Letters to a Young Novelist

ISBN-10: 0312421729
ISBN-13: 9780312421724
Edition: 2003 (Revised)
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Description: Mario Vargas Llosa condenses a lifetime of writing, reading, and thought into an essential manual for aspiring writers. Drawing on the stories and novels of writers from around the globe—Borges, Bierce, Ceacute;line, Cortaacute;zar, Faulkner, Kafka,  More...

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Book details

List price: $15.00
Copyright year: 2003
Publisher: Picador
Publication date: 6/1/2003
Binding: Paperback
Pages: 144
Size: 5.50" wide x 8.25" long x 0.50" tall
Weight: 0.572
Language: English

Mario Vargas Llosa condenses a lifetime of writing, reading, and thought into an essential manual for aspiring writers. Drawing on the stories and novels of writers from around the globe—Borges, Bierce, Ceacute;line, Cortaacute;zar, Faulkner, Kafka, Robbe-Grillet—he lays bare the inner workings of fiction, all the while urging young novelists not to lose touch with the elemental urge to create. Conversational, eloquent, and effortlessly erudite, this little book is destined to be read and re-read by young writers, old writers, would-be writers, and all those with a stake in the world of letters.

Vargas Llosa, who received his doctorate from the University of Madrid and has lived in London and Paris, now resides in Peru. In addition to novels, he has also written extensively on the modern novel, especially the works of Garcia Marquez and Flaubert, and recently premiered two successful plays. Vargas Llosa's first novel, The City and the Dogs (The Time of the Hero), (1966), brought both scandal and fame to its author. A thousand copies were ceremoniously burned in Peru, where Vargas Llosa was denounced as an enemy of the state, but the novel was published in Spain to high critical acclaim. The Green House (1968), based on memories of experiences in the jungle, contains five interrelated stories fragmented through the five parts of the novel and covering a span of 45 years. Space, time, character, and action are broken and juxtaposed in a marvelous display of novelistic technique. Implicit are critiques of Peru's religious and military establishments. In Conversation in the Cathedral (1969), La Catedral being a bar, Vargas Llosa used the conversation between the son of a wealthy man and his father's mulatto chauffeur as a base for a series of juxtaposed pieces of other conversations, again exposing a corrupt society and revealing humanity's weaknesses and desperate condition. Captain Pantoja and the Special Service (1973) is Vargas Llosa's first openly comic novel, but it also uses overlapping simultaneous plots and a sardonic approach to the role of the military in Latin American public (and private) life. The humor does not hide the dark underside of a jungle where the unexpected is always waiting. Aunt Julia and the Scriptwriter (1977) is openly autobiographical, dealing in barely disguised form with his first marriage. It again uses a favorite technique of juxtaposing two distinct narrative threads to satirize the commercialism and hypocrisy of society. In The War of the End of the World (1984), Vargas Llosa used a popular messianic revolt in the Brazilian backlands at the turn of the century to explore relations between fiction and so-called reality, one of his favorite critical themes. This may well be the first major novel on Brazil by a Spanish American writer.

The Parable of the Tapeworm
The Catoblepas
The Power of Persuasion
Style
The Narrator and Narrative Space
Time
Levels of Reality
Shifts and Qualitative Leaps
Chinese Boxes
The Hidden Fact
Communicating Vessels
By Way of a P.S.
Index of Names and Works

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