Vargas Llosa Keeps the Passion in His Marriage with Literature Alive

By Dialogo
January 22, 2009

Soon to be 73 years old, half a century after his foray into the literary world, the award-‎winning Peruvian novelist Mario Vargas Llosa stated in an interview published this ‎Thursday by the Uruguayan press, that his “marriage” with literature is still “alive and ‎passionate.” The Uruguayan writer Juan Carlos Onetti “said that his relationship with literature was ‎adulterous, and mine was matrimonial. And that’s true, but my relationship never ‎provoked yawning or became routine. It is a marriage that has stayed very alive and ‎passionate,” said Vargas Llosa to the weekly Búsqueda. ‎ ‎After finishing the essay “El Viaje a la Ficción,” set in an imaginary world in which Onetti ‎sought refuge, the award-winning Peruvian writer, who holds 40 honorary degrees from ‎universities all around the world, including the Sorbonne, Harvard, Yale, and Oxford, is in ‎his homeland preparing his next work. ‎ ‎“I am working on a novel inspired by a historical character. The protagonist is ‎Roger ‎Casement, an Irishman who was British Consul in the Congo at the end of the 19th century ‎and beginning of the 20th century,” he said. ‎ ‎“Then, during the “rubber boom,” he was in the Amazon, and wrote a devastating report ‎about the atrocities that were committed there” against the indiginous population. He also stated that it is about “a character who lives an adventurous life, and who was a ‎friend of the (British) writer Joseph Conrad”.‎ ‎ In order to prepare his book, last October Vargas Llosa visited the Democratic Republic of ‎Congo for two weeks. “It was a trip into human cruelty, a trip of which I will talk another ‎time,” he said. ‎ ‎ ‎ The author of “La Ciudad y los Perros,” “La Guerra del Fin del Mundo,” “La Tía Julia y el ‎‎Escribidor,” and “Conversación en la Catedral,” among other novels, expects to arrive in ‎Montevideo around the middle of this year to present “El Viaje a la Ficción,” ‎during ‎ceremonies in memory of the centennial of Onetti's birthday (1909-1994).‎