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Don Rigoberto – a rather grey insurance executive by day, a dedicated pornographer and sexual enthusiast by night – misses Lucrecia, his estranged second wife. He desperately compensates for her absence by filling his notebooks with a steamy mix of memory and sexual fantasy. Husband and wife have been separated for a year because of a sexual encounter between Rigoberto’s pre-pubescent son Alfonso and his stepmother. Alfonso is a strange fey creature of angelic appearance and apparently diabolical impulses – more seducer than seduced despite his age. He visits Lucrecia’s house without his father’s knowledge and insists that he wants his parents to make up, having apparently forgotten the incident that caused the original break-up. Meanwhile, Rigoberto and Lucrecia are each receiving highly erotic letters which each believe to have been sent by the other but may well have been written by Alfonso. Add to all this the notebooks at the core of the novel and the reader is drawn into Don Rigoberto’s own confusion between imagination and physical reality. The Notebooks of Don Rigoberto is a funny, sexy, disquieting and very compelling novel that is one of Vargas Llosa’s finest works.
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