The fictional world of Mario Vargas Llosa is one of complex novels, of murals of characters, of actions whose significance the reader must determine, of vast edifices that aspire to become total realities. Vargas Llosa’s vision of reality is consistently binary, as can be seen from the titles of some of his works. The tension created by the opposition between the two realities is felt both by the characters within the novels and by the reader, and it is the prime factor in the dramatic nature of Vargas Llosa’s style. In his early short stories and in his first novel, he focused thenarrative on existential gestures, those acts or words that irrevocably set into action the course of a character’s fate. As his novels grew more complex, Vargas Llosa concentrated on long dialogues that gave the intricate structures their cohesion. When he turned to humor and satire, he reverted to the emphasis on gestures, tag words, and brief but revealing verbal interchanges between characters. The War of the End of the World resembles those massive descriptions of entire epochs that characterized fiction in the nineteenth century (which is precisely the period that gives life to the novel’s plot). Vargas Llosa, then, has never contented himself with one style; rather, he has continued to adjust his narrative procedure to the subject at hand.
The influences to which Vargas Llosa has submitted himself for apprenticeship are, with the exception of the Peruvian...
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