The Dream of the Celt

Mario Vargas Llosa, trans. from the Spanish by Edith Grossman. Farrar, Straus and Giroux, $28 (368p) ISBN 978-0-374-14346-6
A Nobel Prize for Literature winner (in 2010) and one-time Peruvian presidential candidate, Vargas Llosa chronicles the life of Roger Casement, an Irish patriot and human rights activist, or “specialist in atrocities,” who was executed by the British in 1916 after the Easter Rising, which heralded the beginning of Irish independence. This is a meticulously researched book about a deeply complex man; Vargas Llosa’s admirable powers as a writer of fiction are apparent when he slows the pace of the narrative to allow access to Casement’s thoughts as he languishes in prison, waiting to hear whether his stay of execution has been granted. Vargas Llosa (The Bad Girl) is at his best writing as a novelist rather than biographer, but the unnecessarily complex narrative structure in which Casement’s life story unfolds at a galloping pace achieves neither the best of biography nor the best of fiction. Readers will wish that the book was either one or the other. Agent: The Carmen Balcells Agency. (June 12)
Reviewed on: 04/30/2012
Release date: 06/05/2012
Genre: Fiction
Paperback - 404 pages - 978-0-571-27572-4
Paperback - 358 pages - 978-1-250-03332-1
Paperback - 512 pages - 978-0-571-27574-8
Open Ebook - 368 pages - 978-1-4668-1616-9
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