brian '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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Oct 07, 10





that's what happens when the world's most overrated living author (GGM) gets punched in the face by a far superior one (MVL). the fight occurred in a mexican moviehouse in 1976 and neither of 'em have ever discussed said incident. whatever went down (a woman? politics?), i wish i was there to give the chubby bastard a kick in the ribs when he was on the ground.

the war of the end of the world deserves the place in the pantheon occupied by marquez's silly epics. here we have a 20th century history of the peloponnesian war, a sprawling messy fuckoff of a book featuring a most intriguing and elusive lead character: 'war' -- a dumbfuck spawned by a cocktail of human fanaticism jingoism and idiocy. forget 100 yrs of solitude and love in the time of cholera. read vargas llosa's war of the end of the world and mutis's the adventures and misadventures of maqroll.

and vargas llosa himself? a marxist castro-supporter turned right-leaning peruvian presidential candidate? love it. his opponents read sex/violence passages from his novels over peruvian radio in an effort to scare the shit outta voters. it worked. a japanese guy became president of peru.

MVL has long held the top spot on my 'people i'd like to sit with in an open-air bar drinking tequila while arguing books & politics until the sun comes up' list. gotta make this happen.

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Comments (showing 1-50 of 56) (56 new)


message 1: by [deleted user] (last edited Dec 10, 2009 10:51AM) (new)

*sigh*

Okay. So much to deal with here...

1. Might never makes right. Unless John Mayer is at the butt-end of a Kowalski knuckle sandwich.

2. I think you posted that GMM picture somewhere else before. Senile bastard.

3. Although GMM is obscenely overrated and still the darling of college lit professors with boners for mystical-magical-squalorous worldly otherness, Love in the Time of Cholera isn't that bad. It's certainly better than the first thirty pages of Under the Volcano by Malcolm Lowry. Talk about a slog.

4. Is a Japanese man really president of Peru or do you make this crap up as you go along? (And if so, good for Peru! The Japanese can run everything better anyway.)

5. When will the Hispanic fetishism end? You are a JEW. A blonde Jew. From (no doubt) a reasonably affluent home in Long Island. You're as gringo as they come. You can listen to Morrissey; you can drink Mezcal until you're foaming at the mouth; you can live in Southern California; you can even carry a switchblade and deal yayo (YAYO. Happy? Although the subtitlist of Scarface begs to differ), but you'll never be anything but a bookish, pencil-necked, privileged money-grubbing jewboy with a penchant for a little liberal white ethnic adventurism.

Bring it on, cutie!


message 2: by brian (last edited Dec 10, 2009 11:25AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

brian   a bookish, pencil-necked, privileged money-grubbing jewboy with a penchant for a little liberal white ethnic adventurism

single best description of myself ever.
EVER.


message 3: by Bram (last edited Dec 10, 2009 11:04AM) (new) - added it

Bram Sold me, bri. Plus that's a great book cover.

So Under the Volcano is not that great? I'm running out of cult 20th century white man books to get excited about and then disappointed about.




message 4: by [deleted user] (last edited Dec 10, 2009 11:05AM) (new)

So Under the Volcano is not that great?

Don't listen to his response to this question. He's gonna start sputtering, shaking, and typing in all caps. It won't be pretty.

I don't think I've ever given up on a book so quickly before. I could only get through about seven pages in a sitting.


message 5: by Weinz (new)

Weinz oh I'm giddy for what follows.


brian   david's a twerp.
under the volcano is totally amazing.


message 7: by Bram (new) - added it

Bram I guess I'll have to try it in 2010.


message 8: by brian (last edited Dec 10, 2009 11:19AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

brian   davey-boy:

here's the wikipedia entry on fujimori, the japanese former president of peru:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alberto_...

here's a pic of a fujimori/vargas llosa embrace.
uncomfortable, huh?




message 9: by Bram (last edited Dec 10, 2009 11:23AM) (new) - added it

Bram Should I feel bad (along with David) for being completely unaware that Peru (Peru!) had a Japanese president?

