Book: Mario Vargas Llosa

By admin
18 March 2011

Fifteen-year-old Ricardo meets mysterious Lily in ’50s Lima and is instantly smitten. When it’s revealed she has been lying about her identity she disappears and Ricardo moves on.

He becomes an interpreter and settles down in Paris but through his Peruvian contacts he once again meets the Bad Girl, now a revolutionary, Comrade Arlette.

He falls for her and again she rebuffs him, disappearing to Cuba into the arms of a wealthier, more powerful man.

This is a pattern that will repeat over the course of their lives: the Bad Girl seeking ever more dangerous relationships, always returning to Ricardo in various states of disrepair and he is driven to the brink of madness by her cruelty.

It’s a compulsive story of obsession and identity by a Nobel Prize-winning writer and I couldn’t put it down.

The unexpected way in which the Bad Girl ultimately redeems herself is wonderfully moving.

The Bad Girl by Mario Vargas Llosa

Faber & Faber, R119,95

Rating: 4/5

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