The notebooks of Don Rigoberto / Mario Vargas Llosa ; translated by Edith Grossman.
Booklist Monthly Selections - #1 March 1998
Deliciously challenging, delightfully lurid, the latest novel by the famous Peruvian writer tempts the reader into the world of a married couple from Lima, the successful Don Rigoberto and his second wife, Lucrecia. Husband and wife, as the story opens, are separated; a sexual interlude took place between Don Rigoberto's young son and Lucrecia, and for allowing it to happen, Lucrecia had to move out of the house to live on her own, by her husband's demand. Rigoberto has a vivid imagination, and in his wife's absence--to keep loneliness at bay because of her absence--he inscribes in notebooks, by night, his remembrances and fantasies and wishes vis-a-vis her sexual abilities. His young son, at the same time, visits Lucrecia regularly to attempt a reconciliation between father and stepmother. What is real about this couple's lives and what is simply embroidery by Don Rigoberto in his notebooks? Vargas Llosa makes certain the reader is not always certain. This is not a novel of great narrative drive; its strengths are its lush language and suitably languid tone in depicting the satisfaction of sexual congress. ((Reviewed March 1, 1998)) Copyright 2000 Booklist Reviews
LJ Reviews 1999 January #1
Since Freud, we've all been aware of the relationship between creativity and procreativity, but few writers have explored the link in such luminous, celebratory detail. Don Rigoberto may or may not be encouraging his estranged wife to engage in lusciously described sex it could all be inventions in hisnotebook and the estrangement may or may not result from a sexual encounter between Doña Lucrecia and her husband's prepubescent son, but it hardly matters. What matters is the extraordinary language and the way Vargas Llosa makes readersrethink love, sex, and imagination. (LJ 4/1/98) Copyright 1999 Library Journal Reviews