The Notebooks of Don Rigoberto

Updated June 26, 2020 | Infoplease Staff
Author:Mario Vargas Llosa
Publisher:Farrar Straus & Giroux

Peruvian expatriate Vargas Llosa has left the dry political allegory of his most recent novel, Death in the Andes, and returned to the densely intimate literary space created by In Praise of the Stepmother. Notebooks picks up where Stepmother left off: the great aesthete Don Rigoberto has broken off relations with his second wife, in whom his seemingly angelic little son has staked a disturbingly precocious erotic interest. Once again, Vargas Llosa proves that erudition and sensuality make excellent bedfellows. In a series of complexly interrelated episodes, he unravels the tale of father and son's tumescent attractions for Lucretia (as filtered through the paintings of Egon Schiele, Klimt, and others). Notebooks is a postmodern tour-de-force that avoids pretension. On the contrary — it's sexy, sly, and lovingly crafted by the former Peruvian presidential candidate. Translator Edith Grossman does full justice to the fecundity of Vargas Llosa's prose.

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