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5.0 out of 5 stars A funny read
What a wonderfully structured book!. I don't want to go into detail about this as it would give away the game. It is a very funny book about a peruvian radio station in the 50's and the characters who inhabit it. Gives a wonderful flavour of the place .
Published on Nov. 15 2003 by Glen1975

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3.0 out of 5 stars Entertaining fluff; could�ve been better assembled
This is definitely an entertaining read, and very funny at that. The (autobiographical?) protagonist, Mario, falls in love with his "aunt" Julia (not a blood relation), the kind of relationship that is the stuff of radio soap operas - meanwhile, Mario's coworker and confidant is the enigmatic and pseudobohemian/pseudointellectual Pedro Camacho, the most popular...
Published on June 19 2001 by Yaumo Gaucho


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4.0 out of 5 stars Life as soap opera, Dec 28 2003
By 
Dean Campbell (El Paso, TX USA) - See all my reviews
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This entertaining and humorous novel by the well known Peruvian/Spanish writer Mario Vargas Llosa is a thinly disguised account of his eighteenth year of life during the 1950's in Lima, Peru. The author, nominally a law student whose physical absence from classes is matched only by his lack of interest in same, begins a madcap romance with his 32-year-old "Aunt" Julia (related only by marriage, not blood), recently divorced from her Bolivian husband and returned to Lima to live with her family. The two must keep the "affair" secret from their extended family and his violent and domineering father who resides in the U.S. For help they turn to a cousin, the coquette Nancy, and her devoted would-be boyfriend, Javier. Young Mario ("Marito" or "Varguitas to his friends and Julia) works in the news department of the local radio station in the last years before television, and there meets Pedro Camacho, the station's new director and writer of over-the-top soap operas, also recently arrived from Bolivia. Camacho is a prolific and eccentric hack who lives only for his "art," while Mario is a would-be short story writer whose ambitious work product ends up in the waste basket because it fails to meet his own artistic standards.
As the plot unfolds Mario's life and Pedro's art spiral out of control, and both their lives come to resemble Pedro's fantastic on-air creations. Julia and the under-age Mario fall in love, their affair is discovered, and they begin a frantic search for a corrupt and/or ignorant magistrate who will marry them before the arrival of his revolver-toting father hell-bent on separating the two and sending Julia packing. Pedro develops a series of super-popular soaps (the 10:00 o'clock, the 11:00 o'clock, the 12:00 o'clock, etc., etc.) only to see his success threatened when the exhaustion brought on by his 24-7 work schedule causes him to confuse the characters and the plot lines.
Will the lovers-on-the-lam find a sympathetic magistrate somewhere in Peru before our hero's fire-breathing father catches up with them? Can Pedro Camacho sort out his soaps before outraged listeners deluge the station management with so many complaints that they fire him? Will Mario ever realize his life's goal of becoming a real artist? Can Pedro "get a grip" or will he descend into madness? For answers to those and other pressing questions, tune in tomorrow! . . . . No wait. You'll have to read the book.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A funny read, Nov. 15 2003
This review is from: Aunt Julia and the Scriptwriter (Faber Essentials) (Paperback)
What a wonderfully structured book!. I don't want to go into detail about this as it would give away the game. It is a very funny book about a peruvian radio station in the 50's and the characters who inhabit it. Gives a wonderful flavour of the place .
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4.0 out of 5 stars Life as soap opera, life as art, Aug. 7 2003
By 
D. Cloyce Smith (Brooklyn, NY) - See all my reviews
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At its most basic level, Vargas Llosa's most famous novel is a portrait of the writer as a young man. The semi-fictional, semi-autobiographical Mario is a young student and would-be writer whose careers and aspirations are disrupted when he falls in love with his aunt-in-law, much to the horror of their many friends and relatives living in Lima. Pedro Camacho, an eccentric (to say the least) Bolivian scriptwriter, has been hired at the radio station where Mario works, and the youth envies the prodigious output of Pedro's intricate soap operas and hopes to learn from his new mentor the secrets of being an artist. The chapters alternate between descriptions of Mario's amusing and increasingly complicated life and Pedro's formulaic and decreasingly coherent scripts, as each character is gradually overwhelmed by the burdens and expectations they've created for themselves.
On a deeper level, "Aunt Julia and the Scriptwriter" is about artistic failure: Mario's writing suffers because he is too busy living life to the fullest, while Pedro's well-being deteriorates because he barely experiences life at all. While Mario's life is the stuff of literature, his various attempts at short fiction are too concerned with artistic affectation: heavy symbolism and laborious overwriting doom his every effort. In contrast, the scriptwriter is so overwhelmed maintaining the pace of the scripts for ten different serials that he can't keep track of his own sense of reality, much less his fictional characters and elaborate plots. The final chapter, which some readers have found disappointing, actually completes this theme: the writer who balances a passion for life and devotion to art is the one who ultimately succeeds.
I was about a third of the way through this book when I realized that I'd already read it, about twenty years ago. I think the reason that this novel didn't make much of an impression on me when I younger is that, in spite of the book's literary themes and the author's competent prose, the book remains true to its soap opera motif. Also, other than the three main protagonists, Mario's many relatives and coworkers are as indistinguishable as the heroes and victims in Pedro's soap operas. Still, given the popular and critical success of this novel, I'm actually surprised it seems to be out of print, and the reader looking for a light, humorous romp through Lima will be well rewarded by hunting down a used copy of this book.
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5.0 out of 5 stars As good as it gets!, July 28 2003
By 
Irina Iacobescu (Dubai, UAE) - See all my reviews
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When I really think about it, the worst thing I can say about Aunt Julia and the Scriptwriter is that I did not want the book to end so soon. Like all great books, the story transported me to another place, in this case it is Lima in the 1950s. Here, aunts like fiction but they don't enjoy literature. And scriptwriters don't write literature, but produce large quantities of fiction.

