cover image A Fish in the Water: A Memoir

A Fish in the Water: A Memoir

Mario Vargas Llosa. Farrar Straus Giroux, $25 (532pp) ISBN 978-0-374-15509-4

In a dramatic, ebullient memoir, eminent Peruvian novelist Vargas Llosa recounts his unsuccessful bid for the Peruvian presidency in 1990 on a reformist platform. Believing private enterprise to be the driving force of economic development, Vargas Llosa, who promised to end state control of the economy, discrimination and entrenched class privilege in Peru's multiracial society, rejects the oft-repeated thesis that Alberto Fujimori, who won the election, has appropriated his ideas. On the contrary, he criticizes Fujimori's regime as authoritarian and destined to propagate backwardness. The author's political saga alternates with frank chapters on his childhood, adolescence and development as a writer. His autobiography is of equal interest as a political statement and a literary testament. (May)