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3.5 

In Praise of the Stepmother

By Mario Vargas Llosa & Helen Lane
In Praise of the Stepmother by Mario Vargas Llosa & Helen Lane digital book - Fable

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Publisher Description

With meticulous observation and the seductive skill of a great storyteller, Vargas Llosa lures the reader into the shadow of perversion that, little by little, darkens the extraordinary happiness and harmony of his characters. The mysterious nature of happiness and above all, the corrupting power of innocence are the themes that underlie these pages, and the author has perfectly met the demands of the erotic novel, never dimming for an instant the fine poetic polish of his writing.

7 Reviews

3.5
“One can start reading Mario Vargas Llosa from any of his work so I started to pick In Praise of Stepmother. At first glance all reader must had felt that it was like some other erotic story, but the book is beyond that... Here we began with the story of a beautiful family with Don Rigoberto as the patriarch. He married the love of his life, Dona Lucrecia, after his previous marriage failed. He has a beautiful son, Alfonso. Soon after, moral depravity was unavoidable when Lucrecia began the affair with Alfonso after she followed his mood for being taken care of. Lust and incestuous relationship lurks to attack Rigoberto's family. Lucrecia initially thought that it would be fine to have Alfonso as the way he did it with her. She even thought that Alfonso was no other than her little cupid. "And that's all there is between us; nothing more. He's not my lover. How could he be, at his age? What was he, then? Her little cupid, she told herself. Her sprintia. The child whom Renaissance painters added to boudoir scenes so that, by contrast to their aura of purity, the love bout depicted would be more ardent. Thanks to you, Rigoberto and I love and delight each other all the more, she thought, kissing him ever so lightly on the neck." Sadly, Alfonso was more than a child in a Renaissance painting. He was a living creature with his own manipulative mind, messing up Lucrecia's mind which was already deluded in delusion after living in a fantastical sexual life with Rigoberto. No, Alfonso was not one time thing which his presence was for bonding Lucrecia and Rigoberto's love. He was a wicked child, with a smile as beautiful as Lucifer's, succeed in destroying their marriage. And his motive? No one could tell. When he was being confronted by their servant, Justiniana, Alfonso only told he did it for Justiniana, ringing another alarm that the new danger was already happening. You would hate this book at first, with its erotic sense and phrase, also because this book mainly talked about Rigoberto's bathroom ritual. But you would like it for how smart Llosa talked about the true danger of false innocent in child's world. He also used his chance to criticize the wicked life of upper class society of Lima, Peru, just like Rigoberto and Lucrecia. What I like most is how Llosa used several paintings as his references for describing the fantastical lusting life of Lucrecia and Rigoberto. He truly is a marvellous writer. "Take a good look at me, my love. Recognize me, and recognize yourself." (Llosa's interpretation of Head I by Francis Bacon. He consider the painting as Profile of a Human Being).”
“This book is a gift to the body and pleasure. Very visual. It embraces you and doesn't let you go.”

About Mario Vargas Llosa

MARIO VARGAS LLOSA was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 2010 "for his cartography of structures of power and his trenchant images of the individual's resistance, revolt, and defeat." Peru's foremost writer, he has been awarded the Cervantes Prize, the Spanish-speaking world's most distinguished literary honor, and the Jerusalem Prize. His many works include The Feast of the Goat, The Bad Girl, Aunt Julia and the Scriptwriter, The War of the End of the World, and The Storyteller. He lives in London.

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