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The Bad Girl

by

The Bad Girl Cover

 

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

A New York Times Notable Book of 2007

"Splendid, suspenseful, and irresistible . . . A contemporary love story that explores the mores of the urban 1960s--and 70s and 80s."--The New York Times Book Review

Ricardo Somocurcio is in love with a bad girl. He loves her as a teenager known as "Lily" in Lima in 1950, when she flits into his life one summer and  disappears again without explanation. He loves her still when she reappears as a revolutionary in 1960s Paris, then later as Mrs. Richardson, the wife of a wealthy Englishman, and again as the mistress of a sinister Japanese businessman in Tokyo. However poorly she treats him, he is doomed to worship her. Charting Ricardo's expatriate life through his romances with this shape-shifting woman, Vargas Llosa has created a beguiling, epic romance about the life-altering power of obsession.

Mario Vargas Llosa is the author of many novels and works of nonfiction. He lives in London, Madrid, and Lima.

Longlisted for the IMPAC Dublin Literary Award
A New York Times Notable Book of the Year
A San Francisco Chronicle Notable Book of the Year
A Chicago Tribune Favorite Book of the Year
 
Ricardo Somocurcio is in love with a bad girl. He loves her as a teenager known as “Lily” in Lima 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, albeit n icy, remote one who denies knowing anything about the ily of years gone by. Whoever the bad girl turns up as—whether its Madame Robert Arnoux, the wife of a high-ranking UNESCO fficial, or Kuriko, the mistress of a sinister Japanese businessman—and however poorly she treats him, Ricardo is doomed to worship her.

 

The protean Lily, gifted liar and irresistible, maddening muse—does Ricardo ever know who she really is? The answer is as unclear as what has become of Ricardo himself, a lifelong expatriate shadowed by the sense that he is only ever drifting. In Mario Vargas Llosas beguiling new novel, the strange bedfellows of good and bad turn out not to be what they appear.

"Spans decades and continents—and in the process, with a deftness that boreders on literary sleight of hand, bridges the personal and the universal."—San Francisco Chronicle

"Splendid, suspenseful and irresistible . . . The Bad Girl is one of those rare literary events: a remaking rather than a recycling . . . Vargas Llosa, [like Gustave Flaubert], is a master. Long one of the pre-eminent voices of postmodernism, he has transformed a revolutionary work of Western literature into a vibrant, contemporary love story that explores the mores of the urban 1960s—and ‘70s and ‘80s—just as Madame Bovary did the provincial life of the 1830s."—Kathryn Harrison, The New York Times Book Review

"The Bad Girl . . . obviously was written out of a deep nostalgia for the author's lost youth and for the Lima in which he then lived. He evokes it beautifully . . . Into this paradise, during the 'fabulous summer' of 1950, comes a 14- or 15-year-old girl who calls herself Lily and claims to be Chilean. Soon enough she is found out as an impostor and expelled from 15-year-old Ricardo's privileged set, but the damage has been done: He is madly in love with her . . . Over and over again she tests him . . . He actually manages to persuade himself for a time that he does not love her, but the obsession is too powerful . . . The novel touches on the full sweep of Peruvian history from the 1950s to the Shining Path terrorism . . . Edith Grossman [has] translated The Bad Girl with her accustomed skill and grace, making this lovely novel wholly accessible to American readers."—The Washington Post

"Even before the beguiling begins to reveal its guile, reading The Bad Girl is, as they say in Vargas Llosas Latin America, vale la pena—worth the pain . . . The bad girl and the good boy are believable, complicated, fully realized people. At the same time they are more. Both characters are the white whale. Both are Ahab. Both are what they appear and arent. Both represent other things and then go beyond the representing."—Jack Fuller, Chicago Tribune

“Mario Vargas Llosas latest novel, The Bad Girl, is a joyful romp through a torturous relationship. The novel traces the obsession of its narrator, Ricardo Somocurcio, from the inception of the affair in Peru to its last spasm in Spain, alighting in a Paris rolling with student ferment, a London filled with peace-loving hippies, and a sterile Tokyo flashing with neon.”—Chloë Schama, The New York Sun

