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The Bad Girl

4.08  ·  Rating details ·  26,712 ratings  ·  2,063 reviews
Ricardo Somocurcio is in love with a bad girl. He loves her as a teenager known as 'Lily' in Llama in 1950, when she arrives one summer out of the blue, claiming to be from Chile but vanishing the moment her claim is exposed as fiction. He loves her next in Paris, where she appears as the enchanting 'Comrade Arlette', an activist en route to Cuba, and becomes his lover, ...more
Hardcover, 276 pages
Published October 2nd 2007 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux (first published May 2006)
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Average rating 4.08  · 
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 ·  26,712 ratings  ·  2,063 reviews


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Michael Finocchiaro
Where can I even start? This book was so excellent, I nearly cried - twice! Seriously! I mean, I did my research: I reread Madame Bovary and then MVL's excellent critique in The Perpetual Orgy before his homage to Flaubert, The Bad Girl. But even this did not prepare me for the depth of emotion and sentiment expressed in this MVL masterpiece. Perhaps it is because the narrator Ricardo, like me, is a Parisian ex-pat, I was enamored with his descriptions of life here (perfectly and clinically ...more
Ahmad Sharabiani
Travesuras de la Niña Mala = Tours et détours de la Vilaine Fille = The Bad Girl, Mario Vargas Llosa

Characters: Ricardo Somocurcio, La niña mala, Paúl, Juan Barreto, Los Gravoski

The Bad Girl, originally published in 2006 in Spanish as Travesuras de la niña mala, is a novel by Peruvian author Mario Vargas Llosa, who won the Nobel Prize in Literature in 2010. Journalist Kathryn Harrison approvingly argues that the book is a rewrite (rather than simply a recycling) of the French realist Gustave
...more
Lisa
How do you write a review of a book by an undoubtedly very talented writer that you found - mediocre?

I am not even going to try.

It was my fourth novel by Mario Vargas Llosa, and I will happily admit that he is a great storyteller. Only I found the story he told here about a "bad girl" to be quite pointless, a male fantasy told a thousand times already. As a study of sexual desire, I found it shallow and one-sided, and focused too much on superficial stimulation - and I found myself thinking
...more
Seth
This is the third and most fascinating book I have read by Mario Vargas Llosa. The others were "War of the End of the World" and "Death in the Andes." After reading this relatively modest sample of this literary giants oeuvre, I am already certain that he deserved the Nobel Prize for Literature far more than many other recipients.

Vargas Llosa is noteworthy not just as a prolific author but also for his political odyssey. Incidentally, "The Bad Girl" includes some trenchant insights into
...more
Fabian
Apr 15, 2012 rated it liked it
Aahlmost second-rate. How many novels are better than this, one of MVLs most recent? ah Many. All the knowledge of literary techniques and an impressive mastery of plot, character, mood, etc. does nothing for Mr. Vargas Llosa here.

The story is full of clichés (though it IS probably his most accessible) and the main character is a dullard. The plot is one weve heard before: girl drags boy along, in this case for an entire half-century, teasing him and lying, and basically treating him like shit.
...more
Niledaughter
Oct 10, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Niledaughter by: Mashael
I kept struggling few days to be able to write a review about this disturbing and enjoyable novel , it was my first read for Llosa and it will not be the last :)
the novel is haunting /page turner whether you agree with its thoughts or not. Some critics linked this novel strongly to Llosas obsession with Madame Bovary as we briefly discussed starting from post 61 , but this is not what I am going to discuss in here ; There are other several items to talk about reviewing this novel :

*For the main
...more
Vit Babenco
Apr 16, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The Bad Girl is a lifelong love story - the tale of meetings and partings and a sad tale of corruption and deterioration.
Mario Vargas Llosa said once: "Eroticism has its own moral justification because it says that pleasure is enough for me; it is a statement of the individual's sovereignty."
And The Bad Girl is a kind of illustration to this idea.
Jackson Burnett
How do you have a love story without passion? How do you have a tale of obsession without palpable madness?

Mario Vargas Llosa always writes thoughtful novels, but the fiction of The Bad Girl needs visceral emotion. This novel disappoints in its absence.

Young Peruvian Ricardo Somocurcio falls in love with the mysterious Chilean girl Lily. Is she really Chilean? Who is she? The sentiment is not returned. She disappears. Ricardo grows into adulthood and moves to Paris where he works as a
...more
Alex
Sep 12, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: bad girls and good boys
Shelves: hot-sex, 2017, farts
You ever play kick the can when you were a kid? The way we used to play it, there was home base, and you would go running out to try to kick the can over, and the can is guarded, and if you made it back to home you couldn't get tagged.

