Books: Back In Time

THE STORYTELLER by Mario Vargas Llosa

Translated by Helen Lane

Farrar, Straus & Giroux

246 pages; $17.95

The unnamed narrator of Mario Vargas Llosa's ninth novel has practically everything in common with his creator: age (early 50s), nationality (Peruvian), occupation (writer). Similarly, the two share a common cosmopolitanism, having spent large swatches of their adult lives in Europe. An autobiographical strain has often appeared in Vargas Llosa's fiction, perhaps most notably and entertainingly in Aunt Julia and the Scriptwriter (1982). The Storyteller captures the author -- and his surrogate -- in a subdued and ruminative mood.

The reflections are triggered by...

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