Philip Zyg's Reviews > La tía Julia y el escribidor

La tía Julia y el escribidor by Mario Vargas Llosa
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Dec 22, 11


I was a little disappointed by this one, mainly because of "unfavourable" comparison to other Nobel laureates such as Elfriede Jelinek, Gunther Grass, Doris Lessing etc..., all of them more innovative and interesting by far. Vargas Llosa is a good storyteller, with strong characters in mostly comic situations, so this explains why literary critics seem to be so enthused with his work. Being a writer myself, I find Vargas Llosa a little trivial, a little too reminiscent of the eighteenth century novel form, although he does add a personal, more modern touch to the plot by interweaving the main storyline with excerpts from the radio plays written by the protagonist. If you like Dickensian fiction, this is a book for you; but if you demand more of a contemporary novelist than just to reproduce well-known formulas, you might be annoyed.
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Marcos i am afraid that you really should try conversation in the cathedral and the war of the end of the world. because yeah, aunt julia... is definitely a minor work when compared to those.


Philip Zyg Ok, I'll do it. Conversation in the Cathedral is his best-known book, isn't it?


Marcos Well, it's complicated. Across South America most people know him for The Time of the Hero and -to a lesser extent- Captain Pantoja and the Special Servisce (the former was his first novel, and a very impressive breakthrough if you asked me... i couldn't get enough of it during my teenage years).

Conversation in the Cathedral is usually seen as his most technically acomplished work, though; and even as his Magnum Opus to some (others might suggest The Green House or The War of the End of the World). At least it's a favorite of lit critics.

The story is a fascinating tour de force throughout Peruvian social strata during the 50s, showcasing how a nefarious political system ends up corrupting all of its members. That's clearly not the most uplifting read, but the novel is an exceptional take on the Latin American process.


Philip Zyg Thank you Marcos, I just hope my Spanish is strong enough to face the challenge (not that I had too many troubles with "Julia", but this one sounds less accessible).


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