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Darkest Peru

John Sturrock, 19 February 1987

The Real Life of Alejandro Mayta 
by Mario Vargas Llosa.
Faber, 310 pp., £9.95, October 1986, 0 571 14579 5
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The Story of a Shipwrecked Sailor 
by Gabriel Garcia Marquez and Randolph Hogan.
Cape, 106 pp., £8.95, November 1986, 0 224 02160 5
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... Mario Vargas Llosa has written a fine novel, political and unstintingly pessimistic, a dire collation of the fiasco of a single Peruvian life with the chronic mismanagement and distempers of Peru. As narrative, it may be complicatedly told, with much canny transiting between present and past, but the formal ingenuities work to the one end, of delivering a full and unhappy report on the way things have been or are in the novelist’s homeland ...

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