Talking Books with Mario Vargas Llosa


Talking Books with Mario Vargas Llosa

A Retrospective

Edited by Raquel Chang-Rodríguez and Carlos Riobó

New Hispanisms Series

258 pages
15 photographs, index


August 2020


$60.00 Pre-order

About the Book

The essays included in Talking Books with Mario Vargas Llosa celebrate Mario Vargas Llosa’s visits to the City College of New York, the creation of the Cátedra Vargas Llosa in his honor, and the interests of the Peruvian author in reading and books. This volume contains previously unpublished material by Vargas Llosa himself, as well as by novelists and literary critics associated with the Cátedra.

This collection offers readers an opportunity to learn about Vargas Llosa’s body of work through multiple perspectives: his own and those of eminent fiction writers and important literary critics. The book offers significant analysis and rich conversation that bring to life many of the Nobel laureate’s characters and provide insights into his writing process and imagination. As the last surviving member of the original group of writers of the Latin American Boom—which included Gabriel García Márquez, Carlos Fuentes, and Julio Cortázar—Vargas Llosa endures as a literary icon because his fiction has remained fresh and innovative. His prolific works span many different themes and subgenres.

A combination of literary analyses and anecdotal contributions in this volume reveal the little-known human and intellectual dimensions of Vargas Llosa the writer and Vargas Llosa the man.

Author Bio

Raquel Chang-Rodríguez is distinguished professor of Hispanic literature and culture at the Graduate Center and the City College of the City University of New York (CUNY), where she codirects the Cátedra Mario Vargas Llosa. Carlos Riobó is a professor of Spanish and comparative literature at the City College of New York, where he codirects the Cátedra Mario Vargas Llosa, and is the executive officer of the PhD program in Latin American, Iberian, and Latino Cultures at CUNY’s Graduate Center.



“This book allows us to see Mario Vargas Llosa from a personal perspective that is nonetheless political. . . . As we study again his uses of time and space, literary techniques, original characterizations, and embedded political metaphors about the world we inhabit, we confirm that Vargas Llosa has created a literary universe of his own that resists labels and continues to evolve.”—Oswaldo Estrada, author of Troubled Memories: Iconic Mexican Women and the Traps of Representation

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations
Introduction, Raquel Chang-Rodríguez and Carlos Riobó
In Conversation with the 2010 Nobel Laureate
1. Mario Vargas Llosa, Genesis and Evolution of Captain Pantoja and the Special Services
2. Mario Vargas Llosa, The Return of the Monsters
3. Mario Vargas Llosa and Alonso Cueto, From Miguel de Cervantes to César Moro
Life and Literature
4. Efraín Kristal, Discreet and Injudicious Heroes in the Novels of Mario Vargas Llosa
5. J.J. Armas Marcelo, A Life Worthy of a Novel
6. Alonso Cueto, Vargas Llosa and Cervantes: Modern Knights
History, Authority and Ideology
7. Carlos Franz, A Poetics of Freedom
8. Mónica Lavín, The Eye of the Beholder
9. Ángel L. Estévez, Historical Fact/Historical Fiction in The Feast of the Goat
Other Tales
10. Carlos Riobó, The Storyteller: Narrating Latin America from Europe
11. Raquel Chang-Rodríguez, Rubén Darío through Mario Vargas Llosa’s Looking Glass
12. Robert Dumont, Mario Vargas Llosa at the New York Public Library

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