Conversation in The Cathedral Book Summary and Study Guide

Detailed plot synopsis reviews of Conversation in The Cathedral

The dictatorship of Manuel Odria (1948-1956) has devastated the society of Peru in all its branches, politics, journalism, culture. In the mid fifties, a high-class college student, Santiago Zavala, believes in freedom of expression and, with other partners, rebels against the government, publishing revolutionary papers while studying books on Marxism and Communism.
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Soon after, however, Santiago notices his actions don't harm their enemy at all and then he's depressed at the thought that what they're doing might be only a child's battle against grown-ups. He quits the rebellion when he's sent to spend a night in prison after being caught printing papers. Also, Santiago confronts his wealthy father and leaves home. (His father made his fortune by selling medications to state hospitals, through relations with the dictatorship.)

Santiago doesn't believe in himself nor others anymore. Once, his destiny was a place in a law school surrounded by the big shots. Now, in the sixties, being an obscure journalist married to a low-class nurse making enough money to survive, he meets one of his father's bodyguards, Ambrosio. They share some beers in a bar called The Cathedral.

There, they begin to recall the 16-year dictatorship at speed of lightning, with a scene amounting to the next, the past made present through the eyes of Santiago's family members, frustrated love affairs, political partners, betrayed friends and the future Santiago shattered: an individual future which represents a society being taken away of its dreams and hopes.
The review of this Book prepared by Augusto Wong Campos

Chapter Analysis of Conversation in The Cathedral

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Plot & Themes

Tone of book?    -   depressed Time/era of story    -   1930's-1950's Political/social activism    -   Yes Plotlet:    -   surviving repressive dictatorship Is this an adult or child's book?    -   Adult or Young Adult Book

Main Character

Gender    -   Male Profession/status:    -   journalist Age:    -   20's-30's Ethnicity/Nationality    -   Hispanic/Latinic


How much descriptions of surroundings?    -   4 () The Americas (not US):    -   Yes The Americas:    -   South

Writing Style

Sex in book?    -   Yes What kind of sex:    -   descript of kissing    -   touching of anatomy    -   orgies    -   impregnation/reproduction    -   lesbians!    -   actual description of hetero sex    -   Boob talk!    -   Vagia talk!    -   Weiner talk!    -   two guys doing it Lot of foul language?    -   Yes Amount of dialog    -   significantly more dialog than descript

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Mario Vargas Llosa Books Note: the views expressed here are only those of the reviewer(s).
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