Before the appearance of television, in Peru, the radio theatre (the ancestor of today's soap operas) was an important presence in the lives of the citizens of Lima. At Radio Central, a scriptwriter, Pedro Camacho, uses that stage to manipulate his audience's need for tales of horror and love.
At Radio Panamericana, a young news editor cuts articles out of the local newspapers and rewrites them for news bulletins. He checks his collaborator's appetite for catastrophes and falls in love with his aunt, a newly divorced Bolivian who comes to Lima in search for a profitable match.

The book is actually a slightly fictionalized account of Vargas Llosa's life as a university student. His unusual love story gets out of control, just as the prolific Pedro Camacho's radio scripts start to get out of the control.

I enjoyed the narrative a great deal, the interweaving of different stories involving Vargas Llosa's love story and the tales of the eccentric "scriptwriter".
His stories have a very important meaning - they are unforgettable depictions of Peru of the '50s, with well drawn characters. They act as representatives of Peruvian society, wealthy or poor, intellectual or not so intellectual, everyone with his or her own shortcomings and problems. They are all presented with tongue in cheek, in a well-written realistic story.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant and Hilarious, April 22 2003
By 
Don Hogle (New York, NY United States) - See all my reviews
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This is one of those novels where every character is so perfectly drawn that you instantly have a complete picture of them. And they are all completely lovable and laughable. One of the most delightful books I have ever read. Genius.
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5.0 out of 5 stars What Little Vargas said, April 8 2003
By 
Eric J. Lyman (Roma, Lazio Italy) - See all my reviews
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Aunt Julia and the Scriptwriter is without a doubt Mario Vargas-Llosa's most entertaining book, intelligent without being difficult and hilarious without being patronizing.
Some of the most subtle points are lost in translation -- "escribidor" in the original title, for example, has a sense of someone simply taking dictation or producing a text by rote compared to the word "scriptwriter" used in the English language version -- but that is the only significant weak point and is not enough to withhold a five-star rating for this wonderful book.
The book's account is semi-autobiographical, with two story lines alternating chapters -- a style employed in several other Vargas Llosa novels -- until they begin to link together like cogs in the gears of the narrative. But it is the way they mesh together that is part of the magic in this book. Without giving away the story line here, let it suffice to say that at certain points you'll find yourself smiling and flipping back through the pages uttering "but didn't he..." or "I thought that..."
The story itself offers a fascinating look at several aspects of life in Peru, one of the most complex and interesting countries in the world. But it does it effortlessly; using a love-torn teenage protagonist, a sexy older woman, an enraged father, an eccentric serial writer, and a compelling cast of misfit radio artists.
Though certain parts (especially the story of Julia) are well documented, the exact extent to which some of the rest of the book is based on real life is still being debated. Every once in a while in Lima, for example, an obituary will mention that its subject was one of the people the unforgettable Pedro Camacho might have been based on, and many old Peruvians have theories about the exact bar or town where certain scenes were set.
Like any writer, Vargas Llosa takes certain artistic license and some people have grumbled about inaccuracies in the text. But I shrug off those complaints: a novel is never meant to be an accurate historical document.
Nonetheless, if you are intrigued enough by the story in Aunt Julia and the Scriptwriter to read more and you understand Spanish, the most important and entertaining of the complaints is by Aunt Julia (Julia Urquidi) herself, called Lo Que Varguitas No Dijo (What Little Vargas Didn't Say). She also authored a more academic version of the story in English, My Life With Mario Vargas Llosa.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Julia Urquidi y MVLL "El Escritor", Feb. 13 2003
