Nominated by:

Biblioteca Demonstrativa Maria da Conceição Moreira Salles – Ministério da Cultura, Brasilia, Brazil

Publisher of nominated edition:

Farrar, Straus & Giroux, USA

The Discreet Hero

Mario Vargas Llosa    

Translated from the original Spanish by Edith Grossman

2017 Longlist

Nobel laureate Mario Vargas Llosa’s newest novel follows two fascinating characters whose lives are destined to intersect: neat, endearing Felícito Yanaqué, a small businessman in Piura, Peru, who finds himself the victim of blackmail; and Ismael Carrera, a successful owner of an insurance company in Lima, who cooks up a plan to avenge himself against the two lazy sons who want him dead.
Felícito and Ismael are, each in his own way, quiet, discreet rebels: honorable men trying to seize control of their destinies in a social and political climate where all can seem set in stone, predetermined. They are hardly vigilantes, but each is determined to live according to his own personal ideals and desires—which means forcibly rising above the pettiness of their surroundings. The Discreet Hero is also a chance to revisit some of our favorite players from previous Vargas Llosa novels: Sergeant Lituma, Don Rigoberto, Doña Lucrecia, and Fonchito are all here in a prosperous Peru. Vargas Llosa sketches Piura and Lima vividly—and the cities become not merely physical spaces but realms of the imagination populated by his vivid characters.

(from publisher)

About the Author

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.” He has been awarded the Cervantes Prize, the Spanish-speaking world’s most distinguished literary honor. His many works include The Feast of the Goat, The Bad Girl, and Aunt Julia and the Scriptwriter.

Librarian’s Comments

Strange as it may seem, since the story deals with very dramatic and delicate situations in the lives of characters, it is entertaining reading, mostly because Vargas Llosa’s writing is always quite enjoyable. Despite sounding as a soap opera plot, this book does not disappoint the readers; it is still a story that honors the well-deserved Nobel Prize granted to the author.

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