The Neighborhood by Mario Vargas Llosa
A Novel

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...the lurid, telenovela lives of the wealthy supply only broad, unresolved ironies about class—in more than one definition—and some cringe-inducing sex scenes. A colorful but confusing and ultimately disappointing work by a great writer.
-Kirkus

Synopsis

A thrilling tale of desire and Peruvian corruption swirls around a scandalous exposé that leads to murder

From the Nobel Laureate comes a politically charged detective novel weaving through the underbelly of Peruvian privilege. In the 1990s, during the turbulent and deeply corrupt years of Alberto Fujimori’s presidency, two wealthy couples of Lima’s high society become embroiled in a disturbing vortex of erotic adventures and politically driven blackmail.

One day Enrique, a high-profile businessman, receives a visit from Rolando Garro, the editor of a notorious magazine that specializes in salacious exposés. Garro presents Enrique with lewd pictures from an old business trip and demands that he invest in the magazine. Enrique refuses, and the next day the pictures are on the front page. Meanwhile, Enrique’s wife is in the midst of a passionate and secret affair with the wife of Enrique’s lawyer and best friend. When Garro shows up murdered, the two couples are thrown into a whirlwind of navigating Peru’s unspoken laws and customs, while the staff of the magazine embark on their greatest exposé yet.

Ironic and sensual, provocative and redemptive, the novel swirls into the kind of restless realism that has become Mario Vargas Llosa’s signature style. A twisting, unpredictable tale, The Neighborhood is at once a scathing indictment of Fujimori’s regime and a crime thriller that evokes the vulgarity of freedom in a corrupt system.

 

About Mario Vargas Llosa

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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. Edith Grossman has translated the works of the Nobel laureates Mario Vargas Llosa and Gabriel García Márquez, among others. One of the most important translators of Latin American fiction, her version of Miguel de Cervantes's Don Quixote is considered to be the finest translation of the Spanish masterpiece in the English language.
 
Published February 27, 2018 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux. 256 pages
Genres: Political & Social Sciences, Mystery, Thriller & Suspense, Crime, Literature & Fiction. Fiction
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Critic reviews for The Neighborhood
All: 3 | Positive: 0 | Negative: 3

Kirkus

Below average
on Nov 28 2017

...the lurid, telenovela lives of the wealthy supply only broad, unresolved ironies about class—in more than one definition—and some cringe-inducing sex scenes. A colorful but confusing and ultimately disappointing work by a great writer.

Read Full Review of The Neighborhood: A Novel | See more reviews from Kirkus

Guardian

Below average
Reviewed by Ben East on May 13 2018

It’s a shame, though, that these characters, especially the journalist Shorty and a once-famous old man called Juan, who becomes entwined in the murder plot, never really get the chance to be anything other than side-stories...Llosa’s craft is only intermittently on display here, but he still has the power to enthral.

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Toronto Star

Above average
Reviewed by Trevor Corkum on Mar 09 2018

The author is superbly skilled at demonstrating how class and race intersect to privilege or undermine ordinary Peruvians. While little sympathy is felt for the Miami-trotting, navel-gazing world of Enrique and his set, this perhaps is Vargas Llosa’s intention.

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