Thursday, 1 May 2008

The Bad Girl

The Bad Girl
Mario Vargas Llosa’s latest novel The Bad Girl is all bout multifaceted woman, practical to the T but endearing. It is also about Ricardo Somocurcio, who is in love with the Bad Girl. She appears in the novel in different names and disguises, taking immense risks while pursuing money and happiness.

The forty year old romance begins with both the protagonists at the tender age of fifteen. Ricardo falls in inextricable love with her, though she treats him with utter disregard and obvious cruelty. As a teenager, he falls in love with Lily, the Chilean Girl, who keeps wiping her past with her dangerous liaisons. Next. Ricardo meets her in France, where she appears as the enchanting Comrade Arlette, an activist en route to Cuba. They become lovers, albeit an icy and remote one, disappearing at her will. She resurfaces as Madame Robert Arnoux, the wife of a high ranking UNESCO official and then as Kurico, the mistress of sinister Japanese businessman. But however poorly The Bad Girl treats him, Ricardo is doomed to worship her.

The novel proceeds to end with a twist in the tale, throwing up some of the answers at Ricardo. What is it that is bad about the Bad Girl which makes her irresistible to Ricardo? Are the answers worth the reading? Surely not.

Llosa’s latest work is a parable kind of story, with the characters drawn in deep charcoal gray. The good and the bad gets mixed up in this tremendously readable novel, though the explicit sexual acts jar the reader at times.

I have by now read three works of Llosa and found one of them reader worthy – the biographical masterpiece, The Way to Paradise. This book is only a shadow of Mario Vargas Llosa. Llosa is a Latin American writer, born and brought up in poverty ridden Peru.

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