"The Bad Girl is about one man's persistent desire for a difficult woman. It is also, cunningly, about a broader persistence of hope for a better world . . . Vargas Llosa's novel spans decades and continents—and, in the process, with a deftness that borders on literary sleight of hand, bridges the personal and the universal . . . The Bad Girl spans 1950s Lima, 1960s revolutionary Paris, 1970s hippie London, 1980s swinging Tokyo and 1990s theatrical Spain . . . Ricardo is an unusually sympathetic narrator—modest, bookish, utterly trustworthy . . . repeatedly taken in and left 'a human wreck' . . . Vargas Llosa succeeds not only in conveying the bad girl's attraction but also in pulling us into Ricardo's cycle of hopefulness . . . Ricardo's friendships with doomed individuals—a revolutionary in Paris, a hippie artist in London, a fellow translator in Japan—and his unexpected but satisfying discovery of la niña mala's true identity further heighten the novel's considerable allure . . . Most impressively, by mirroring Ricardo and the bad girl's tug-of-war with the tug-of-war between democracy and totalitarianism that concurrently roils the world, and especially their native Peru, Vargas Llosa's novel becomes an allegory for the undauntable desire not just for love but also for freedom. Over and over again, the world dashes our hopes just as the bad girl disappoints Vargas Llosa's narrator—and yet we love it and keep hoping for the best anyway."—Heller McAlpin, San Francisco Chronicle

“In Llosas capable hands this recounting is moving and captivating. New characters, identities and settings are seductively and cleverly introduced as the story seamlessly travels the globe, straddling the changing world culture from the 1950s to the present and tracking the arc of Peruvian politics. Each chapter reads like its own complete narrative, yet blends impeccably into the next to form a well-paced, dynamic whole. Punctuated by the magic of chance meetings and rediscovered romance, and wading comfortably in profound queries about the nature of identity and lifes purpose, The Bad Girl is a beleaguered, bittersweet love story that evokes the question: Is there any other sort of love story?”—Christine Thomas, Miami Herald

"The Peruvian-born author's latest novel is an impressive logical extension of the seriocomic romances that are among his most appealing books.  It's the story of a grand passion, nursed for several decades by its protagonist and narrator Ricardo Somocurcio, who rises from humble beginnings in Lima to a distinguished career as a globetrotting translator for UNESCO and later success as a novelist. The object of his lustful affection is a Chilean beauty named Lily, who captures his heart (without giving herself fully to him) when they are teenagers, then complicates his life during subsequent years when he encounters her—or versions of her—in various locations. 'Lily' thus becomes an Eternal Feminine figure . . . Wherever duty sends Ricardo, Lily shows up—initially teasing him and holding him at bay, later consenting to make love with him (before fleeing again). In Paris she appears as radical revolutionary Comrade Arlette, then as Parisian diplomat's wife Madame Arnoux. In Tokyo, she's Kuriko, mistress to a sadistic Yakuza boss whose violent pleasures destroy her health. In London, she's Mrs. Richardson, this time a British diplomat's spouse. Years pass, political allegiances are embraced then abandoned, and as Lily fails physically and emotionally, Ricardo, though never freed from the erotic spell she has cast over him, manages to move and grow beyond her. Though the novel sometimes feels like a semi-autobiographical summary of the author's life, opinions and emotions, its energized by crisp writing, wry humor and a brilliantly deployed cast who variously enable, frustrate and mirror the experiences of the two principal characters. And it's capped by a sublime metafictional moment that creates a heart-wrenching crescendo.  A contemporary master remains at the top of his game."—Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

"Veteran Peruvian novelist Vargas Llosa's appealing, nostalgic latest opens in the summer of 1950, as Ricardo Slim Somocurcio, a rambunctious teen in the affluent Miraflores section of Lima, meets 14-year-old nymph Lily. With her younger sister, Lily is masquerading as a wealthy, liberated Chilean girl to disguise her slum origins. She is soon exposed by a jealous schoolmate and disappears, but Ricardo is smitten. There are dashes of Vertigo and Last Year at Marienbad in what follows. As an adult, Ricardo's work as a translator for UNESCO takes him over the decades everywhere from late '50s Paris to the Beatles's London to gangland Tokyo. Everywhere he goes, his bad girl shows up in dramatically different disguises, denying she was his childhood sweetheart or that they've ever met before, but ravishing him completely . . . Vargas Llosa is a master of description, and his gift for evoking sounds, smells and tastes makes each (often very graphic) encounter with Lily fresh. And with Ricardo's knack for being where the action is, whole scenes of the postwar period flare into view, as Lily's sexual perfidy eventually leads to serious trouble. The result is rich."—Publishers Weekly

