Seth's Reviews > The Bad Girl

The Bad Girl by Mario Vargas Llosa
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's review
Nov 28, 2010

it was amazing
bookshelves: latin-american-literature, favorites
Read from December 19 to 25, 2010

This is the third and most fascinating book I have read by Mario Vargas Llosa. The others were "War of the End of the World" and "Death in the Andes." After reading this relatively modest sample of this literary giant’s oeuvre, I am already certain that he deserved the Nobel Prize for Literature far more than many other recipients.

Vargas Llosa is noteworthy not just as a prolific author but also for his political odyssey. Incidentally, "The Bad Girl" includes some trenchant insights into politics in his native Peru. Subsequent events have confirmed the author's fears about the impact of the looming rise of Alan Garcia on Peru’s economy. But this book is not about politics nor is it only about Peru. It is a parable akin to the flight of Icarus. It is about a woman who dares to escape her humble origins—whatever the risks and whoever may be harmed along the way. The philosophical questions posed by the book are: is the main character really a bad girl or is she a victim? Is she cruel or merely a survivor? Does she have delusions of grandeur or just ambition? Does she deserve our contempt or our pity?

I will refrain from providing a plot summary of this globe-spanning adventure because that would ruin the experience for you. Therefore, I will confine my remarks to a more mundane aspect of the novel. The narrator, who works as a translator and interpreter for UNESCO, has occasion to contemplate the meaning of his profession—that is, when he is not chasing bad girl. His mentor counsels him that a translator/interpreter must convey other people’s ideas without introducing his own, thereby leaving no trace upon death. Therefore, the translator is nothing but a phantom. A sobering thought, indeed.

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01/31/2016 marked as: read

Comments (showing 1-8 of 8) (8 new)

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message 1: by Ana (new) - rated it 5 stars

Ana Reif this book is sooooooooooooooooooooooooooo good :D

message 2: by Neil (new)

Neil Conroy My first Llosa book and loved it. Can anyone recommend which of his I should read next?

Seth Neil wrote: "My first Llosa book and loved it. Can anyone recommend which of his I should read next?"

The next Llosa book I plan to read is Conversation in the Cathedral. It features an intertwining dialog that was inspired by Flaubert's Madame Bovary. In general, Llosa was heavily influenced by classic French literature. He wrote several works of French-themed literary criticism, including The Perpetual Orgy and The Temptation of the Impossible.

Evelina Dumitru The feast of the goat is absolutely fantastic!!!

Seth I have it on my bookshelf. I'll read it soon.

Perry Gamsby Great review, Seth. Neil, read 'Aunt Julia and the Scriptwriter'.

message 7: by Christine (new)

Christine Thomas I did'nt want this book to end, you could've made it last a bit longer,Marietto..

Andrea Nunes I couldn't put it down

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