Stranger than fiction.


brian   "On April 7, 2009, Fujimori was convicted of human rights violations and sentenced to 25 years in prison for his role in killings and kidnappings by the Grupo Colina death squad during his government's battle against leftist guerrillas in the 1990s. The verdict delivered by a three-judge panel marked the first time that an elected head of state has been extradited back to his home country, tried, and convicted of human rights violations. Fujimori was specifically found guilty of murder, bodily harm, and two cases of kidnapping."


message 11: by [deleted user] (last edited Dec 10, 2009 11:27AM) (new)

Hell no, Bram. You shouldn't feel bad. Those people down there in those cute little countries don't really matter.

It's like they don't even exist. Just like Africa.

They're just there to give Bono something to do with his free time.


message 12: by [deleted user] (new)

In other words, Fujimori was 'found guilty' of effectiveness.

TomAYto, tomAHto.


message 13: by D. (new)

D. Pow Great review, Brian. Gracefully written and astute in its judgements.

there is a huge amount of Chinese in Peru too. weird. One of my favorite restuarants ever was a peruvian-Chinese place that used to be in Orange, CA. Best fried rice ever.



message 14: by Bram (last edited Dec 10, 2009 12:45PM) (new) - added it

Bram Haha, I hope that line keeps popping up in review threads. You can sign it, lowercase, in the lower left corner:

donald


message 15: by [deleted user] (new)

I just want to point out that 'astute in its judgements' is hella redundant. But I'm still gonna grab the sam-hill-heck outta them astute man-buns!


message 16: by Bram (new) - added it

Bram hella? You really have been spending some time in California.


message 17: by brian (last edited Dec 10, 2009 12:55PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

brian   'hella' is a california thing?
in 8 1/2 yrs i've never heard that said here.


and good move putting this in your queue, bram.


message 18: by Bram (new) - added it

Bram I think it's a NorCal thing--my Bay Area college roommate included it in every other sentence.


message 19: by [deleted user] (last edited Dec 10, 2009 12:58PM) (new)

Yeah. I think 'hella' is just a white suburban teenager trying to be all street. (And that was maybe ten years ago. Ask Gwen Stefani about it. But she is from Anaheim.)


message 20: by Weinz (new)

Weinz Southern/Central Cal girl here. It is not a Cal thing. But in my college years I unfortunately heard the use of "hecka". Yes, really.


message 21: by Bram (new) - added it

Bram Well, the hecka authoritative urban dictionary backs up my NorCal hypothesis: http://www.urbandictionary.com/define...



message 22: by Kimley (new)

Kimley Another SoCal girl here who's never said "hella" or knew anyone who said "hella" until this thread!


message 23: by Weinz (new)

Weinz SoCal girls are hella cool.


message 24: by Jen (new)

Jen David wrote: "*sigh*

Okay. So much to deal with here...

1. Might never makes right. Unless John Mayer is at the butt-end of a Kowalski knuckle sandwich.

2. I think you posted that GMM picture somewhere..."


But it is. It really is that bad. Die already, lovers.


message 25: by Stephen (new)

Stephen Hella review.


message 26: by Bram (new) - added it

Bram I think it's an adverb.


message 27: by Stephen (new)

Stephen That was one hella review, Brian.


message 28: by karen (new)

karen i'm going to break my three-strike rule with llosa. i own this one and "conversation in the cathedral", so i might as well...


message 29: by David (new)

David I wish I could vote for comment no. 1.


message 30: by Bram (new) - added it

Bram I wish I could vote for comments 25-27.


message 31: by brian (last edited Oct 07, 2010 07:53AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

brian   that's some good shit from back in the 'golden age of goodreads' -- heh heh.

my favorite comment, however, is #13. is that after donald knew how much we loved his favorite catchphrase? or was that said in relative sincerity? (and i qualify with 'relative' as the phrase - and its overuse - just reeks of bullshit) - i suspect that was one of the real ones. a good find.


message 32: by David (new)

David No, Donald knew. See Bram's post #14. He refers to it as a catchphrase.


message 33: by David (new)

David Yeah, I love when Stephen says, 'Hella review.'

Clueless. Completely clueless...


brian   yeah, donnie knew.
and bram also made a gary reference.
nice.

and leave poor stephen alone.
i have absolutely no idea how to use 'hella' either.


message 35: by A.J. (new) - rated it 4 stars

A.J. Howard Vargas Llosa has been on my to read list for a while and todays news prompted me to put him on top of my list.Although i was rooting for an american (preferably Roth or McCarthy) I was pumped to see that the nobel went to someone i've heard of instead of some aggrieved minority or obscure European. Would you recommend this or "Feast of the Goat" as a starting point?

