to return to Buenos Aires, where he works by turns as a salesman, a keeper of a circus cat which can truly count, and an attendant in an insane asylum. Hopscotch is the dazzling, freewheeling account of Oliveira's astonishing adventures.
In 1990, fearing extradition to the United States, Pablo Escobar – head of the Medellín drug cartel – kidnapped ten notable Colombians to use as bargaining chips. With the eye of a poet, García Márquez describes the survivors’ perilous ordeal and the bizarre drama of the negotiations for their release. He also depicts the keening ache of Colombia after nearly forty years of rebel uprisings, right-wing death squads, currency collapse and narco-democracy. With cinematic intensity, breathtaking language and journalistic rigor, García Márquez evokes the sickness that inflicts his beloved country and how it penetrates every strata of society, from the lowliest peasant to the President himself.
On her twelfth birthday, Sierva Maria – the only child of a decaying noble family in an eighteenth-century South American seaport – is bitten by a rabid dog. Believed to be possessed, she is brought to a convent for observation. And into her cell stumbles Father Cayetano Delaura, who has already dreamed about a girl with hair trailing after her like a bridal train. As he tends to her with holy water and sacramental oils, Delaura feels something shocking begin to occur. He has fallen in love – and it is not long until Sierva Maria joins him in his fevered misery. Unsettling and indelible, Of Love and Other Demons is an evocative, majestic tale of the most universal experiences known to woman and man.
The House of the Spirits brings to life the triumphs and tragedies of three generations of the Trueba family. The patriarch Esteban is a volatile, proud man whose voracious pursuit of political power is tempered only by his love for his delicate wife, Clara, a woman with a mystical connection to the spirit world. When their daughter Blanca embarks on a forbidden love affair in defiance of her implacable father, the result is an unexpected gift to Esteban: his adored granddaughter Alba, a beautiful and strong-willed child who will lead her family and her country into a revolutionary future.
One of the most important novels of the twentieth century, The House of the Spirits is an enthralling epic that spans decades and lives, weaving the personal and the political into a universal story of love, magic, and fate.
“This is a shattering work by a literary master.”—The Boston Globe
A New York Times Notable Book of the Year
A Los Angeles Times Best Book of the Year
A city is hit by an epidemic of "white blindness" which spares no one. Authorities confine the blind to an empty mental hospital, but there the criminal element holds everyone captive, stealing food rations and raping women. There is one eyewitness to this nightmare who guides seven strangers—among them a boy with no mother, a girl with dark glasses, a dog of tears—through the barren streets, and the procession becomes as uncanny as the surroundings are harrowing. A magnificent parable of loss and disorientation and a vivid evocation of the horrors of the twentieth century, Blindness has swept the reading public with its powerful portrayal of man's worst appetites and weaknesses—and man's ultimately exhilarating spirit.
Following the epic struggle between two cousins for an estate in Venezuela, Doña Barbara is an examination of the conflict between town and country, violence and intellect, male and female. Doña Barbara is a beautiful and mysterious woman—rumored to be a witch—with a ferocious power over men. When her cousin Santos Luzardo returns to the plains in order to reclaim his land and cattle, he reluctantly faces off against Doña Barbara, and their battle becomes simultaneously one of violence and seduction. All of the action is set against the stunning backdrop of the Venezuelan prairie, described in loving detail. Gallegos’s plains are filled with dangerous ranchers, intrepid cowboys, and damsels in distress, all broadly and vividly drawn. A masterful novel with an important role in the inception of magical realism, Doña Barbara is a suspenseful tale that blends fantasy, adventure, and romance.
Hailed as “the Bovary of the llano” by Larry McMurtry in his new foreword to this book, Doña Barbarais a magnetic and memorable heroine, who has inspired numerous adaptations on the big and small screens, including a recent television show that aired on Telemundo.
One of Fuentes's greatest works, the novel tells the story of Ambrose Bierce, the American writer, soldier, and journalist, and of his last mysterious days in Mexico living among Pancho Villa's soldiers, particularly his encounter with General Tomas Arroyo. In the end, the incompatibility of the two countries (or, paradoxically, their intimacy) claims both men, in a novel that is, most of all, about the tragic history of two cultures in conflict.
Gustave Flaubert once said of his heroine, “Emma Bovary, c’est moi.” In this acclaimed new translation, Adam Thorpe brings readers closer than ever before to Flaubert’s peerless text and, by extension, the author himself.
Emma, a passionate dreamer raised in the French countryside, is ready for her life to take off when she marries the decent, dull Dr. Charles Bovary. Marriage, however, fails to live up to her expectations, which are fueled by sentimental novels, and she turns disastrously to love affairs. The story of Emma’s adultery scandalized France when Madame Bovary was first published. Today, the heartbreaking story of Emma’s financial ruin remains just as compelling. Translator Adam Thorpe, an accomplished author in his own right, pays careful attention to the “complex music” of Flaubert’s language, with its elegant, finely wrought sentences and closely observed detail. This exquisite Modern Library edition is sure to set a new standard for an enduring classic.
Praise for Adam Thorpe’s translation of Madame Bovary
“What leaves me reeling with each rereading (and Adam Thorpe’s new translation is, pardon the pun, to die for) is the use of language. There can be no doubt as to the reason for Flaubert’s brain popping at the top of the stairs when he was fifty-eight. He broke it scouring for perfect sentences, words, le mot juste.”—Russell Kane, The Independent
“Flaubert described his great work as a poem, so it is fitting that a poet and novelist of Thorpe’s stature should turn his hand to it.”—Robin Robertson, The Herald (Scotland)
Composed in the last years of Roberto Bolaño's life, 2666 was greeted across Europe and Latin America as his highest achievement, surpassing even his previous work in its strangeness, beauty, and scope. Its throng of unforgettable characters includes academics and convicts, an American sportswriter, an elusive German novelist, and a teenage student and her widowed, mentally unstable father. Their lives intersect in the urban sprawl of SantaTeresa—a fictional Juárez—on the U.S.-Mexico border, where hundreds of young factory workers, in the novel as in life, have disappeared.