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The Feast of the Goat

4.26  ·  Rating details ·  22,345 ratings  ·  1,912 reviews
Haunted all her life by feelings of terror and emptiness, forty-nine-year-old Urania Cabral returns to her native Dominican Republic - and finds herself reliving the events of 1961, when the capital was still called Trujillo City and one old man terrorized a nation of three million people. Rafael Trujillo, the depraved ailing dictator whom Dominicans call the Goat, ...more
Paperback, 475 pages
Published 2003 by Faber and Faber (first published 2000)
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Michael Finocchiaro
The Irish Independant did not exaggerate on the back cover when they say this book "makes for page-turning reading that entertains, educates, and horrifies in almost equal parts." The story of the Trujillo regime and the chaos surrounding his assassination is told by Urania, daughter of one of his intimates who was disgraced shortly before the fatal evening, the Generalissimo himself (with his failing prostate), and several of the conspirators as they wait on a lonely road for his Chevy to ...more
Ahmad Sharabiani
La Fiesta del Chivo = The Feast of The Goat, Mario Vargos Llosa
The Feast of the Goat (Spanish: La fiesta del chivo, 2000) is a novel by the Peruvian Nobel Prize in Literature laureate Mario Vargas Llosa. The book is set in the Dominican Republic and portrays the assassination of Dominican dictator Rafael Trujillo, and its aftermath, from two distinct standpoints a generation apart: during and immediately after the assassination itself, in May 1961; and thirty-five years later, in 1996.
Luís C.
Four men will end three decades of dictatorship of the Generalissimo of the Dominican Republic. Thirty-five years later, a woman came from America to call Augustín Cabral, his father, who became bedridden, a former associate to the Supreme Head.
Despite his physical decline, the one who will fall under the bullets of his former victims, Rafael Leónidas Trujillo, still keeps his entourage and the country. A country, which he and his family have a great deal of wealth, a country still living in
Jan 10, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
One. Flawless. Masterpiece!

As a reader you cannot ask for more. This dense and complex novel about the Trujillo Era in the D.R., like the best novels, from "Gone with the Wind" to "The Human Stain," explains not only the steps leading to a total devastation, but, braver still, its equally about the eventual aftermath. "The Feast of the Goat" is unputdownable, remarkable. A sturdy and sure classic. Read THIS!

Not much more can be said, without sounding as though I am somehow WORTHY of even
Render unto God what is God’s and unto Caesar what is Caesar’s.

But what if Caesar thought he was God? Well then, I guess he’d want it all.

And so goes the story of Rafael Trujillo, power hungry dictator of the Dominican Republic for a period of thirty years until his brutal assassination in 1961. ‘Feast of the Goat’ tells the story of Trujillo’s reign using a blend of fact and fiction, centered on the fateful day that would end an era. Varied narratives blend together seemlessly to give us a
Mr Llosa can write. I won't dispute that. But this is not a good novel for me for the following reasons. (1) The author has bitten off far more than he can chew in a mere 400 pages. The scope of the book is vast and too much feels rushed. He might have narrowed his scope, but alas he wants it all. Because of the enormous narrative breadth, this reader never got the level of satisfaction in the area of character development that he would have liked; there are so many characters and after a while ...more
Aug 21, 2017 rated it it was amazing
One thing I learned from The Feast of the Goat is that short memory is a universal characteristic of people of all times. Dictators turn from tyrants to saviors in no time and villains become heroes when the new political situation demands it. People simply accept the regimes like they accept the changes of the weather, with the only difference being the fact that, many times, they're under the illusion that they had the choice. Which I guess they had but not in the way they think they had it. ...more
Em Lost In Books
This book tells us the story of Rafael Trujillo, who ruled Dominican Republic for 30 years. It tells us about the rise and fall of the man was brutal, power hungry, cruel, and would stop at nothing to remain in power. He was assassinated in 1961.

Story is told by Rafael himself; Urania, daughter of very influential political figure, and the assassins. Author has merged all these PoV beautifully. With a right mix of reality and fiction we get to see the insecurities that Trujillo felt in his last
Jim Fonseca
Nov 24, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: peruvian-authors
A political and historical novel of Rafael Trujillo, dictator of the Dominican Republic from 1930-1961. This novel is a factually correct version of the events focused around his assassination in 1961 when Trujillo was 70 years old. We see the life of this brutal and sadistic man who also loved his country and was politically brilliant, hard-working and fastidious. He sent his cronies on overseas missions so he could visit their wives who could dare not refuse his attentions. Trujillo was ...more
This magnificent little book is page-turner. It is a plot driven work that analyzes the rule and the assassination (and the consequences thereof) of Rafael Trujillo, the dictator of the Dominican Republic from 1930-1961. The book has an unlikely hero (to reveal the name here would constitute a ‘spoiler’) and, obviously, an anti-hero (Trujillo himself).

