From Conversation in The Cathedral to Aunt Julia and the Scriptwriter, from The War of the End of the World and The Real Life of Alejandro Mayta to his more recent novel, The Storyteller, Vargas Llosa’s fiction has won great critical acclaim in Latin America and throughout the world, leading to his nomination for the Nobel Prize.
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In this book, Vargas Llosa invites readers to enter into his confidence as he unravels six of his own novels and two other works of fundamental importance to him. Vargas Llosa’s native Peru, the setting and character of much of his fiction, is at the centre of his piece on “The Chronicles of the Birth of Peru” – the powerful account of the discovery and conquest of Peru by the Spaniards – which Vargas Llosa describes as “novels disguised as history”. In other chapters, Vargas Llosa tells how his method of writing has evolved, discusses his attraction to Sartre’s work and his days at military school, describes what it was like at nine to see the ocean for the first time, and explains the process of changing the dead language of “soap operas” (as in his own “Aunt Julia and the Scriptwriter”) into the living language of serious art. He also relates why “The War of the End of the World” is his personal favourite among his novels. Throughout A Writer’s Reality, Vargas Llosa focusses on what he sees as a central metaphor for the writer’s task – to transform lies into truth.
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