Critical Context

(Masterpieces of American Fiction)

Aunt Julia and the Scriptwriter has been variously hailed as a “ribald classic,” a pure example of the “literature of exhaustion” that reflects upon itself, and a postmodern novel that ratifies Vargas Llosa’s early preeminence in el boom latino americano of the 1960’s and 1970’s. It is likely to become an international classic and one of the basic works upon which Vargas Llosa’s literary reputation will ultimately rest. Unlike most of his previous and subsequent novels (especially La guerra del fin del mundo, 1981; The War of the End of the World, 1984), it is a distinctly comic work, handled with a light touch, testimony to his versatile imagination.

Indeed, Vargas Llosa has produced a consistently first-rate series of works in the fields of criticism, journalism, fiction, and drama, explicating and elucidating the varied facets of Latin American life and culture both to fellow Latin Americans and to an increasing number of European and North American readers. While he shares, surely and clearly, the “Magical Realism” of such pioneering figures as Gabriel García Márquez and Julio Cortázar, he has transmuted this technique into a more immediately accessible form of fiction that has been widely accepted in the last half of the twentieth century.