Vargas Llosa, Mario, 1936- author.
xxiii, 275 pages ; 22 cm
“Originally published in Spanish in 2009 by Santillana Ediciones Generales, Spain, as Sables y Utopías.”
Foreword: The instinctive struggle for freedom / by Carlos Granés — The fall of Somoza — Toward a totalitarian Peru — The perfect dictatorship — Death in Haiti — Fidel and his “melancholy whores” — Funeral rites for a tyrant — Warning to dictators — The leader’s honor — Letter to Fidel Castro — The logic of terror — Good terrorists — Down with the law of gravity! — The apogee of horror — No more FARC — For the history of infamy — Death of the Caudillo — Elephant and culture — Why? How? — The “hispanics” — Nostalgia for the sea — Repugnant laudatory fare — The other state — The defeat of fascism — A call for harmony — Empty the shelves! — Between namesakes — Liberalism across two millennia — Dreams and reality in Latin America — Hunting gays — Marijuana comes out of the closet — Julian Assange on the balcony — Lost identity — The students — José Donoso; or, A life made into literature — Cabrera infante — Welcome to Fernando de Szyszlo — Friendship and books — Fifty years of the Latin American boom.
“Throughout his career, the Nobel Prize winner Mario Vargas Llosa has grappled with the concept of Latin America on a global stage. Examining liberal claims and searching for cohesion, he continuously weighs the reality of the continent against the image it projects, and considers the political dangers and possibilities that face this diverse set of countries. Now this illuminating and versatile collection assembles these never-before-translated criticisms and meditations. Reflecting the intellectual development of the writer himself, these essays distill the great events of Latin America’s recent history, analyze political groups like FARC and Sendero Luminoso, and evaluate the legacies of infamous leaders such as Papa Doc Duvalier and Fidel Castro. Arranged by theme, they trace Vargas Llosa’s unwavering demand for freedom, his embrace of and disenchantment with revolutions, and his critique of nationalism, populism, indigenism, and corruption. From the discovery of liberal ideas to a defense of democracy, buoyed by a passionate invocation of Latin American literature and art, Sabers and Utopias is a monumental collection from one of our most important writers. Uncompromising and adamantly optimistic, these social and political essays are a paean to thoughtful engagement and a brave indictment of the discrimination and fear that can divide a society..”–Jacket flap.