By 
MVLL es considerado actualmente como uno de los más grandes escritores de la Literatura moderna y el eterno candidato a ganar el Premio Nobel. Su estilo ha innovado la narrativa y, valiéndose de técnicas ingeniosas, le ha proporcionado un dinamismo especial a sus novelas favoreciendo su lectura fluida y canivalesca -a pesar de los pequeños espacios de tiempo que me permiten leer, he podido devorar a cada uno de sus personajez con una avidez pocas veces experimentada con otros escritores.
En esta novela MVLL demuestra sus habilidades para entretener al lector a través de un humorismo sutíl que arrebatan carcajadas durante su lectura.
El título, "La Tia Julia y el Escribidor", refleja de manera amplia y rígida la temática de esta novela. Por un lado nos cuenta la historia de Julia (Urquidi) -cuñada del tio Lucho (Llosa) y, por lo tanto, su tia política- con quien sostuvo un amor desenfrenado que no admitia barreras ni prejuicios sociales (ella tenia 32 y él sólo 18) y el cual culminaría en un matrimonio original y divertido.
La otra historia referida, y que se desenvuelve paralelamente a la ya comentada, describe de cuerpo entero las concepciones que, el entonces novel escritor, tenia (y que con el tiempo se lo ha tomado más que en serio en la vida real) acerca de su profesión. Estas concepciones estarían disfrazadas de un personaje más que peculiar, Pedro Camacho "El escribidor". Pedro Camacho simboliza, según una opinión personal y más alla de lo cómico que nos pueda parecer este personaje, al escritor "ideal": escribe más de 15 horas al día, su vida está dedicada en cuerpo y alma a la invención de nuevas historias. Y el rasgo más importante: cual Mario Vargas Llosa, sus historias son vivenciales, es decir, surgen de cosas que ve o experimenta.
No acostumbro a recomendar libros ni escritores pero si a calificarlos. En ese caso diría que MVLL, sin temor a equivocarme, es uno de los mejores escritores de la actualidad y, al igual como todas sus novelas, "La Tia Julia y el Escribidor" mantiene esa calidad que caracteriza a las publicaciones de MVLL.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Real-life story, Jan. 22 2003
This extremely funny novel was (loosely) based on Vargas Llosa's first marriage. However, his story is left incomplete without reading Aunt Julia's version: "Lo que Varguitas no Dijo" (by Julia Urquidi).
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5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful, May 28 2002
By 
Mansoor Khan "yellow_tiger" (Brooklyn, New York United States) - See all my reviews
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A delightful ingenious book, I thoroughly enjoyed cover to cover. It is wonderful exploration of the writing process done with wit and humor.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Entertaining foray into love and creativity, Oct. 10 2001
Aunt Julia and the Scriptwriter had been on my "to read" list for awhile. This entertaining and humorous book is about 18 year old Mario who lives with his grandparents in Lima, Peru. He has a large family with lots of aunts, uncles, and cousins. Mario's dream is to be a writer and he works as a news writer for a local radio station, while trying his hand at writing short stories in his spare moments. His Aunt Julia, moves to Lima from Bolivia after her divorce. She is 32 years old and not a blood relation (she is the sister of his uncle's wife). Mario and Julia start spending time together and Mario begins to fall in love with her, which is not something that the rest of their family would appreciate! At the same time, the radio station where Mario works hires a new scriptwriter from Bolivia named Pedro. Pedro writes the scripts and acts in the many radio serials that the station airs. Mario becomes friends with the odd scriptwriter.
The book is written so that alternating chapters tell the story of Mario and his friends and family and the stories in the serials. It is an interesting writing style and reminds me of a few other books that I have read including Blind Assassin by M. Atwood and If on a winter's night... by I. Calvino. I enjoyed this writing style very much and founf the book extermely enjoyable and recommend to anyone who may be looking for a different and light read.
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