The novel thematizes the Westernization of indigenous peoples through missions and through anthropological studies, and questions the perceived notion that indigenous cultures are set in stone. The plot develops an extended argument of two sides of what to do with Peru's native Amazonian populations. One side argues that tribes should be left alone to live as they have for millennia, leaving them full access and use of their ancient lands. The other side posits that such ancient ways cannot survive the exploitation of economic interests.
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Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read. Want to Read saving…. Want to Read Currently Reading Read. Other editions. Enlarge cover. Error rating book. Refresh and try again. Open Preview See a Problem? Details if other :. Thanks for telling us about the problem. Return to Book Page. The Storyteller by Mario Vargas Llosa ,.
Helen Lane Translator. At a small gallery in Florence, a Peruvian writer happens upon a photograph of a tribal storyteller deep in the jungles of the Amazon.
He is overcome with the eerie sense that he knows this man As recollections of Zuratas flow through his mind, the writer begins to imagine Zuratas's tran. As recollections of Zuratas flow through his mind, the writer begins to imagine Zuratas's transformation from a modern to a central member of the unacculturated Machiguenga tribe. Weaving the mysteries of identity, storytelling, and truth, Vargas Llosa has created a spellbinding tale of one man's journey from the modern world to our origins, abandoning one in order to find meaning in both.
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Mar 07, Fabian rated it it was amazing. Two strands make up this phantasmagorical These, only part of the added element to the overall fantasia, are responsible for the magical osmosis that occurs when two different styles are interwoven, their overlap signifying a chemical reaction which elevates the work wholly to a new level of genius.
Without all the pieces glued together, decoupaged, it would all have been a completely failed attempt well, at least two half-stories, with no synthesis between them. I had a great time figuring out why this was being told, and why in this way and then it dawned on me: it HAS to exist, otherwise it would be forever lost.
A must! Jul 28, BlackOxford rated it it was amazing Shelves: spanish-american , favourites , philosophy-theology. The Snares of Grace What attracts us to a certain kind of life? To a place? To another person? Obviously it is not the bare facts of their existence. Our emotional calculus is subjective.
We select the facts that matter to us or perhaps they are selected for us. We weave these facts into stories to which we then mysteriously become committed. Our lives take on a direction, spiritually as well as geographically.
We become devoted to a cause, to something that we come to consider part of ourselve The Snares of Grace What attracts us to a certain kind of life? We become devoted to a cause, to something that we come to consider part of ourselves.
We fall in love. Religious people call this process being touched by grace. And certainly it feels as if one has been affected by an alien presence, something entirely outside of oneself. And there is some truth in this feeling because the stories we concoct are never ours alone.
No story rises up without a history like Venus from the sea. Some stories are attractive because they are familiar. But others are compelling because they are so different from any we have heard before.
The key difference need not be in the story itself but in the unstated presumptions about what is important in life, about what should be noticed, even about what it means to be human. Conversion implies a loss of oneself, or at least the self one has been. The new self is only incipient in the stories in which one has enmeshed oneself.
It emerges fully only through the unique re-telling of these stories. It is forged little by little, in the folds of the spirit, tangential to reason, shielded from indiscreet eyes, not seeking the approval of others—who would never grant it—until it is at last put into practice. The best stories are those that include other stories those 0f other animals as well as humans.
If the story is good enough for those who hear it, it can unify them against stories and religions from elsewhere that have nothing to do with their own experience. Vargas-Llosa demonstrates how explicitly in his alternate chapters on the tales of the hablador. His stories start out modestly about a single tribe and their origins and responsibilities. They then extend further up into the Andes to incorporate Inca and other mountain traditions, including those of the Sky gods.
Ultimately the stories extend to a re-telling of Judaic persecution and diaspora and of Christian accounts of the birth and death of Jesus. There is even an intriguing digression into the nature of language and its dangers that is worthy of Wittgenstein or the Kabbalah. The hablador forgets nothing and ensures everything fits in a coherent narrative whole.
This syncretistic innovation is its strength. The story rejects nothing; yet it insists on nothing. Postscript: As yet there has been no story told that is compelling enough to stop the exploitation of the Amazonian jungle or its inhabitants more than a half century after the events in The Storyteller. View all 12 comments. The Storyteller by Mario Vargas Llosa is at the same time a memoir by a journalist about a friend of his that he believed dead and a joyous complex voyage through the legends and mythology of the Michiguenga tribe of the Amazonian basin in Peru.
The narrator comes across a picture of an hablador a storyteller who he comes to recognize as his friend who, somewhat like Kurtz in Conrad's Heart of Darkness has melded with the Indian tribes and become their hablador. The book alternates between the The Storyteller by Mario Vargas Llosa is at the same time a memoir by a journalist about a friend of his that he believed dead and a joyous complex voyage through the legends and mythology of the Michiguenga tribe of the Amazonian basin in Peru.
It is both a slice of irreplaceable culture now most likely extinct and this also a sad reminder of how the encroachment of Western "civilizing" missionaries and later cocaine growing cartels destroyed the Amazonian tribes over several generations. An interesting set of references back to Vargas Llosa's second book The Green House also surfaces where we see the Indian chief Jum tortured for trying organize resistance to the rape and pillage by the Viracochas Indian name for the missionaries and soldiers of the Peruvian government.
Mario Vargas Llosa wrote a dazzling story of preservation and melancholy regret in The Storyteller which is, again, a fascinating view from the other side of the cultural divide than that he wrote in The Green House. Dec 08, brian rated it liked it. View all 14 comments. Sep 26, K. A work of genius, and in my opinion, the best from this author. It's not an easy read, but on the second or third read-through it yields treasures that have permanently inflected my ways of seeing the world and the people in it, of telling stories, and of finding voice.
Most of my students hated it, despite my enthusiasm for it, but the brightest ones gradually realized its power. View 1 comment. In particular Zuratas becomes immersed in the culture of a people called the Machiguenga, who live in the Peruvian Province of Madre De Dios.
The time setting stretches from the s to the s. From my perspective MVL does an extremely good job in presenting a world view that is entirely different from mine. As far as I can make out this is because the Machiguenga do not have personal names. In this novel, the Machiguenga are presented as a timid and somewhat fatalistic people. However, the modern world is closing in. You must learn that, Tasurinchi. They always get to where we are in the end.
As always with MVL, the reader is left to make up his or her own mind. Identity and belonging are the other themes of the book.
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