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Aunt Julia and the Scriptwriter [Paperback]

Mario Vargas Llosa , Helen Lane
3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
RRP: £7.99
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Book Description

4 Nov 2004
'A comic novel on the grand scale written with tremendous confidence and verve. Mario, 18-year-old law student and radio news-editor, falls scandalously for his Aunt Julia, the 32-year-old divorced wife of a cousin, and the progressively lunatic story of this affair is interwoven with episodes from a series of radio soap-operas written by his friend Pedro Comacho. Vargas Llosa's huge energy and inventiveness is extravagant and fabulously funny.' New Statesman

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Product details

  • Paperback: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Faber and Faber; New Ed edition (4 Nov 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0571167772
  • ISBN-13: 978-0571167777
  • Product Dimensions: 12.6 x 19.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 128,843 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

"'Without doubt a magnificent novel - comic, imaginative... written with a feeling for the language that is quite remarkable.' Daily Telegraph 'This novel is as full of fizz as a giant sherbet, witty, wise and wonderful in equal proportions.' Sunday Times" --Sunday Times --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

About the Author

With novels including The War of the End of the World, Aunt Julia and the Scriptwriter, The Notebooks of Don Rigoberto and The Feast of the Goat, Mario Vargas Llosa has established an international reputation as one of the Latin America's most important authors.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
19 of 20 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Aunt Julia 19 Nov 2006
Format:Paperback
Mario Vargas Llosa is a national hero in Peru and ran for president at a critical time in its history, losing to Alberto Fujimori in 1990. Having lived in Peru for a time I was interested in exploring some of his works, starting with one his most celebrated novels, Aunt Julia and the Scriptwriter. Set in the Miraflores district of Lima, this partly autobiographical novel follows an aspiring writer (Mario) working at a radio station that broadcasts daily soap-operas. Mario falls in love with his uncle's estranged wife and their romance is told in alternate chapters to some of the radio station's serials. The blossoming and subsequent deterioration of their relationship is matched by the apparent mental state of the eccentric serial scriptwriter, whose plots become more entangled and confused with each other as the book progresses.

Always willfully experimental, Vargas Llosa is influenced in part by Satre and existentialism but also - more evident here - Modernism, with its emancipated timelines and disjointed narrative. The book begins more conventionally in establishing a nostalgic sense of time and place, warming the reader to its characters and principle relationship. But the deliberate convolution of the various narrational strands becomes more and more unsettling for the reader as Mario and Julia's romance implodes.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Aunt Julia and the Scriptwriter 24 April 2008
Format:Paperback
Mario Vargas Llosa, novelist, Peruvian, is a word painter, an artist of consummate skill, capable of simultaneous intimate ecstasy and detached observation, skill that constantly surprises, titillates and intensifies. Aunt Julia and the Scriptwriter is a novel that details how an eighteen year old writer of hack news stories develops relationships with his aunt and, yes, a scriptwriter, both of whom happen to be Bolivian. Auth Julia is an aunt by definable and identifiable, but non-bloodline association. At least there is still some decency! She is a divorcee, not a Peruvian - what would you expect, then? - and attractive to boot. She is also conquerable. She is a passionate older woman - old enough to be his mother! - who succumbs to the young man's ardent if naive charms a little too easily for her own good or, it must be said, for the keeping of face in an interested, gossiping community.

