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Dream of the Celt Ome Paperback – 31 Oct 2012

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Product details

  • Paperback
  • Publisher: Faber & Faber (31 Oct. 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0571275745
  • ISBN-13: 978-0571275748
  • Product Dimensions: 11 x 3.1 x 17.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (29 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 185,411 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

Praise for Mario Vargas Llosa: "In the star-studded world of the Latin American novel, Mario Vargas Llosa is a supernova." --Raymond Sokolov, "The Wall Street Journal" "Vargas Llosa speaks in his own voice, sees through his own eyes. His vision is unique. His genius is unmistakable." --Eugenia Thornton, "The Plain Dealer "(Cleveland) "The bold, dynamic and endlessly productive imagination of the Peruvian novelist Mario Vargas Llosa, one of the writing giants of our time, is something truly to be admired . . . As with any great writer, [he] makes us see clearly what we have been looking at all the while but never noticed." --Alan Cheuse, "San Francisco Chronicle" "Generous in friendship, unfailingly curious about the world at large, tireless in his quest to probe the nature of the human animal, [Vargas Llosa] is a model writer for our times." --Marie Arana, "The Washington Post" "[Vargas Llosa] is a worldly writer in the best sense of the word: intelligent, urbane, well-traveled, well-informed, cosmopolitan, free-thinking and free-speaking." --Merle Rubin, "Los Angeles Times" "Mario Vargas Llosa has long been a literary adventurer of the very first order . . . [He], I am convinced, can tell us stories about anything and make them dance to his inventive rhythms." --Lisa Appignanesi, "The Independent" --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Book Description

In Mario Vargas Llosa's The Dream of the Celt - an epic and moving novel spanning three continents - one of the world's greatest writers re-imagines the life of Roger Casement, the most controversial hero of Irish nationalism. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

3.6 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Diacha on 23 Aug. 2012
Format: Hardcover
Mario Vargas Llosa's "The Dream of the Celt" is an elegiac and moving fictionalization of the career and death of the troubled Irish Martyr and British traitor Roger Casement.

Casement was born in 1864 in Co Antrim into a Protestant Irish family. He spent most of his career as a loyal and honored - knighted in 1911 - servant of the Crown. He rose to the rank of consul and achieved international fame for his exposés of the atrocities perpetrated in King Leopold's Congo and the Putumaya region in Peru. He was on visiting terms with foreign secretaries and his prominent friends included Yeats, Conrad, Conan Doyle, the sculptor, Herbert Ward, the campaigning journalist E.D. Morel and the historian Alice Stopford Green among many others.

Beneath his official mask, Casement was an ardent Irish nationalist .The seeds of this may have been sown by his parents, both of whom died while he was young: his mother had him secretly baptized as a Roman Catholic while on a visit to Wales; his father, in a down and out phase, flirted with violent nationalism. Eventually, Casement went to Germany - then at war with Great Britain - in an attempt to form an Irish Brigade along the lines that he had witnessed in the Boer War and to persuade the Kaiser to synchronize an invasion of England with an Irish revolt. He failed in both of these objectives but did secure an arms shipment timed to help the Easter Rising of 1916 (which he himself unsuccessfully opposed for logistical reasons). The British intercepted the guns and Casement. He was tried in London, convicted of treason in a surprisingly technical trial and sentenced to hang.

Casement's supporters were optimistic that the British cabinet would commute his sentence.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By John Fitzpatrick on 5 Aug. 2014
Format: Paperback
Mario Vargas Llosa seems to have a thing about Celts. In his novel "The War at the End of the World", based on the 19th century revolt set in the Brazilian state of Bahia, one of the main characters is a Scotsman although how "Scottish" he is is debatable.

This book also shows little genuine insight into the mind of the "Celt" as the hero, Sir Roger Casement, was actually a product of the Anglo-Irish upper class, a Protestant from Ulster and loyal servant of the British Empire until he finally saw the light.

I assume Llosa's interest stems from the period in which Casement was a British diplomat and spent time in Llosa's native Peru, uncovering the appalling treatment of the indigenous people by a British rubber company, just as he had previously denounced similar scandals in the Congo.

Casement ended up allying himself with Germany in the First World War, was captured and executed as a traitor although he no longer regarded himself as British. He is now regarded as a hero in Ireland.

However, Llosa merely repeats the main biographical details of his life, with some rather superficial references to his religion, sexuality etc.

He does not even give any sources in his Acknowledgements although he must have used works by writers like Brian Inglis.

What we end up with is a partial account of his life and not a work that could be considered as a novel.

In conclusion I would make a comment on the translation which, although good overall, is at times just too literal and pitched at an American readership e.g. calling a prison warden a "sheriff", the mayor of a town a "prefect", an American a "North American" and not even bothering to translate a local term like "rationals" to describe the overseers in the Amazon.
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26 of 31 people found the following review helpful By Michael Gross on 4 Jun. 2012
Format: Hardcover
This fictionalised biography of Roger Casement should be one story, as it is the story of one man's life, but strangely it feels like two stories glued together that don't really fit. First there is the story of the man who successfully exposed the cruelty of colonialism in the Congo and in Peru. Especially in the latter episode, where the sheer greed of the (London-based) rubber company fuels a culture of violence and torture against the indigenous workers who harvest the rubber, the theme of corporate responsibility chimes very nicely with today's concerns, and Casement emerges as an undisputed hero. As a dramatic historical development with interesting characters, exotic locations and clear relevance for today's world, this would have made a very nice book on its own, either as a factual or as a fictionalised work.

The other story is Casement's role in the much messier business of Ireland's struggle for independence, culminating in the Easter uprising of 1916. Here he joins the more radical camp of those who don't believe in the promise of autonomy and go for full independence, even if it takes armed conflict to achieve it. Even more controversially, at the beginning of World War I, he tries to forge an alliance with Germany. In the end, however, he wavers and wants to call off the uprising, while a shipload of weapons from Germany is already on its way and cannot be contacted. Under circumstances that are still debated, the arms delivery finds no recipients at the arranged rendez-vous, Casement gets arrested, and the uprising fails. He is sentenced to death, and his appeal is quashed amid the revelation of homosexual adventures detailed in his "black diaries.
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