Synopses & Reviews
Haunted all her life by feelings of terror and emptiness, forty-nine-year-old Urania Cabral returns to her native Dominican Republic — and finds herself reliving the events of l961, when the capital was still called Trujillo City and one old man terrorized a nation of three million. Rafael Trujillo, the depraved ailing dictator whom Dominicans call the Goat, controls his inner circle with a combination of violence and blackmail. In Trujillo's gaudy palace, treachery and cowardice have become a way of life. But Trujillo's grasp is slipping. There is a conspiracy against him, and a Machiavellian revolution already underway that will have bloody consequences of its own. In this 'masterpiece of Latin American and world literature, and one of the finest political novels ever written' (Bookforum), Mario Vargas Llosa recounts the end of a regime and the birth of a terrible democracy, giving voice to the historical Trujillo and the victims, both innocent and complicit, drawn into his deadly orbit.
"Vargas Llosa's account of Balaguer's apotheosis is a tour de force depiction of political skill. By the time he steps in, the reader like the Dominicans, battered and hypnotized by Trujillo's spectacular bullying has almost forgotten that authority doesn't always have to take the form of crushing force. There's more than one way to be a man, Vargas Llosa intimates, and much better ways to run a nation." Laura Miller, Salon.com
"Gathering power as it rolls along, this massive, swift-moving fictional take on a grim period in Dominican history shows that Vargas Llosa is still one of the world's premier political novelists." Publishers Weekly
"With mesmerizing elan, Vargas Llosa alternates between these two time periods, not only achieving a full-blown, even sensitive portrait of Trujillo, his underlings, and his assassins but also piecing together Urania's relationship with her father, a tale that leads to a devastating revelation that will pierce the reader's heart. The two story lines encircle each other, draw power from one another, and together amount to an irresistible masterpiece." Brad Hooper, Booklist
"[A]n ambition worthy of...Balzac, Dickens and Galdós, but with a technical skill...closer to...Flaubert and Henry James." Suzanne Jill Levine, The New York Times Book Review
"A writer deeply sensitive to the overpowering themes of sex and politics...[This is] Vargas Llosa at his best." Juan Tubau, Qué Leer
A tyrant's last days are the focus of this magisterial, long-awaited novel, as Mario Vargas Llosa recounts the end of a regime in the Dominican Republic and the terrible birth of a democracy.
About the Author
Mario Vargas Llosa was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 2010 “for his cartography of structures of power and his trenchant images of the individuals resistance, revolt, and defeat.” Peru's foremost writer, he has been awarded the Cervantes Prize, the Spanish-speaking worlds most distinguished literary honor, and the Jerusalem Prize. His many works include The Feast of the Goat
, The Bad Girl
, Aunt Julia and the Scriptwriter, The War of the End of the World
, and The Storyteller
. He lives in London.
Edith Grossman has translated the poetry and prose of major Spanish-language authors, including Gabriel García Marquez, Alvaro Mutis, and Mayra Montero, as well as Mario Vargas Llosa.