Peruvian author Mario Vargas Llosa tells the story of his life since he was 10 years old, when he found out his father was not dead as he was told, until he makes his teenage dream come true, at age 22: he's given a scholarship in a university of Madrid (then he could move to Paris anytime he wanted).
The recount of his life in the cities of Cochabamba (Bolivia), Piura and Lima (Peru), however, are the core of this memoirs, as he's generous in details regarding the origins of his craft, from his boyhood readings of Dumas and Hugo to his youngful admiration of the works of Beckett, Malraux, Tolstoy, Hemingway, erotic authors like Sade, and even a tumultous first reading of Joyce's 'Ulysses' in a bad Spanish translation. He's fascinated with Faulkner's novels, and he studies their structure with "pen and paper", and loves european 19th Century authors such as Flaubert, Balzac and Stendhal.
In alternating chapters, Vargas Llosa writes in detail the whole story of his presidential campaign, from 1987 to 1990, which ended in defeat but put him back to the place where he always belonged, that of literature, the place where he truly is 'a fish in the water'.
The review of this Book prepared by Augusto Wong Campos