Synopsis:

A New York Times Notable Book of 2007

Splendid, suspenseful, and irresistible . . . A contemporary love story that explores the mores of the urban 1960s--and 70s and 80s.--The New York Times Book Review

Ricardo Somocurcio is in love with a bad girl. He loves her as a teenager known as Lily in Lima in 1950, when she flits into his life one summer and disappears again without explanation. He loves her still when she reappears as a revolutionary in 1960s Paris, then later as Mrs. Richardson, the wife of a wealthy Englishman, and again as the mistress of a sinister Japanese businessman in Tokyo. However poorly she treats him, he is doomed to worship her. Charting Ricardo's expatriate life through his romances with this shape-shifting woman, Vargas Llosa has created a beguiling, epic romance about the life-altering power of obsession.

Mario Vargas Llosa is the author of many novels and works of nonfiction. He lives in London, Madrid, and Lima. Longlisted for the IMPAC Dublin Literary AwardA New York Times Notable Book of the YearA San Francisco Chronicle Notable Book of the YearA Chicago Tribune Favorite Book of the Year Ricardo Somocurcio is in love with a bad girl. He loves her as a teenager known as Lily in Lima 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, albeit n icy, remote one who denies knowing anything about the ily of years gone by. Whoever the bad girl turns up as--whether it's Madame Robert Arnoux, the wife of a high-ranking UNESCO fficial, or Kuriko, the mistress of a sinister Japanese businessman--and however poorly she treats him, Ricardo is doomed to worship her.

The protean Lily, gifted liar and irresistible, maddening muse--does Ricardo ever know who she really is? The answer is as unclear as what has become of Ricardo himself, a lifelong expatriate shadowed by the sense that he is only ever drifting. In Mario Vargas Llosa's beguiling new novel, the strange bedfellows of good and bad turn out not to be what they appear. Spans decades and continents--and in the process, with a deftness that boreders on literary sleight of hand, bridges the personal and the universal.--San Francisco Chronicle

Splendid, suspenseful and irresistible . . . The Bad Girl is one of those rare literary events: a remaking rather than a recycling . . . Vargas Llosa, like Gustave Flaubert], is a master. Long one of the pre-eminent voices of postmodernism, he has transformed a revolutionary work of Western literature into a vibrant, contemporary love story that explores the mores of the urban 1960s--and '70s and '80s--just as Madame Bovary did the provincial life of the 1830s.--Kathryn Harrison, The New York Times Book Review

The Bad Girl . . . obviously was written out of a deep nostalgia for the author's lost youth and for the Lima in which he then lived. He evokes it beautifully . . . Into this paradise, during the 'fabulous summer' of 1950, comes a 14- or 15-year-old girl who calls herself Lily and claims to be Chilean. Soon enough she is found out as an impostor and expelled from 15-year-old Ricardo's privileged set, but the damage has been done: He is madly in love with her . . . Over and over again she tests him . . . He actually manages to persuade himself for a time that he does not love her, but the obsession is too powerful . . . The novel touches on the full sweep of Peruvian history from the 1950s to the Shining Path terrorism . . . Edith Grossman has] translated The Bad Girl with her accustomed skill and grace, making this lovely novel wholly accessible to American readers.--The Washington Post

Even before the beguiling begins to reveal its guile, reading The Bad Girl is, as they say in Vargas Llosa's Latin America, vale la pena--worth the pain . . . The bad girl and the good boy are believable, complicated, fully realized people. At the same time they are more. Both characters are the white whale. Both are Ahab. Both are what they appear and aren't. Both represent other things and then go beyond the representing.--Jack Fuller, Chicago Tribune

Mario Vargas Llosa's latest novel, The Bad Girl, is a joyful romp through a torturous relationship. The novel traces the obsession of its narrator, Ricardo Somocurcio, from the inception of the affair in Peru to its last spasm in Spain, alighting in a Paris rolling with student ferment, a London filled with peace-loving hippies, and a sterile Tokyo flashing with neon.--Chloe Schama, The New York Sun

