Synopses & Reviews
The true story of Guatemala's political turmoil of the 1950s as only a master of fiction can tell it
Guatemala, 1954. The military coup perpetrated by Carlos Castillo Armas and supported by the CIA topples the government of Jacobo rbenz. Behind this violent act is a lie passed off as truth, which forever changes the development of Latin America: the accusation by the Eisenhower administration that rbenz encouraged the spread of Soviet Communism in the Americas. Harsh Times is a story of international conspiracies and conflicting interests in the time of the Cold War, the echoes of which are still felt today.
In this thrilling novel, Mario Vargas Llosa fuses reality with two fictions: that of the narrator, who freely re-creates characters and situations, and the one designed by those who would control the politics and the economy of a continent by manipulating its history.
Harsh Times is a gripping, revealing novel that directly confronts recent history. No one is better suited to tell this riveting story than Vargas Llosa, and there is no form better for it than his deeply textured fiction. Not since The Feast of the Goat, his classic novel of the downfall of Trujillo's regime in the Dominican Republic, has Vargas Llosa combined politics, characters, and suspense so unforgettably.
"Vargas Llosa writes with confidence and authority, and overall this hits the mark." Publishers Weekly
"History here gets a compelling human face through an artist's dramatic brilliance." Kirkus Reviews
"Thematically, it's classic Vargas Llosa in its obsession with power struggles, military hierarchies, and brothels. But it's also an unsettling reminder of the complicated relationship between storytelling and politics." Booklist (starred review)
About the Author
Mario Vargas Llosa was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature "for his cartography of structures of power and his trenchant images of the individual's resistance, revolt, and defeat." He has also won the Miguel de Cervantes Prize, the Spanish-speaking world's most distinguished literary honor. His many works include Sabers and Utopias, The Discreet Hero, The Feast of the Goat, The Bad Girl, and Aunt Julia and the Scriptwriter, all published by Farrar, Straus and Giroux.
Adrian Nathan West is a novelist, an essayist, and a translator based in Spain. His work has appeared in many publications, including The New York Review of Books, The Times Literary Supplement, The London Review of Books, McSweeney's, and more. He is the author of The Aesthetics of Degradation and a contributing editor at the translation journal Asymptote.