Daniel's Reviews > Aunt Julia and the Scriptwriter

Aunt Julia and the Scriptwriter by Mario Vargas Llosa
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's review
Jun 14, 2008

it was amazing
bookshelves: favorites
Read in December, 2009

In the interest of full disclosure, I must tell you that I am a huge fan of Mario Vargas Llosa. But then, it is exactly because of books like this that I am such a great fan.

Have you ever picked up a book and wondered what was going on as you read it, only to be wonderfully rewarded the deeper and deeper you got into it. By about Chapter 5, I figured out what he was doing and was so pleased I wanted to call someone and tell them about it. At the end of Chapter 7, when I REALLY figured out what he was doing with the novel, I had to put it down.

Not because it wasn't good, but because I was inhaling it so rapidly that I was worried I'd finish it too quickly and all the wonder and amazement I was enjoying would be gone too quickly. I'd finished half the book in one sitting.

I don't even want to tell you what it is about, or the reasons why I thought it was so fun and incredible. All I can say is that it is a shame that Pedro Camacho is just a character in the ether and that his radio "novelas" are similarly lost in the mist of time and imagination. Because the industry we call entertainment could use a man who sanctifies the profession of actor, and who believes that art for the sake of art is the highest and noblest endeavor that a person can undertake.

I kept imagining the radio serials in black and white, like the television of the age and wondered how could you pull something off like this today? I don't know if you can. I almost don't know how you could turn this remarkable set of stories into a screenplay although I would love to see someone try. In a way, I kept imagining Gael García Bernal and Ana Lopez Mercado in the main roles, something out of Y Tu Mama Tambien, where the attraction despite the age discrepancy propelled a lot of the plot.

Rich in detail and with an ending true to life which splashes a cold bucket of water on all the fantasy flames of young love, this novel has depth, style and romance. And in the end, the fire from before leaves only dark, spent embers.

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