Monday, February 4, 2008

Aunt Julia and the Scriptwriter

by Mario Vargas Llosa

A nice book with an interesting interweaving of plot: half of the book is an autobiography, and every other chapter is a description of a radio serial by the scriptwriter, Pedro Camacho. Poor Pedro is a workaholic, and writing is his life. He writes episodes for 10 different serials a day - no wonder he ends up mixing them up and confusing the enthusiastic and fascinated audience. It becomes really annoying at time, I must say, to read a story about someone who starts out as a football (soccer) player, and ends up as a bullfighter. The autobiography part is my favorite - the hardships of a couple in love - the author and his aunt Julia. She's not really his aunt - only the sister of his uncle's wife - but she is 14 years older than he is, and a divorcee, which is important to his Catholic family. Since he's a minor (18 year olds still need to get permission from their parents to get married in Peru of that time), they have to overcome so many obstacles, it's really exhausting just to think about it.
I read another book of his years ago, and it didn't leave any impression on me. This is definitely not the case with this book.