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Peru > A World for Julius. Alfredo Bryce Echenique

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message 1: by Betty (last edited Feb 01, 2011 07:55AM) (new)

Betty (olderthan18) | 3660 comments Un Mundo Para Julius: -- A World for Julius: A Novel) -- by Alfredo Bryce Echenique

*Main characters: Julius, ages five to eleven; various family and household members

*Setting: Lima, Peru; 1950s or 60s (?)


message 2: by Betty (new)

Betty (olderthan18) | 3660 comments The story begins with Julius, a boy almost six years old, who lives in the mansion of his wealthy Peruvian family with his older brothers and sister, mother, and many servants. What goes on in their lives makes up the narrative.


message 3: by Betty (new)

Betty (olderthan18) | 3660 comments The book was initially difficult to get into the flow, but that was briefly and is now hard to put down because there are so many interesting scenes which also develops the characters. Glad I'm reading it.


message 4: by Marieke (new)

Marieke | 155 comments i still didn't start! but good to know that once it gets going, it's hard to put down. :D


message 5: by Betty (last edited Jan 27, 2011 08:41PM) (new)

Betty (olderthan18) | 3660 comments Marieke wrote: "i still didn't start! but good to know that once it gets going, it's hard to put down. :D"

Guess what?...The narrator who I'd though was third person, suddenly comes up with at least an "I". Remind you of Swell by Ioanna Karystiani? A lot of playbacks to earlier events in Julius' mother's life in the 1930s as well as identical names. Yet, Alfredo Bryce Echenique keeps the main storyline thread intact. Still enjoying the story, which is building up to something, I think.


message 6: by Betty (new)

Betty (olderthan18) | 3660 comments I've read about seventy-five per cent, the last section ranging between deeply moving and downright hilarious. I can see how a reader can become a fan of this author.


message 7: by Marieke (new)

Marieke | 155 comments Asmah wrote: "I've read about seventy-five per cent, the last section ranging between deeply moving and downright hilarious. I can see how a reader can become a fan of this author."

wow, i'm really excited to read it! but i think i'm going to get started on Brazil first...i've fallen behind on a lot of my reading!


message 8: by Betty (last edited Jan 31, 2011 12:53PM) (new)

Betty (olderthan18) | 3660 comments I'm reading the 1992 edition with the Translator's Preface at the beginning. I discovered that the 2004 edition in addition to the Preface includes a Foreword by Julio Ortega, available for reading in the Google preview.


message 9: by Marieke (new)

Marieke | 155 comments interesting. i'm not sure which one i have. I'll check at home tonight.


message 10: by Betty (new)

Betty (olderthan18) | 3660 comments Just winding up this kaleidoscopic novel, where so many scenes change interestingly. Then, I'll have to pick up where I'd left off in BRAZIL. With so much reading, I extended the discussion for A WORLD FOR JULIUS to the end of February. So much energy in musical beat, dancing, and release occurs in the end of that story. A good choice for Peru, I must say.


message 11: by Marieke (new)

Marieke | 155 comments i finally started this. i'm really enjoying it. i like the tone of the omniscient narrator, or whatever the technique is that is being used. i'm finding gently humorous. and the descriptions of the children and their experiences are sweet. but i'm starting to get anxious for Julius to be older than seven.


message 12: by Betty (last edited Feb 19, 2011 10:12PM) (new)

Betty (olderthan18) | 3660 comments The story takes Julius up to eleven. As he gets older, there will be new experiences, settings, and complications for him, his siblings, his parents, and the family's friends. There will also be renewed energy in Alfredo Bryce's style, distinctive from the earlier, mellower one that introduced Julius and his family, to whom it's tempting to apply Leo Tolstoy's famous, over-used, first sentence in Anna Karenina: "All happy families resemble one another, but each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way." The incomprehensible unhappiness from adversities in their privileged lives lingers below the surface of their emotions as they appear unruffled, maintain a social schedule, and look at the bright side.


message 13: by Marieke (new)

Marieke | 155 comments i made a huge mistake with my reading obligations! i thought a book i have was due on feb 28, but it's due march 28! so i have set it aside to finish Julius and get to Brazil. i am so behind but i'm so excited about the other books i hope it's okay that i'm lagging!

i noticed a peculiar thing in Julius today...i think i found the instance you were talking about in message 5, Asmah:
Guess what?...The narrator who I'd though was third person, suddenly comes up with at least an "I".

very strange! the narrator was describing a scene and then referred to himself as "me," and then returned to being a third-person entity...what does it mean? does this get resolved? is it a translation mistake of some sort? generally i do not feel like i'm reading a translation at all. i love the humor. everything is so subtle.


message 14: by Betty (last edited Mar 08, 2011 05:16PM) (new)

Betty (olderthan18) | 3660 comments I agree, Marieke. Not only does the story introduce a reader to Lima, Peru, but the storyteller(s) narrates it so the reader enjoys the whole experience of it, even the quirks of 'modernist literature'. Its publication in 1970 coincides with The Latin American Boom, an era of increased international interest in literature by South American writers. Alfred A Knopf the publisher is owed credit for translating these authors, especially in Brazil, from the 1960s.

I'm still reading Brazil, but it's the kind of book you keep reading until the next distraction, and turn to again afterward.


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