Danielle Parker's Reviews > The War of the End of the World

The War of the End of the World by Mario Vargas Llosa
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's review
Apr 12, 2011

it was ok
Read from April 12 to 27, 2011

I'm going way out on a limb on this low rating, because everyone else seems to looovvvve this book. Sorry, I had a hard time wading through this work. I've read other works by Vargas Llosa and liked them. But not this one.

The difficulty with The War of the End of the World is the undisguised political subtext (did I say "sub"? Wrong term, really). That author-speak hits you over the head from page one, and never lets up repeating the same thing, over and over.

If you think the Anti-Christ is the Catholic Church and The Government, and if you're also convinced Heaven on Earth is free-love, no-taxes, do-your-own-thing, well, you might like the message enough to rave about this one. Oh yes, and if you are convinced the murderers and prostitutes are really on the side of good. Because Heaven on Earth is populated with all the outcasts, including one who chopped his mistress to pieces.

Lack of sympathetic characters is another problem, as you might deduce already. Another man who makes it into Heaven on Earth is a rapist. Worse yet, the lady learns to like it.

I tend to get a sore head after so much repeated hammering of message. I squeeze my eyes shut in the blinding light of such naked polemics.

The best feature of the story is the Brazilian setting and historical wrap: the one part of the story I enjoyed.

But I tend to agree with Shakespeare. The first rule and holy duty of a writer is to entertain. The message has a heck of a lot more power when you sneak it in there. When it's coming through the reader's involvement in the characters and the story. I fully believe a writer can and should postulate whatever argument he wants to in his works. Only don't forget Holy Rule #1.

So, swimming against the flood tide of opinion, I'm not impressed. Guess the gold NOBEL PRIZE WINNER affixed to my copy of the book reminds me how political THAT award can be, too.
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