BOOKS: Tale of a Sacrifical Llama

In a bittersweet memoir, Mario Vargas Llosa recalls his early life and his quixotic campaign for the presidency of Peru

To those of us who knew his work, Mario Vargas Llosa's campaign in the late 1980s for the presidency of his native Peru seemed to be a quixotic enterprise. Here was the acclaimed author of such works as The Time of the Hero and Aunt Julia and the Scriptwriter immersing himself in the rococo poltics of a country embattled by stratospheric inflation, pervasive corruption, severe ethnic tensions and a murderous band of Maoists known as the Shining Path. Most of Vargas Llosa's readers sighed happily when he finally lost in June 1990 to Alberto Fujimori.

Understandably, the author does not entirely...

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