But the book is more than mere plot, for the plot functions as a vehicle for the analysis of a host of highly individuated characters – characters
Mar 14, 2010 rated it really liked it
I find the expression “benevolent dictator” quite acerbic; paradoxical in fact. The exclusive benefactor of populous land; a leader who promises to the countrymen a utopia (Thomas Moore’s unicorn), stands on the world pedestal portraying duplicitous cultural patriotism while butchering every free voice that fails to meet his egotistical standards and motives. Questions stumble upon patriotic validities. Who do we call a true loyalist of a country? The leader who cogently assumes the role of a ...more
Nathan "N.R." Gaddis
I wasn't naive about Llossa going in. I had been informed that he wasn't of the innovative ilk. What I was naive about going in was my familiarity with what literary fiction actually looks like. Because, well, I don't read literary fiction. I read novels. But.

It is what it is. I've been creepy enough about it in my Status Updates. I was disappointed. I'd heard, too, it said that he writes in a plain style. But I found it not plain but artless**. Plain style requires artifice. 2666 is written in
Joselito Honestly and Brilliantly
Before I've read this one, the only thing I know about the Dominican Republic is that it is somewhere in South America and, of course, that it consistently has gorgeous representatives in international beauty contests. This well-written historical novel (my second of Llosa's: the first one--The War at the End of the World--likewise a historical novel) made me look it up in a world map and there I saw the small country in a big island it shares with Haiti and which is flanked by Cuba, Jamaica, ...more
Apr 29, 2019 rated it liked it
I had such high expectations for Vargas Llosa, but I'm left feeling underwhelmed. While I enjoyed both The Feast of the Goat and The War of the End of the World, neither was exceptional. His prose is competent, but not particularly inspired. In this novel, I felt the story was both overwritten and under-explored. His formula for introducing and describing characters felt repetitive and heavy-handed, and failed to create memorable, substantial characters. Many seemed almost generic, driven only ...more

They had forgotten the abuses, the murders, the corruption, the spying, the isolation, the fear: horror had become myth. "Everybody had jobs and there wasn't so much crime.

I keep remembering those summer nights, many years ago, when the air was heavy with the tension of passionate discussions about Ceausescu and the political changes after his death and the communism specter that continued to haunt our country. We were young and hopeful and we mockingly called all those regretting the past “
Holy fuck. There is no other way I can express my feelings towards this book. Holy fuck. This has been a sickening, painful, gruesome experience. As a reader, this is what I'm waiting for. As a person, I feel the need to throw up and hurl this book across the room, burn it, something, anything to destroy it, anything to kill the people in it and the ideas of it. "The Feast of the Goat" starts out in a tough manner, and ends on a repugnant note, so much so that I can't seem to be able to calm ...more
Nancy Oakes
A simply stellar novel of which the author states the following:

"It's a novel, not a history book, so I took many, many liberties. The only limitation I imposed on myself was that I was not going to invent anything that couldn't have happened within the framework of life in the Dominican Republic. I have respected the basic facts, but I have changed and deformed many things in order to make the story more persuasive -- and I have not exaggerated."

For a longer discussion, you can click through
May 13, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Brutal, raw, revealing, hauntingly beautiful...I read this book cover-to-cover in one 5 hour sitting. It unapologetically reveals the terror that Trujillo inflicted on the citizens of the Dominican Republic. The alternating narrators from chapter to chapter leant power to the testimony of Trujillo's victims. Urania's story was touching in its attention to detail as we followed her loss of innocence at Trujillo and her own father's (a trujillista)hands. It was horrific but I couldn't stop reading ...more
Shaimaa Ali
Mar 20, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
Llosa's Iconic Masterpiece!!

Writing about politics is difficult, you always suspect the writer's integrity, what was his intentions of analyzing this historical era, this or that situation! However there's a great similarity between corrupted regimes that push you towards understanding, making virtual comparisons between what we read about & what we have already seen in every corrupted country ( including Mubarak's regime in Egypt). if Llosa was intentionally writing about Egypt, it wouldn't
Aug 14, 2008 rated it liked it
Recommended to C. by: 1001
I will speak briefly of Mario Vargas Llosa's The Feast of the Goat. This book is about the dictator Rafael Trujillo who ruled the Dominican Republic for some thirty years. Several narratives run in parallel: that of Urania, who spent her early years in the Dominican Republic before fleeing to the USA after some grand betrayal from her father; that of the four or so people who are trying to assassinate Trujillo; and that of Trujillo himself. As the book progresses, the narratives branch out and ...more
Nov 03, 2018 rated it really liked it
This is the fourth book of 2018 i have picked up after reading articles posted on the Guardian website. I believe the article was top ten fiction books about dictators and because i love a good tale about oppressive regimes with nasty leaders it was an instant must have.

