Old Flame the Perpetual Orgy: Flaubert and Madame Bovary by Mario Vargas Llosa

Translated by Helen Lane; Farrar, Straus & Giroux; 240 pages; $17.95

Mario Vargas Llosa's autobiographical novel Aunt Julia and the Scriptwriter amorously paired a young man with an older woman. In The Perpetual Orgy, a highly original work of nonfiction, part literary testament and part critical study of Madame Bovary, the author confesses to carrying a torch for the novel's heroine, soon to be 130. Peru's Vargas Llosa belongs to a long line of Emma Bovary's professional admirers. Gustave Flaubert's scandalous character has vamped the imaginations and intellects of writers from Baudelaire to Woody Allen, whose l971 short story The Kugelmass Episode conjures a contemporary character who can transport himself to Yonville...

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