The Bad Girl is about one man's persistent desire for a difficult woman. It is also, cunningly, about a broader persistence of hope for a better world . . . Vargas Llosa's novel spans decades and continents--and, in the process, with a deftness that borders on literary sleight of hand, bridges the personal and the universal . . . The Bad Girl spans 1950s Lima, 1960s revolutionary Paris, 1970s hippie London, 1980s swinging Tokyo and 1990s theatrical Spain . . . Ricardo is an unusually sympathetic narrator--modest, bookish, utterly trustworthy . . . repeatedly taken in and left 'a human wreck' . . . Vargas Llosa succeeds not only in conveying the bad girl's attraction but also in pulling us into Ricardo's cycle of hopefulness . . . Ricardo's friendships with doomed individuals--a revolutionary in Paris, a hippie artist in London, a fellow translator in Japan--and his unexpected but satisfying discovery of la nina mala's true identity further heighten the novel's considerable allure . . . Most impressively, by mirroring Ricardo and the bad girl's tug-of-war with the tug-of-war between democracy and totalitarianism that concurrently roils the world, and especially their native Peru, Vargas Llosa's novel becomes an allegory for the undaunt

Synopsis:

A New York Times Notable Book of 2007

"Splendid, suspenseful, and irresistible . . . A contemporary love story that explores the mores of the urban 1960s--and 70s and 80s."--The New York Times Book Review

Ricardo Somocurcio is in love with a bad girl. He loves her as a teenager known as "Lily" in Lima in 1950, when she flits into his life one summer and  disappears again without explanation. He loves her still when she reappears as a revolutionary in 1960s Paris, then later as Mrs. Richardson, the wife of a wealthy Englishman, and again as the mistress of a sinister Japanese businessman in Tokyo. However poorly she treats him, he is doomed to worship her. Charting Ricardo's expatriate life through his romances with this shape-shifting woman, Vargas Llosa has created a beguiling, epic romance about the life-altering power of obsession.

About the Author

Mario Vargas Llosa is the author of many novels and works of nonfiction. He lives in London, Madrid, and Lima.

Product Details

ISBN:
9780312427764
Author:
Vargas Llosa, Mario
Publisher:
Picador USA
Translator:
Grossman, Edith
Author:
Grossman, Edith
Author:
Llosa, Mario Vargas
Author:
Vargas, Mario
Subject:
General Fiction
Subject:
Literary
Subject:
Compulsive behavior
Subject:
Travelers
Subject:
Love stories
Subject:
Psychological fiction
Subject:
Literature-A to Z
Copyright:
Edition Description:
Trade Paper
Publication Date:
20081031
Binding:
TRADE PAPER
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Illustrations:
Includes two black-and-white maps
Pages:
288
Dimensions:
8.27 x 5.51 x 0.765 in

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The Bad Girl Sale Trade Paper
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Product details 288 pages Picador USA - English 9780312427764 Reviews:
"Synopsis" by , A New York Times Notable Book of 2007

Splendid, suspenseful, and irresistible . . . A contemporary love story that explores the mores of the urban 1960s--and 70s and 80s.--The New York Times Book Review

Ricardo Somocurcio is in love with a bad girl. He loves her as a teenager known as Lily in Lima in 1950, when she flits into his life one summer and disappears again without explanation. He loves her still when she reappears as a revolutionary in 1960s Paris, then later as Mrs. Richardson, the wife of a wealthy Englishman, and again as the mistress of a sinister Japanese businessman in Tokyo. However poorly she treats him, he is doomed to worship her. Charting Ricardo's expatriate life through his romances with this shape-shifting woman, Vargas Llosa has created a beguiling, epic romance about the life-altering power of obsession.

Mario Vargas Llosa is the author of many novels and works of nonfiction. He lives in London, Madrid, and Lima. Longlisted for the IMPAC Dublin Literary AwardA New York Times Notable Book of the YearA San Francisco Chronicle Notable Book of the YearA Chicago Tribune Favorite Book of the Year Ricardo Somocurcio is in love with a bad girl. He loves her as a teenager known as Lily in Lima 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, albeit n icy, remote one who denies knowing anything about the ily of years gone by. Whoever the bad girl turns up as--whether it's Madame Robert Arnoux, the wife of a high-ranking UNESCO fficial, or Kuriko, the mistress of a sinister Japanese businessman--and however poorly she treats him, Ricardo is doomed to worship her.