I’d heard the name ‘Trujillo’ before but wasn’t clued up on his status in the history books. For the uninitiated Rafael Trujillo was the leader of the Dominican Republic between 1930 to 1961, when he was assassinated. His most
Through Vargas Llosa's fictional account, we follow three perspectives of the horrendous 31-year tyranny in the Dominican Republic of Rafael Trujillo -- Urania, a survivor or Trujillo's sexual rapaciousness, a group of unfocused and largely dysfunctional but ultimately successful assassins, and Trujillo himself, seen through his own glorified eyes. We also see the the story through three distinct places in time -- the prime decade of Trujillo power and influence during the 1950's, the day of his ...more
Conor Ahern
Good lord was this good. Another "rehab an author whose first exposure underwhelmed me" book for my Cuba sojourn. I had read The War of the End of the World and although my my words were more measured at the time, thinking back on the book I recall only frustration and annoyance.

I picked this up because it is one of the few books in my room that I own and have not read, the rest being library books, so I didn't worry about losing or having to jettison it in Cuba. Plus, it's a semi-faithful
Parthiban Sekar
Feb 04, 2016 marked it as to-read
The Feast of the Goat will stand out as the great emblematic novel of Latin America's twentieth century and removes One Hundred Years of Solitude of that title. (Times Literary Supplement)... :/ (less)
Tanuj Solanki
In Innaritu's movies, time moves forward, backward, it expands, it contracts. Time runs at different paces in various narratives, all of which emanate from or conclude in one grand event, an event which usually falls somewhere in the middle of the movie. An example is the car accident in the movie 'Amores Perros', where three different stories collide and then strike away in new directions, with different speeds. New narratives are floated, at times, to fill the logical holes in "the story". ...more
Hossein Sharifi
This sad book is set in the Dominican Republic and portrays the assassination of Dominican dictator Rafael Trujillo. The novel follows three interwoven storylines. The first concerns a woman, Urania Cabral, who is back in the Dominican Republic, after a long absence, to visit her ailing father; she ends up recalling incidents from her youth and recounting a long-held secret to her aunt and cousins. The second story line focuses on the last day in Trujillo's life from the moment he wakes up ...more
Diane S ☔
Mar 31, 2014 rated it really liked it
Interesting structure to this book, it deals with the last days of the dictator, his assassination and the attempts to pull the country together after he has been killed. It also takes the plot twenty-nine years after the assassination when the daughter of the leader of the senate under Trujillo, comes home after not speaking to her family in the intervening years. I felt the structure, the thoughts of a seventy year old dictator whose body is failing, the thoughts of the assassins, and the ...more
Dec 23, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Given the volatile geopolitical climate in South America, it is not surprising that a lot of writers from there have written about power and it's abuse. Losa's 'The Feast of the Goat' is one of the most unforgettable novels about total power. It's part fiction, based on the reign of 'Rafael Trujillo', dictator of Dominica and recounts the ordeals faced by the people, the abuse of power by Trujillo and his colleagues, an assassination attempt on his life and it's aftermath. Caught in the midst of ...more
Apr 02, 2011 rated it really liked it
A powerful and scary novel about a lesser known dictator, Rafael Tujillo (and his murderous family) of the Dominican Republic, who ruled the tiny nation of three million luckless souls for 31 years, convincing me that all dictators are of a type: charismatic, self-absorbed, delusional, ruthless and vicious, especially when their sexual prowess starts to flag.

Told from multiple viewpoints, the story focuses on the day of Trujillo’s assassination, on the bloody aftermath that follows, and on the
I didn't exactly enjoy reading this book. I am not into enjoying reading about the suffering of others, the total subjugation of a nation, the corruption of their souls and the torture of their bodies. I learned many things from this book that I wasn't aware of, some history of the Dominican Republic and what is known as the Trujillo era. So while I didn't "enjoy" the book, it was hard to put down, I had to continue, to keep reading and I'm glad that I did. This book is not light reading, but ...more
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Mario Vargas Llosa, born in Peru in 1936, is the author of some of the most significant writing to come out of South America in the past fifty years. His novels include The Green House, about a brothel in a Peruvian town that brings together the innocent and the corrupt; The Feast of the Goat, a vivid re-creation of the Dominican Republic during the final days of General Rafael Trujillo’s ...more
“هكذا هي السياسة ،إنها شق الطريق بين الجثث” 13 likes
“In this country, in one way or another, everyone had bean, was, or would be part of the regime. "The worst thing that can happen to a Dominican is to be intelligent or competent," he had once heard Agustín Cabral say ...and the words had been etched in his mind: "Because sooner or later Trujillo will call upon him to serve the regime, or his person, and when he calls, one is not permitted to say no." [Agustín Cabral] was proof of this truth....As Estrella Sadhalá always said, the Goat had taken from people the sacred attribute given to them by God: their free will.” 9 likes
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