Thursday, October 20, 2016

In Praise of the Stepmother by Mario Vargas Llosa

I finished reading In Praise of the Stepmother by Mario Vargas Llosa this morning. Mario Vargas Llosa is a Peruvian writer who won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 2010. 

Frankly, I'd never even heard of Mario Vargas Llosa until it was announced that he'd won the Nobel Prize for Literature. So, in an effort to become more acquainted with new to me writers that have won major literary prizes, I chose to read one of Mario Vargas Llosa'a novels during the month of October as October is when the Nobel prizes are awarded.

Honestly, I didn't enjoy reading In Praise of the Stepmother by Mario Vargas Llosa very much. I don't have a problem with reading erotica per se in novels, so wasn't turned off because erotic overtures are presented in this novel... It's just that I thought In Praise of the Stepmother was a very weird, odd novel in general.The language used by the author as well as the weird fetishes and grooming habits of Don Rigoberto were just so bizarre to read about. There's also pictures of artwork throughout the novel and also chapters intermixed in this novel that seem to have nothing to do with the story whatsoever. These chapters that have nothing to do with the major plot were more interesting to read than the main storyline itself.

Plus, Don Rigoberto's second wife, Doña Lucrecia, has an inappropriate relationship with her preteen stepson, which put me off big time even though the son initiated the sexual relationship between them. The son, Alfonso, seems evil on the inside, despite looking like an angel on the outside.

The following is a plot summary for In Praise of the Stepmother by Mario Vargas Llosa from Amazon:
With meticulous observation and the seductive skill of a great storyteller, Vargas Llosa lures the reader into the shadow of perversion that, little by little, darkens the extraordinary happiness and harmony of his characters. The mysterious nature of happiness and above all, the corrupting power of innocence are the themes that underlie these pages, and the author has perfectly met the demands of the erotic novel, never dimming for an instant the fine poetic polish of his writing.
I am giving In Praise of the Stepmother by Mario Vargas Llosa 1 star out of 5 stars. I will skip on reading another novel by Mario Vargas Llosa in the future.

Until my next post, happy reading!


  1. Well, I can certainly understand your reaction to this one! It appears to be one of his later novels, published in 2002. The ones I have read are from the 1960s. But he is very graphic about sexuality already in those.

    1. Good to know that his theme of sexuality is a constant theme throughout his career!

      As I mentioned in my post, I'll be skipping on reading any other works by Mario Vargas Llosa in the future.