The protean Lily, gifted liar and irresistible, maddening muse--does Ricardo ever know who she really is? The answer is as unclear as what has become of Ricardo himself, a lifelong expatriate shadowed by the sense that he is only ever drifting. In Mario Vargas Llosa's beguiling new novel, the strange bedfellows of good and bad turn out not to be what they appear. Spans decades and continents--and in the process, with a deftness that boreders on literary sleight of hand, bridges the personal and the universal.--San Francisco Chronicle

Splendid, suspenseful and irresistible . . . The Bad Girl is one of those rare literary events: a remaking rather than a recycling . . . Vargas Llosa, like Gustave Flaubert], is a master. Long one of the pre-eminent voices of postmodernism, he has transformed a revolutionary work of Western literature into a vibrant, contemporary love story that explores the mores of the urban 1960s--and '70s and '80s--just as Madame Bovary did the provincial life of the 1830s.--Kathryn Harrison, The New York Times Book Review

The Bad Girl . . . obviously was written out of a deep nostalgia for the author's lost youth and for the Lima in which he then lived. He evokes it beautifully . . . Into this paradise, during the 'fabulous summer' of 1950, comes a 14- or 15-year-old girl who calls herself Lily and claims to be Chilean. Soon enough she is found out as an impostor and expelled from 15-year-old Ricardo's privileged set, but the damage has been done: He is madly in love with her . . . Over and over again she tests him . . . He actually manages to persuade himself for a time that he does not love her, but the obsession is too powerful . . . The novel touches on the full sweep of Peruvian history from the 1950s to the Shining Path terrorism . . . Edith Grossman has] translated The Bad Girl with her accustomed skill and grace, making this lovely novel wholly accessible to American readers.--The Washington Post

Even before the beguiling begins to reveal its guile, reading The Bad Girl is, as they say in Vargas Llosa's Latin America, vale la pena--worth the pain . . . The bad girl and the good boy are believable, complicated, fully realized people. At the same time they are more. Both characters are the white whale. Both are Ahab. Both are what they appear and aren't. Both represent other things and then go beyond the representing.--Jack Fuller, Chicago Tribune

Mario Vargas Llosa's latest novel, The Bad Girl, is a joyful romp through a torturous relationship. The novel traces the obsession of its narrator, Ricardo Somocurcio, from the inception of the affair in Peru to its last spasm in Spain, alighting in a Paris rolling with student ferment, a London filled with peace-loving hippies, and a sterile Tokyo flashing with neon.--Chloe Schama, The New York Sun

The Bad Girl is about one man's persistent desire for a difficult woman. It is also, cunningly, about a broader persistence of hope for a better world . . . Vargas Llosa's novel spans decades and continents--and, in the process, with a deftness that borders on literary sleight of hand, bridges the personal and the universal . . . The Bad Girl spans 1950s Lima, 1960s revolutionary Paris, 1970s hippie London, 1980s swinging Tokyo and 1990s theatrical Spain . . . Ricardo is an unusually sympathetic narrator--modest, bookish, utterly trustworthy . . . repeatedly taken in and left 'a human wreck' . . . Vargas Llosa succeeds not only in conveying the bad girl's attraction but also in pulling us into Ricardo's cycle of hopefulness . . . Ricardo's friendships with doomed individuals--a revolutionary in Paris, a hippie artist in London, a fellow translator in Japan--and his unexpected but satisfying discovery of la nina mala's true identity further heighten the novel's considerable allure . . . Most impressively, by mirroring Ricardo and the bad girl's tug-of-war with the tug-of-war between democracy and totalitarianism that concurrently roils the world, and especially their native Peru, Vargas Llosa's novel becomes an allegory for the undaunt

"Synopsis" by ,

A New York Times Notable Book of 2007

"Splendid, suspenseful, and irresistible . . . A contemporary love story that explores the mores of the urban 1960s--and 70s and 80s."--The New York Times Book Review

Ricardo Somocurcio is in love with a bad girl. He loves her as a teenager known as "Lily" in Lima in 1950, when she flits into his life one summer and  disappears again without explanation. He loves her still when she reappears as a revolutionary in 1960s Paris, then later as Mrs. Richardson, the wife of a wealthy Englishman, and again as the mistress of a sinister Japanese businessman in Tokyo. However poorly she treats him, he is doomed to worship her. Charting Ricardo's expatriate life through his romances with this shape-shifting woman, Vargas Llosa has created a beguiling, epic romance about the life-altering power of obsession.

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