BTW, apparently Gabriel Garcia Marquez tweeted(!)"cuentas iguales" which, according to the NYT is equivalent to now we're even.


brian   hmmm... it depends what you're in the mood for, a.j.

war is a big sprawling messy epic. and is probably his masterpiece (although i haven't yet read conversation in the cathedral which is supposed to be fantastic), but it's long and chaotic and dense. feast of the goat is more contained, but a fucking terrific read and the best portrait of a repressive dictatorship i've ever read. another consideration is death in the andes -- a shorter, more fabelesque novel which might not rise to the heights of the latter two but is also a must read.

i just pulled down my copies of conversation in the cathedral and the real life of alejandro mayta, will report back on 'em in a few weeks.

GGM tweeted?!?!? amazing.


message 37: by Marc (last edited Oct 07, 2010 02:34PM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Marc Kozak GGM's people at his foundation say that Twitter account doesn't belong to GGM. Knowledge is power. Pay it forward.


message 38: by David (last edited Oct 07, 2010 12:51PM) (new)

David I can't believe Bram deleted his post about Stephen. Wisp, you're a pussy! Yup, I called you out!

'Hella' is an adverb, gottgeek, roughly equivalent to 'very.'


message 39: by Ademption (new) - added it

Ademption When I saw that Llosa received the Nobel on the newscrawl this morning, I knew Brian would be floating a Llosa review. Mostly because Brian's the one person I've heard of who actually read and then championed the guy, instead of simply the latter. Unfortunately, the hollow touting will increase with the Nobel award. But one can hope it'll also be read more. No longer will his works be a favorite for remaindered bookshops. For a season, anyway.


brian   1. thanks evan. i really do love your very consistent cynicism.

2. bram's not a pussy; he's a nice guy.

3. david is evil.

4. thanks, marc. it sounded too much like bullshit to be real.


message 41: by David (last edited Oct 07, 2010 01:04PM) (new)

David I hate when you get maternal with S. and G. It belies your true horrible nature.


message 42: by A.J. (new) - rated it 4 stars

A.J. Howard Thanks for the advice, I went with Feast of the Goat, mostly because it was what the library had and I lost money on the Colts and Bears game on Sunday and couldn't justify a purchase. I got that GGM twitter anecdote from the NYT. Paper of record my ass.

I always thought that hella was colloquial for the proper word "helluva," which would suggest you could use it as an adjective, as in "that was a helluva day." I've only heard it used as an adverb though.


message 43: by Ademption (new) - added it

Ademption brian wrote: "1. thanks evan. i really do love your very consistent cynicism.

Would it be out of character for me to take that as a compliment? I'm flattered.

Eh, flat pragmatism is what I aim for. What can I say? I'm an overachiever.


Marcos you should upload the original pic once again, man. this was a fantastic take on an incredible novel.


Corey Sitar You are an idiot. As great as Llosa is, to call GGM overrated is a clear indication of your low intelligence.


message 47: by Traveller (last edited Jun 08, 2012 03:44AM) (new) - added it

Traveller Ugh, no.. is there a way to "dislike" a review? Now I'm going to have to read this damn book to see how watertight your claims against my darling GGM are. > :(

..and I'll not thank ye fer that sir, since I already have too much too read. But you have thrown down teh(sic) gauntlet! ..and a stinky offensive gauntlet it is too..

Wait, maybe I should just ignore this review. Maybe the best revenge would be not to read this book. Ugh.

Boo hiss *throws rotten tomatoes*


message 48: by Esteban (new) - added it

Esteban del Mal 1) This book is boring the shit out of me.

2) I knew about that Japanese-Peruvian guy before it was cool.


brian   ha! i just saw the last 2 comments.
love you guys.
(not as much as the guy in comment #46. obviously.)


message 50: by Deborah (new)

Deborah You said, "MVL has long held the top spot on my 'people i'd like to sit with in an open-air bar drinking tequila while arguing books & politics until the sun comes up' list. gotta make this happen."

I couldn't help but be reminded of the time when Gabriel Garcia Marquez said to me,"MVL has long held the top spot on my 'people I'd like to sit with in a movie theater drinking tequila while arguing books & politics until the sun comes up' list. gotta make this happen." But you know how that ended.


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