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Monday, April 18, 2016

The Cubs and Other Stories (1967) by Mario Vargas Llosa

The Miraflores of Lima neighborhood runs along the shore, atop a cliff above the ocean.
Book Review
The Cubs and Other Stories (1967)
by Mario Vargas Llosa

   Mario Vargas Llosa won his Nobel Prize for Literature in 2010.  Before and after that point he occupied a position as one of Latin America's premier public intellectuals, publishing both fiction and non-fiction, and doing things like running for President of Peru (as a conservative, no less.)   The Cubs and Other Stories is only book of short fiction available in English.  The characters are young men living in the wealthy Lima neighborhood of Miraflores, long before the decades long civil was with the Shining Path and other marxist guerillas tour the country apart.

  Llosa's Miraflores is hardly idyllic.   His young men are well off enough to not have money figure as their primary concern.   They wrestle with questions of masculinity and identity that blends Faulkerian narrative techniques with characters who evoke Italian neo-realism.  Vargas Llosa had six titles on the 2006 1001 Books list.  He lost three in the 2008 revision, including this one.  I wouldn't argue with that decision.  I'm sure the only reason The Cubs is on the list in the first place is because it is the "first" Vargas Llosa book you can read in English.

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