Pedro Camacho is a stunted, bald, pocket battleship of a radio scriptwriter. He is also Bolivian - an epidemic? - and specialises in sitcoms, melees of melange, several of which he can keep on the boil at the same time. He is employed by our young hero's radio station to sex-up the regular offerings, to enliven their action with his peculiar brand of obsessive work ethic, an approach that is occasionally method-school in its execution. So when his character needs an operation, he will sit at his ancient typewriter dressed as a surgeon. He is a great success, even when his lateral thinking approach to plot is fully realised, a trait that develops into a need to introduce characters from one soap opera into another almost at random - certainly at random! - in order to test - or not! - the listeners'collaboration of listening habit and attentiveness at the same time.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Entertaining, clever, different 18 April 2008
By Morena VINE VOICE
Format:Paperback
I loved this book and read it compulsively in one evening. It's the semi-autobiographical story of 18 year old Mario, working at a cobbled-together radio station in early 1950s Lima, and a nominal student of law to please his family. He wants only "to be a writer", agonising over short stories "in the style of Hemingway". When the eccentric Pedro Camacho comes to write serials for the radio station, he meets a totally different kind of writer, one whose colourful stories are tapped directly into the typewriter for ten hours a day, when he's not acting them live himself. At the same time, Mario falls for his 32 year old "Aunt Julia", as she is always referred to even though she is only the ex-wife of a relative. The narrative follows their blossoming relationship, alternating with chapters drawn from Pedro Comacho's serials.

I willingly admit to not being as much an intellectual as many of the other reviewers, and would have probably enjoyed Aunt Julia just as much if the Pedro Camacho chapters had been taken out (his independent stories, I mean, not the character himself). It could stand alone very well; a sweet and witty story full of vignettes and great characters. I also lost patience somewhat with the mixing-up and disintegration of the stories. And I was a bit puzzled and disappointed with what became of Pedro Camacho at the very end; I feel the author could have given him an innovative but more dignified destiny; the little oddball had really grown on me! Even so, I still give Aunt Julia and the Scriptwriter 5 stars - a wonderful, engaging read that wears its intelligence lightly, and probably the only book most people are going to read set in Lima, Peru!
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Clever, wise, witty and delightfully eccentric 22 April 2005
By A Customer
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
A genuinely entertaining read. Not for years have I read something which has kept me smiling from cover to cover. Occaisional bouts of sadness quickly blend into fiction as Pedro's increasingly bizarre tales intermingle with Mario's increasingly desperate adventures. The deeper you get, the more intriguing and entertaining the weaving of storylines becomes. Lovers of Latin America will find additional warmth and memories in this, but anybody with an eye for a good story should read this. Let's not ignore Helen Lane, who translated this gem and kept the pace, the warmth and the characterisation alive. Gamble. Buy it. If you're dissapointed, then you have my pity. I doubt that Pedro would be quite so generous...
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars What was all that about?
I just finished reading this (in the Spanish original) less than a hour ago. I won't go into plot summary as others have already done this here. Read more
Published on 15 Jun 2012 by S. Coleman
2.0 out of 5 stars starts off good, gets boring
I had to read this book for a book club. i was looking forward to reading this novel, it sounded funny. Read more
Published on 25 Dec 2011 by Hermione
1.0 out of 5 stars disappointed
First book that I have received from Amazon that I feel disappinted with. Stated in sale as in good condition! Read more
Published on 16 Mar 2011 by football
5.0 out of 5 stars Masterful story telling
Mario is eighteen years old, a prospective law student, or so his family would have it, aspiring writer, as he would have it, and he works for Panamericana, a local radio station... Read more
Published on 9 Oct 2010 by Mick Read
2.0 out of 5 stars Silly ending
Nice novel, quite incestuous for my tastes though and quite frankly a rather silly end...!!
Published on 23 July 2010 by Sontee
4.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating semi-autobiographical account
This book is a fascinating autobiographical account of the writer's early days and the forbidden relationship which he entered with his real life aunt,Julia Urquidi, now living in... Read more
Published on 20 May 2000 by DR BUDGEN
4.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating semi-autobiographical account
This book is a fascinating autobiographical account of the writer's early days and the forbidden relationship which he entered with his real life aunt,Julia Urquidi, now living in... Read more
Published on 20 May 2000 by DR BUDGEN
2.0 out of 5 stars somewhat lacklustre tale of a Peruvian incestuous romance
Having read "The Notebooks of Don Rigoberto" by the same author, this came as rather a disappointment. Read more
Published on 8 Jan 2000
2.0 out of 5 stars somewhat lacklustre tale of a Peruvian incestuous romance
Having read "The Notebooks of Don Rigoberto" by the same author, this came as rather a disappointment. Read more
Published on 8 Jan 2000
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