(Maria Vargas Llosa: The Storyteller, Death in the Andes)
I’ve taken a travel year with my family, heading more or less East until we find ourselves back in Quebec (or prove the Flat-Earthers correct!) I’ve always liked to read something from the places I travel to, and I thought it would make a fun quest to explore the world simultaneously through the books of each country we visit. Like a literary Anthony Bourdain.
Of course, we can’t pretend to understand a culture from a few books; we aren’t going to catalyze a series of epiphanies and insights here… …no, OK, we can pretend. And pretending is fun. And cultures are different. Arts are different. Sensibilities and worldview differ. What a boring world it would be otherwise!
And if this project doesn’t turn up any cultural insights — which I’ll be honest, insights are pretty far between for me — it will still be fun. So let’s go.
Peru: land of mystery!
The biggest of which is: who to read? It turned out, Peru has it’s own literary giant, almost comparable to Colombia’s Gabriel Garcia Marquez in terms of world and domestic stature, and poetic-polysyllabic nomenclature: Maria Vargos Llosa! That name just tastes great, doesn’t it? Say it out loud. It also doesn’t rhyme with anything. The closest are bossa nova, cosa nostra and Operation Barbarossa. And so, I gave up on my plans to write this instalment as a ballad.[Read more…]