martes, 1 de marzo de 2011

Conversation in the Cathedral Group Read

English option

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!

Spanish option

Other Readers

10 comentarios:

  1. Such a compelling argument you make for this author, Richard, and one I'll be sure to remember. I have another plan for my March/April reading, to be announced this Sunday, but after Easter I'd love to join you and the she-wolves in a few of your choices. Always you expand my reading world.

    ResponderEliminar
  2. I won't make any guarantees, but I might possibly join you for this one. I've been wanting to read Vargas Llosa for a while, and this might be the encouragement I need to actually get started! I have to order it from out of the library system, though, so I'm not sure how soon I'll get it, or if I'll have time to finish before the end of the month...

    ResponderEliminar
  3. Looking forward to it!

    And may I just say, that photo in your header goes perfectly well with my imaginary version of the Laforet. :-)

    ResponderEliminar
  4. Whoa, roughly 600 pages? Thanks for reminding me that I need to ILL this right away and start reading it! And of course thanks also for getting me really excited for it - can't wait to hang out with Vargas Llosa again. :)

    ResponderEliminar
  5. *Bellezza: Thanks for the kind words--naturally, we would love to have you join us for whatever Wolves group reads catch your interest (and in the meantime, I am sorry that my JLC 4 involvement will now have to wait until JLC 5--horrible time management on my part). Look forward to hearing about your March and April plans, though!

    *Amanda: It'd be great if you could join us, but no pressure at all. The book is a big one at somewhere around 600 pages, but Vargas Llosa is usually quick reading and not "difficult" at all in terms of his sentence constructions and such. Cheers!

    *Emily: Isn't that French cover awesome? I kind of wish I owned a copy of that. (That's Laforet on the cover, too, by the way). I'll have to reread your e-mail to see how you had "remembered" Nada from years and years ago, but I'm looking forward to comparing our two experiences of the novel for sure. P.S. Hope you like the Vargas Llosa--am a little nervous after the big dud that Mahfouz foisted on us!

    *Sarah: Thanks, I read the first chapter of Conversación last night and am happy to be hanging out with Vargas Llosa again myself! If the VL you read before was Aunt Julia..., you should be in for a nice change of pace with a heavy drama this time out--hope you get the book soon and that it works out for you. Cheers!

    ResponderEliminar
  6. Uh, oh, don't tell me it's 600 pages! I'll happily live in denial...it's been too long since I've read any Latin American fiction, and am really looking forward to it (the book is on its way!).

    ResponderEliminar
  7. Just posted a little reminder myself but not nearly as helpful as yours. I am just very excited about reading this one for some reason I cannot even put my finger on, and would like others to read too. A conversation about a conversation. The thought appeals to me.

    She-wolves. I like.

    ResponderEliminar
  8. *Amanda: Glad to hear the book is on the way--I look forward to hearing what you have to say about the novel whenever you get around to it. Cheers!

    *Frances: Glad you're so excited about the read and agree that "a conversation about a conversation" does sound appealing now that you mention it. Just hope it lives up to the hype after the recent disappointment re: the Mahfouz readalong. Cheers, she-wolf!

    ResponderEliminar
  9. Ha ha. Good call on adding the 'maybe.' I'm reading this for sure but will be late again. Again!

    ResponderEliminar
  10. *Claire: I got your back, no worries--and better late than never anyway!

    ResponderEliminar