cover image La Fiesta del Chivo

La Fiesta del Chivo

Mario Vargas Llosa. Aguilar, Altea, Taurus, Alfaguara, S.A. de C., $24.95 (518pp) ISBN 978-968-19-0699-3

Vargas Llosa attempts to give a historic explanation of the cruel tyranny of the dictatorship of Rafael Trujillo in the Dominican Republic in his latest novel. Through Urania, the daughter of one of Trujillo's cronies who returns to her native Santo Domingo after many years of absence, Vargas Llosa narrates a short period of stagnation and corruption in the Dominican Republic. The Trujillista era is one of infamy and vileness, in which psychopaths and murderers offered the dictator their wives and daughters for orgies and sadistic acts of deflowering in exchange for political favors. In his usual style, Vargas Llosa skillfully uses language to demystify subjects that could easily offend. The book is undoubtably more fiction than history, yet it is obvious that the author did ample research on the period. In spite of the repugnance readers may feel toward the fictional characters, Vargas Llosa does not make a direct judgment of this abominable time. Even in the absence of personal opinion, he successfully portrays a tragic era that left a lasting imprint on the history of the Dominican Republic. Highly recommended for public and academic libraries and all bookstores. Liliana Wendorff, Fayetteville Technical Community Coll., NC