A great historical novel,
This review is from: The War of the End of the World (Paperback)
'The man was so tall and thin he seemed to be always in profile. He was dark-skinned and raw-boned, and his eyes burned with perpetual fire.' Thus Vargas Llosa introduces Antonio the Counselor, the holy man who ignites a religious revival and shakes the foundations of the Brazilian republic.
This is one of the finest novels of the last 40 years, a passionate and humane reimagining of the mystical movement that swept Brazil's desolate northeastern region in the 1890s. Vargas Llosa has immense empathy for the poor peasants who followed their messiah into the wilderness, and describes brilliantly the badlands of thorn forests and desert through which they and their pursuers have to travel. The Counselor's followers set up a utopian, communal society in the remote township of Canudos, and the Brazilian army sees this a mortal threat to the state. The soldiers set out to suppress this 'rebellion' with extreme savagery, and the stage is set for an epic and tragic showdown.
This novel and The Feast of the Goat, along with Aunt Julia and the Scriptwriter and Conversation in the Cathedral, explain why Vargas Llosa was awarded the Nobel Prize.