Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Mario Vargas Llosa: 'the novels we read now are purely entertainment'

Approaching 80, Mario Vargas Llosa tells Tim Martin of his unabated hunger to change the world through fiction

Subversive: Mario Vargas Llosa
Subversive: Mario Vargas Llosa  Photo: Clara Molden
Aged 78 and with the Nobel Prize for Literature behind him, the Peruvian writer Mario Vargas Llosa has now begun an acting career. Or has he? “No, no no!” he laughs delightedly, rocking on the sofa of his rented apartment in Knightsbridge. “My acting career is already over! But what an incredible, rich experience – I’ve never had so much fear in my life! Ah ha ha!”

What a delightful laugh he has: a joyous, anarchic, room-filling noise so infectious that, days after our meeting on a grey spring afternoon, I find myself giggling helplessly as I listen to the transcript.

Our conversation about his latest novel, The Discreet Hero, is well off track by now; instead, we’ve started discussing his appearance on stage in Madrid earlier this year in Los cuentos de la peste, his own “very free” adaptation of some stories in Bocaccio’s Decameron.

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