It was all very metaphorical, obviously. The can is husbands. The guards are life. Home base is Ricardo, Ricardino, the little pissant narrator of this book. And you are a bad girl.

The bad girl captivates Ricardo when they're teenagers in Miraflores, Peru, and
...more
Mary Ann Munoz
Sep 16, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: people who enjoy romance books
The main character, Ricardo has always been in love with the "bad girl"; she is his obsession. His feelings for the bad girl have taken him across the world and back only to have his heart broken over and over again. He manages to overcome his feelings for sometime but always returns with an open heart.

The theme of my book is that you cannot buy happiness, no matter how much money or power your lover has, if you do not truly care for the person- you will not be happy.

When I think about the
...more
Tony
Dec 12, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: peruvian
In the hands of a lesser writer, this novel of obsessive love would be cheesey and unbelievable. But Vargas Llosa is a masterful storyteller. The story is told in the first person. The Bad Girl, who our narrator meets as a teen, returns again and again in his life, each time to capture his soul before shattering him with a virulent escape. This is a wonderful book, examining language, culture and psychology through the mind of a kind, intelligent man, stripped defenseless by love, or something ...more
Simon Hollway
Oct 17, 2016 rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2016
Latin lovers are by definition intense, spontaneous, operatic and, frustratingly, erratic. And so it was that Bolano seduced me first with Savage Detectives, disappointed me with most of his half-baked early offerings and then, the voluptuous promise of 2666, consummately failed to deliver on its swarthy, big-hipped swagger. Devastating.

Vargas Llosa was the obvious rebound date and he came on strong. Conversation in the Cathedral, War of the End of the World, The Feast of the Goat -
...more
Sara
Jan 20, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I became completely mesmerized by this book of obsessive love. The bad girl is a Peruvian girl the narrator knew when he was a boy, and she keeps coming in and out of his life in different identities. The more cruel she is to him, the more he loves her. But this intelligent, articulate, sensitive man is powerless to his obsession. He tries repeatedly to free himself from her spell, but he can't. He can't explain her power over him. I find that fascinating, haunting, and sad. She became the ...more
Sheri
Oct 21, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own
Im going to have to say that I liked this book. The good boy upset me quit a bit in this book for putting up with so much shit from the bad girl but I still enjoyed it very much.
Besides being a love story, this is also a story about identity and love for your countryThe author struggles with his memories/feelings from his childhood in Peru and his life in Europe. Mario Vargas Llosa has a way with words. I really liked his storytelling. He describes places and scenes in a way that makes you
...more
Philippe Malzieu
Vargas LLosa built a singular work for a South American writer. He was not tempted by Marxist théory in the Seventies like Garcia Marquez and Jorge Amado for exemple. In fact he only tells story. But in them, there is all exhubérance color odor and sensuality of south America. More, he has a sense of humour. There is jubilation to read Vargas LLosa.
It's my preferred. This is a history about painful love. Man loves the unpleasant girl who does not return it to him. There is something of pathetic
...more
brian
Sep 29, 2007 rated it it was ok
well, i made it to page 100 and, while not bad, it just didn't hold my interest. i expect more from vargas llosa. life's too short. gonna drop it and pick up Conversations in the Cathedral.
Elham
Mar 22, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: peru
The Bad Girl is like a biography, a story of a life; life of Ricardo Somocurcio, a man from Peru who in his life his ultimate goal was to live in Paris. He did. He worked as a translator in UNESCO and lived in an apartment in Joseph Granier Street. He wasnt interested in politics that much to join one of those Communist parties nor was he much interested in those Hippie cults fashionable in 60s. In fact he always kept his safety distance with everything. Except for love. He is badly in love with ...more
Linda Abhors the New GR Design
My impression hasnt changed since the first reading, so Ive just skimmed back over the last two hundred pages, and only because my book club chose this one. Theres a bit of Mme Bovary (the obsessive love, and the woman who marries for fortune) and a bit of LEducation Sentimentale (the name Arnoux, for example, being saved financially by the death of a rich aunt/uncle, and running into childhood friends, who are his means to connecting with her in the various locations). But those similarities ...more
David
May 10, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
What a book! The bad girl was real a bad girl who fled her poor life in Peru on the back of poor Ricardo, who loved her over 40 years. Truly a great love story with so many twists and turns that made me mad and then happy to see things turn out (but I won't spoil the plot) and then turn again. Vargas Llosa avoided using the cheap sentimental words that the bad girl despised in this love story but when love appeared (and one thought the cheap sentimental words would appear) things changed again.

