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Aunt Julia and the Scriptwriter Paperback – 4 Nov 2004

3.6 out of 5 stars 22 customer reviews

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Paperback, 4 Nov 2004
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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 2.2 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (22 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 462,855 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

'Without doubt a magnificent novel - comic, imaginative . . . written with a feeling for the language that is quite remarkable.' -- Daily Telegraph

'A comic novel on the grand scale, written with tremendous confidence and verve . . . Llosa's huge energy and inventiveness is extravagant and fabulously funny.' --New Statesman

'This novel is as full of fizz as a giant pack of sherbet, witty, wise and wonderful in equal proportions.' -- Sunday Times

'A novel of immense vitality and imagination.' --Literary Review

'A comic novel that is genuinely funny . . . [and] never ceases to entertain.' --New York Times --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Book Description

A newly repackaged edition of Aunt Julia and the Scriptwriter, a classic Mario Vargas Llosa novel. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

3.6 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

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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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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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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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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