Synopses & Reviews
A New York Times
Flora Tristán, the illegitimate child of a wealthy Peruvian father and French mother, grows up in poverty and journeys to Peru to demand her inheritance. On her return in 1844, she makes her name as a champion of the downtrodden, touring the French countryside to recruit members for her Workers' Union.
In 1891, Flora's grandson, struggling painter and stubborn visionary Paul Gauguin, abandons his wife and five children for life in the South Seas, where his dreams of paradise are poisoned by syphilis, the stifling forces of French colonialism, and a chronic lack of funds, though he has his pick of teenage Tahitian lovers and paints some of his greatest works.
Flora died before her grandson was born, but their travels and obsessions unfold side by side in this double portrait, a rare study in passion and ambition, as well as the obstinate pursuit of greatness in the face of illness and death.
"Vargas Llosa's genius lies in his ability to deliver vastly intelligent novels that nevertheless pulse with sensuality." Booklist
"There isn't a page of this magnificently imagined and orchestrated story that does not vibrate with the energy and mystery of felt, and fully comprehended, life. It's hard to believe, but Vargas Llosa just keeps getting better." Kirkus Reviews
"Despite Wimmer's excellent translation, Vargas Llosa's latest too often feels like a weighty, unwieldy account of two exciting lives, which does neither its subjects nor its author's past artistry a service." Publishers Weekly
"Vargas Llosa vividly depicts the travels, sorrows, and wrangling with the Catholic Church that absorbed the energies of these two remarkable people. Highly recommended." Library Journal
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.” Perus 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.