Hope some of you will consider joining the she-wolves and me in a reading and discussion of Mario Vargas Llosa's Conversation in the Cathedral (Conversación en La Catedral) set for the end of the month. Many consider this thick brick of a 1969 novel to be the 2010 Nobel Prize winner's finest, but we'll be putting that appraisal to the test in a no holds barred discussion of a work said to feature a hard hitting political edge and the usual MVL storytelling dynamics. Not familiar with Vargas Llosa? Not a problem. Based on my limited experience with the Peruvian maestro (three novels, a couple of odds and ends), here's a few things you should be able to reasonably count on getting out of your encounter with him: 1) A great story. When the guy's on top of his game, he writes these completely juicy stories that make you just want to keep on turning the pages. 2) Wonderful characterization. Vargas Llosa's characters, like the dictator in The Feast of the Goat or the backlands rebels in The War of the End of The World, tend to be fully formed creations and not the cardboard cutouts that lesser authors have us accustomed to. Raise the bar! 3) Narrative experimentation. Despite--or maybe because of--his more traditional storytelling skills, I find that I often enjoy MVL novels even more than I should because of the little things he jazzes things up with: shifts in time, shifts in narrative POV, etc. OK, so I've already said way more than enough to regret hyping this if the book turns out to be a dud. Please let me know if you have any questions about participating in the group read--otherwise, just check back here and at the other Wolves' blogs during the last weekend of the month (3/25-3/27) to follow all the discussions as they unfold (I'll provide links to other group read posts once my own review post is up). ¡Hasta pronto! See you soon!
Claire (kiss a cloud) [maybe]