Following the Nobel Prize–winning author's stunning historical epic The War of the End of the World, this 1984 novel (translated into English in 1986) is Mario Vargas Llosa's astute psychological portrait of a modern revolutionary and a searching account of an old friend's struggle to understand him.
"[This] novel is based on a historical incident and points to the futility of fanaticism in politics. The narrator is a novelist investigating the life of Mayta, who participated in a fiasco of a rebellion 30 years before. To those he interviews the narrator readily admits his intention to write a novel, and the novel he writes is a skillful blend of events and his investigations into them. When asked why he goes to so much trouble digging up the past, he answers, 'Because I'm a realist, in my novels I always try to lie knowing why I do it.' The real fascination in this novel is that it is the story of its own creation."—Library Journal