Much Ado About Not Much At All

Repeated exposure to the oft celebrated work of their writers and film-makers may not make it any easier to read the Latin American male mind. The macho world view many of them present can seem predictable and childish to readers and viewers from other parts. Even Nobel laureate (as of 2010) Mario Vargas Llosa is not immune, in Aunt Julia and the Scriptwriter most notably. The titular heroine, the narrator’s Bolivian ‘Aunt’ Julia, shapes up in the early stages as a character of potential depth and interest, but progressively – as seen through the eyes of her much younger paramour, the moonstruck Mario – comes to more closely resemble a cardboard cut-out, the flesh and blood manifestation of every Lima boy’s wet dream. The story of this pair is intertwined every other chapter with that of another Bolivian, one Pedro Camacho. The enigmatic scriptwriter of the title, he grinds his fingers to the bone churning out absurdist radio theatre narratives at a prolific rate of knots. For a considerable time they leave his audience entranced only for this to eventually change into mystification. Many readers of the melange that is this novel may have a similar reaction to Aunt Julia and the Scriptwriter or, worse, find it as instantly forgettable as Camacho’s zany narratives. Melodrama permeates both art and life to such a degree that the one can often appear indistinguishable from the other? Figure that out for yourselves. But if this is the author’s point he takes many pages to make it. At any rate, world literature can be thankful Vargas Llosa did not ‘typecast’ himself with this exercise in nostalgia. Aficionados may find it worthwhile. Others may prefer to pass and go straight to one of his more substantial works. While on the subject, The Bad Girl deals more meaningfully with the theme of the head over heels boy / man trying to reconcile himself to an elusive, eternally obscure object of desire. And for all her ‘badness’, at least she is a heroine with some oomph.

 

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About owenlindsayboyd

I am a follower of the teachings of Paramahansa Yogananda - author of Autobiography of a Yogi. I begin and end each day with meditation, a spiritual base from which all else proceeds. I am a personal carer, writer and traveller, among other things, originally from just outside Melbourne in Australia. I lived in my hometown until 1984, obtaining a degree in Arts, with majors in sociology and communication studies, in 1980. I have spent a considerable amount of time since the late eighties living and working in a wide range of communities in many different parts of the world. I have lived and worked with homeless people, disabled people and refugees. As a writer, I am principally a novelist though I also write shorter pieces, both fiction and non-fiction and have published and self-published poetry, articles, short stories, memoirs and novels. In addition, I write screenplays and have made a number of low-budget film productions. In recent years I self-published a trilogy of novels dealing, principally, with the themes of healing and reconciliation. 'The Unintentional Healing of Soul' (Changeling / Trafford 2003) was followed by 'Proper Respect for a Wound' (Changeling / Trafford 2005) and 'Thanks Be to the World' (Changeling / Trafford 2009). 'Proper Respect for a Wound' was also published in e-book format by Jaffa Books, Brisbane, Australia in 2013. I self-published a two-book travel memoir, 'The Second of Three' and 'From a Caregiver's Point of View' early in 2014. It is distributed on smashwords. Later in 2014 I plan to publish a book of stories.
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