Monday, January 28, 2013

A writer engaged …

 The Dream of the Peruvian by Adam Kirsch, City Journal Winter 2013. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

The irony, of course, is that Vargas Llosa has had a higher public profile than almost any writer of his time. He has been famous ever since emerging in the 1960s as a leading figure of the movement called the Latin American Boom, and in 2010, he won the Nobel Prize in Literature. At the same time, he has been a vocal participant in the politics of his native Peru, even mounting a serious campaign for president in 1990. Though he lost the second round of the election to the future dictator Alberto Fujimori, Vargas Llosa established himself as one of the world’s most eloquent spokesmen for democracy and free markets—a position that puts him directly at odds with most Latin American intellectuals of his generation, who are likelier to share the dogmatic leftism of his contemporary Gabriel García Márquez. Yet even as Vargas Llosa insists on the need for reason and freedom in politics, his fiction has continued to explore the imaginative realms of unreason and obsession, primitivism and violence.

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