Books: Seeing Red the Real Life of Alejandro Mayta

by Mario Vargas Llosa Farrar, Straus & Giroux 310 pages; $16.95

Misty Lima, with its quaint colonial architecture and pleasant neighborhoods, is being squeezed by invading slums. Running along a seaside road, a jogger sees servants and municipal workers dumping garbage on the cliffs. In his latest novel, Peru's Mario Vargas Llosa supersedes this real present with a likely future. In the provinces, government forces supported by U.S. Marines battle insurgents backed by the Soviet Union, Cuba and Bolivia. But it is the past that is central to the book. Its narrator is a Vargas Llosa-like writer in search of information for a novel about his former Marxist classmate Alejandro Mayta. Was...

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