Notebooks of Don Rigoberto

Vargas Llosa, Mario

Published by Farrar, Straus Giroux
ISBN 10: 0965594912 / ISBN 13: 9780965594912
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0965594912 1st thus, Farrar, Straus Giroux soft cover, 1998. VG+, w/ clean text, tight binding, straight & uncreased spine; appears as if it has never been read, but has light shelf/edge wear from its age. Free delivery confirmation. Bookseller Inventory #

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Synopsis: Don Rigoberto - by day a grey insurance executive, by night a pornographer and sexual enthusiast - misses Lucrecia, his estranged second wife. The pair separated following a sexual encounter between Lucrecia and Alfonso, Rigoberto's son. To compensate for her absence, Rigoberto fills his notebooks with memories, fantasies and unsent letters. Meanwhile, Alfonso visits Lucrecia, determined to win her love.In The Notebooks of Don Rigoberto, Mario Vargas Llosa keeps the reader guessing which episodes are real and which issue from Rigoberto's imagination. The novel, a wonderful mix of reality and fantasy, is sexy, funny, disquieting, and unfailingly compelling.If you enjoyed The Notebooks of Don Rigoberto, you might also like Mario Vargas Llosa's In Praise of the Stepmother.

Review: "It is not the world of cunning cattle that you and I are part of which interests me and brings me joy or suffering, but the myriad of beings animated by imagination, desire and artistic skill, the beings present in the paintings, books, and prints that I have collected with the patience and love of many years."

Near the beginning of The Notebooks of Don Rigoberto, the title character writes these words to the architect designing his new home, thus setting the theme for this slightly fantastical, wholly erotic novel that celebrates the ascendancy of imagination over real life. Readers familiar with Vargas Llosa's work will recognize Don Rigoberto from the earlier In Praise of the Stepmother, in which the author first introduced the middle-aged insurance executive, his beautiful second wife, Lucrecia, and his preternaturally sensual son, Alfonsito. In that book, the pubescent "Fonsito" manages to seduce his stepmother and then writes an essay about the experience that he lets his father read. The novel ends with Lucrecia's expulsion from the household and the revelation that Fonsito had orchestrated the whole thing from the beginning for reasons of his own. Now, in The Notebooks of Don Rigoberto Vargas Llosa picks up where he left off, with Alfonsito's reappearance on the doorstep of Lucrecia's new home. Once again, this "Beelzebub, a viper with the face of an angel" has a hidden agenda--this time, apparently, to reunite his father and stepmother.

As in its predecessor, The Notebooks of Don Rigoberto filters erotic passions and desires through art and artifice; Alfonsito uses the life and work of painter Egon Schiele to seduce his stepmother's imagination if not her body; Don Rigoberto and Lucrecia fan the flames of sexual passion through elaborate fantasies that they present as reality. It is almost as if no act, thought, or feeling can be real unless it has first existed in the imagination; even as Rigoberto and Lucrecia make love on their first night back together he informs her that, in his notebooks, she "'has gone to bed with many people all year.' 'I want details,' Dona Lucrecia gasp[s], speaking with difficulty. 'All of them, even the tiniest. What I did, what I ate, what was done to me.'"

The novel is the literary equivalent of matryoshki, those nests of dolls within dolls that Russian toymakers made to enthrall young children. Egon Schiele's life story, Lucrecia's erotic encounters, Rigoberto's notebooks, the 20 anonymous letters that reunite Rigoberto and his wife--all unfold, stories within stories and fantasies within fiction, until Vargas Llosa arrives, at last, at his happy ending, with a twist. The Notebooks of Don Rigoberto is erotic without being graphic, so fantastical that even the seduction of a 40-year-old matron by a pubescent boy reads more like myth (think Cupid and Psyche) than today's headlines. Vargas Llosa's cool, wry prose helps to elevate the hijinks above the merely prurient, making this fable of love, art, and manipulation a pleasure without guilt. --Alix Wilber

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Title: Notebooks of Don Rigoberto
Publisher: Farrar, Straus Giroux
Binding: PAPERBACK
Book Condition: Very Good

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Book Description Farrar, Straus and Giroux, New York, 1998. Paperback. Condition: Very Good. 259 pp., illus.; 23 cm. First published under title: Cuadernos de don Rigoberto. Translated from the Spanish. Tight, clean copy. Age toning. Size: 8vo - over 7" - 9" tall. Seller Inventory # 055889

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