...more
Kaycie Hall
Mar 18, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I adore this as a love story----maybe I related to it a little bit. You both hate the bad girl, and you kind of want to be her, even the sad parts of her existence.

The narrator is also truly compelling (not as much of a sap as you'd expect given his disaster of a love story). Vargas-Llosa also does a great job of quietly chronicling the cultural changes passing through the world as the characters age.

I can't speak for Vargas-Llosa's words as I can't read or speak a bit of Spanish, but I'm sure
...more
Priya Rainelle
Jan 31, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is book is a sensational love story. I was so invested in it that I found myself literally feeling the emotional turmoil of the characters. The novel centers around a simple, wholesome mans ceaseless love for an an unattainable, fleeting bad girl who lives life so fully that its devastating. I was also wrecked by the end, but also impressed by Mario Vargas Llosas ability to weave beautifully articulated storytelling, history, and thoughtful insight into the story. ...more
Alexandra Turney
So unbelievably misogynistic. If this had been a Victorian novel, I'd still have found it difficult to accept the misogyny, but as this was published in 2006, there really are no excuses...

I found it gripping (despite the fact that the plot is completely predictable) - it's entertaining, at least, despite all its flaws. The chapter set in London was interesting, and I liked some of the minor characters. But the "good boy" and "bad girl", the main characters, are so frustrating and difficult to
...more
Roxana Chirilă
When I was in high school, I read Llosa's "The War of the End of the World", which I simply loved (although I don't know whether I'd still love it now; my tastes have changed since then). So, when a friend offered me "The Bad Girl" in 2009, I was quite happy to read more by the same author - but I was so disappointed, nearly 10 years after, I'm still turning away from any book that has Llosa's name on the cover.

"The Bad Girl" is a book about this pixie of a woman. She's wonderful. She's superb.
...more
J.I.
The book begins innocently enough. It is the childhood of the narrator and he falls in love, hard, with Lilly, a Chilean girl who is beautiful and vivacious, but while they are always together and share some romantic exchanges, she refuses his attempts for her to be going stead with him.

So begins a series of chapters, each one separated by some time (sometimes decades, sometimes months) in which the Chilean girl of his youth drifts in and out of his life. He becomes the good boy and she the bad
...more
Lesley
Nov 23, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Loved it. This is a beautifully written story of obsessive love and all the heartbreak it MUST provide. This is no ordinary, passing obsession. It literally lasts a lifetime and never fails to produce the self-obliterating humiliation and the predictable surprise of increasingly devastating abandonment that leaves our protagonist ever craving for more. He cannot refuse the bad girl when she returns repeatedly thoughout his long life. She is cruel, selfish, criminal and conniving. She is ...more
Abhinav
"What cheap, sentimental things you say, good boy!"

There are no words to describe the profound sadness I feel now that I have reached the end of what is arguably the most incredible, hopelessly romantic tale I've had the pleasure of reading.

"The Bad Girl" will conquer your heart over and over again. Highly recommended.
Kobe Bryant
Sep 13, 2017 rated it really liked it
That's a hell of a story
Mirko
Mar 19, 2017 rated it it was amazing
A wholelife story of a relationship with a free-spirited woman who doesn't get safisfied with a everyday
mediocre life. Remarkable
Shane
Mar 31, 2016 rated it really liked it
Bad Girl meets Good Boy usually ends with disastrous consequences for both. And this tale of entrapment, obsession and betrayal is indeed a tortuous one for both parties.

Ricardo is the good boy from the affluent Miraflores neigbourhood of Lima who meets Lily, the Chilean girl, who has just arrived in Peru. He is fifteen and she thirteen. He is immediately smitten by her fragile but aloof beauty. He dreams about living his life in Paris, while she wants to be an airline stewardess or travel agent
...more
Sandra Grauschopf
I feel like I "should" give this novel four stars, but I can't honestly said that I did more than "liked it" so I'm sticking with three.

The novel covers a decades-long relationship between Ricardo, a "good boy" and his love, a "bad girl."

Ricardo is an absolute milquetoast of a character. His lifelong dream is a simple one -- to live in Paris -- and he achieves that dream as a young man. He then continues to muddle about in life, doing everything he can to have as little character as possible.

...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 Trujillos insidious ...more

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