The Way to Paradise by Mario Vargas Llosa
A Novel

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A New York Times Notable Book


Flora Tristán, the illegitimate child of a wealthy Peruvian father and French mother, grows up in poverty and journeys to Peru to demand her inheritance. On her return in 1844, she makes her name as a champion of the downtrodden, touring the French countryside to recruit members for her Workers' Union.

In 1891, Flora's grandson, struggling painter and stubborn visionary Paul Gauguin, abandons his wife and five children for life in the South Seas, where his dreams of paradise are poisoned by syphilis, the stifling forces of French colonialism, and a chronic lack of funds, though he has his pick of teenage Tahitian lovers and paints some of his greatest works.


Flora died before her grandson was born, but their travels and obsessions unfold side by side in this double portrait, a rare study in passion and ambition, as well as the obstinate pursuit of greatness in the face of illness and death.

 

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 March 4, 2011 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux. 468 pages
Genres: Literature & Fiction, History, Biographies & Memoirs. Fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for The Way to Paradise

Kirkus Reviews

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It’s also a replete and lively story, whose assured construction and pacing very gradually reveal such crucial life patterns and details as Flora’s abandonment of her abusive husband and her children and discovery of sexual fulfillment with a sympathetic Polish demimondaine, and Gauguin’s aggress...

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The Guardian

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The Way to Paradise by Mario Vargas Llosa Faber £16.99, pp320 Mario Vargas Llosa has a split literary reputation.

Nov 02 2003 | Read Full Review of The Way to Paradise: A Novel

The Guardian

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The Way to Paradise by Mario Vargas Llosa 373pp, Faber, £16.99 Might it be possible, for once, to judge Mario Vargas Llosa's novel by its cover?

Nov 15 2003 | Read Full Review of The Way to Paradise: A Novel

BC Books

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Second time through I enjoyed it much more but, on finishing it, I had many of the same reservations as I did the first time around.

Jun 29 2008 | Read Full Review of The Way to Paradise: A Novel

The Sydney Morning Herald

He was seeking remnants of the old way of life - among other things, cannibalism and tolerance of mahus (men-women) - while executing those strange paintings, with their mysterious figures, vivid colours and celebration of paganism (though never entirely free of Christian overtones) on which his ...

Mar 20 2004 | Read Full Review of The Way to Paradise: A Novel

The Sunday Times

Faber £16.99 pp373 Mario Vargas Llosa’s new novel continues a debate — about politics and sexual desire — that he has been conducting with himself for most of his fictional life.

Nov 02 2003 | Read Full Review of The Way to Paradise: A Novel

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