K's Reviews > The Feast of the Goat

The Feast of the Goat by Mario Vargas Llosa
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's review
May 15, 2011

liked it
bookshelves: latinamerica, intense-sad-dark-or-bleak, historicalfiction, should-ve-been-shorter
Recommended to K by: Kinga
Recommended for: people wiht a special interest in Trujillo
Read from May 08 to 16, 2011

I see why this is a good book, and I admire what Llosa did here. Unfortunately, I didn't enjoy it as much as I would have liked.

This is a book about the events surrounding Trujillo's assassination in the Dominican Republic, told from a variety of perspectives: Trujillo himself, the several men involved in the plot to kill him (who seemed pretty interchangeable to me as characters and really didn't need individual narratives), and a woman named Urania years later, looking back on the events from her unique perspective as she visits her estranged father in the Dominican Republic years later.

Although I can't claim to know much about the Trujillo era, if Wikipedia can be trusted Llosa did his research and got the details right. I'm usually not a fan of fiction that speculates about the inner lives of actual people, but I did find Llosa's renderings of Trujillo, his henchmen, and his assassins complex and believable. And I'm also not a fan of multiple narratives, but here it kind of worked.

Now for the bad: I found this book heavy on many levels. The writing was dense and detailed; the subject matter dark and depressing. It wasn't an easy book to get through and felt bloated at times. Though some of the characters were interesting (I particularly liked the rendering of President Balaguer), many of them left me cold when it came to personality, particularly Urania who, as another reviewer pointed out, was a Mary Sue.

If you have a special interest in the Trujillo era I think this is a good book to read; if you're just looking for an interesting or gripping read, this may not be the best choice.
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Comments (showing 1-10 of 10) (10 new)

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Kinga Ah, now I will be nervous!!

I really have this unexplainable thing for Llosa that some people might not share.

Mariel Kinga recommends great books!

Kinga Oh my God, Mariel, you will never let me live it down, will ya!

It was a JOKE recommendation. I SWEAR! I didn't mean it! I didn't even read that book!!

I am going to sulk now.

Mariel But I really liked Feast of the Goat. I was being encouraging.

message 5: by K (new) - rated it 3 stars

K Well, Evening Is the Whole Day worked out great for me so hopefully this one will too! Though I admit I'm having some trouble getting into it. It has a high goodreads rating, so I'm feeling hopeful, and I liked Julia Alvarez's books which also touch on the whole Trujillo thing. We'll see how it goes.

Kinga I admit this is not Llosa's best work and I gave it 5 stars because I am Llosa's groupie. I thought Urania was bland as well but I actually like political behind the scenes speculations so in general it worked for me.

message 7: by K (new) - rated it 3 stars

K I can see why someone would like this book; there was a lot to admire here. What else have you read by Llosa? I enjoyed Aunt Julia and the Scriptwriter and would be open to trying something else of his.

Kinga I loved COnversation in the Cathedral but that's heavy. I read Aunt Julia but at a very tender age and don't remember that much (wasn't there a movie with Banderas?)

Also Ciudad de Perros (forgot the English title) is really good, though not sure if the subject matter would appeal to you but it is a really really good book.

message 9: by K (new) - rated it 3 stars

K I will try to check those out. I'm pretty limited here in terms of what I can find, but I'll see what I can do. I don't know about a movie with Banderas, but I did see a movie based on "Aunt Julia" called "Tune in Tomorrow" with Keanu Reeves which changed the setting to the south in the 1950s. I thought it was pretty cute.

Kinga Ah, yeah, I confused Keanu with Banderas. Could happen to anyone

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