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The Feast of the Goat PDF, ePub eBook Haunted all her life by feelings of terror and emptiness, forty-nine-year-old Urania Cabral returns to her native Dominican Republic - and finds herself reliving the events of 1961, when the capital was still called Trujillo City and one old man terrorized a nation of three million people. Rafael Trujillo, the depraved ailing dictator whom Dominicans call the Goat, control Haunted all her life by feelings of terror and emptiness, forty-nine-year-old Urania Cabral returns to her native Dominican Republic - and finds herself reliving the events of 1961, when the capital was still called Trujillo City and one old man terrorized a nation of three million people. Rafael Trujillo, the depraved ailing dictator whom Dominicans call the Goat, controls his inner circle with a combination of violence and blackmail. In Trujillo's gaudy palace, treachery and cowardice have become the way of life. But Trujillo's grasp is slipping away. There is a conspiracy against him, and a Machiavellian revolution already underway that will have bloody consequences of its own. In this 'masterpiece of Latin American and world literature, and one of the finest political novels ever written' ("Bookforum"), Mario Vargas Llosa recounts the end of a regime and the birth of a terrible democracy, giving voice to the historical Trujillo and the victims, both innocent and complicit, drawn into his deadly orbit.

30 review for The Feast of the Goat

  1. 4 out of 5

    Michael Finocchiaro

    The Irish Independant did not exaggerate on the back cover when they say this book "makes for page-turning reading that entertains, educates, and horrifies in almost equal parts." The story of the Trujillo regime and the chaos surrounding his assassination is told by Urania, daughter of one of his intimates who was disgraced shortly before the fatal evening, the Generalissimo himself (with his failing prostate), and several of the conspirators as they wait on a lonely road for his Chevy to appea The Irish Independant did not exaggerate on the back cover when they say this book "makes for page-turning reading that entertains, educates, and horrifies in almost equal parts." The story of the Trujillo regime and the chaos surrounding his assassination is told by Urania, daughter of one of his intimates who was disgraced shortly before the fatal evening, the Generalissimo himself (with his failing prostate), and several of the conspirators as they wait on a lonely road for his Chevy to appear to ambush him. I found the writing incredible, the pace breathtaking, and the violence absolutely terrifying. Having read (and reviewed here on GR) Oscar Wao by Junot Diaz earlier this year, I knew sort of what to expect, but this book surprised me at nearly every turn. It is no wonder that Mario Vargas Llosa got a Nobel. This is a work of pure genius and one that will be nearly impossible to forget. I really liked the protagonist Urania and how her arc in constructed. The failure of the US to act in the Caribbean to prevent atrocities like the 30 years of Trujillo and the brutal aftermath that followed the vacuum he left behind because of anti-Castro politics is appalling and made me feel ashamed. This also reminded me of my favorite read this year, A Brief History of Seven Killings where the CIA actively supported the violence in Jamaica again because of paranoia about Cuba and the failure of the Bay of Pigs operation. The massacre (genocidal in every way) is as chilling in Vargas Llosa as it was in Diaz's book. Makes me wonder if anyone wrote a book about the Haitian side of a that story and of the excesses of the Duvaliers and their terrifying TonTon Macoute (who made a small, brutal appearance in Goat). I was in Haïti for two weeks in 1985 and the memories of the misery on every corner, the smell of burning charcoal, the calls of the Cooligan Man, and the hidden terror of the TonTon Macoute still occasionally return in my nightmares. The narration of the book is perfect - always a section with Urania, followed by one of Trujillo and his circle (plus his Quo Vadis obsession) and one of the conspiracy to assassinate him. It makes for fast-paced and exciting reading. Highly, highly recommended reading.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Ahmad Sharabiani

    La Fiesta del Chivo = The Feast of The Goat, Mario Vargos Llosa The Feast of the Goat (Spanish: La fiesta del chivo, 2000) is a novel by the Peruvian Nobel Prize in Literature laureate Mario Vargas Llosa. The book is set in the Dominican Republic and portrays the assassination of Dominican dictator Rafael Trujillo, and its aftermath, from two distinct standpoints a generation apart: during and immediately after the assassination itself, in May 1961; and thirty-five years later, in 1996. Thr La Fiesta del Chivo = The Feast of The Goat, Mario Vargos Llosa The Feast of the Goat (Spanish: La fiesta del chivo, 2000) is a novel by the Peruvian Nobel Prize in Literature laureate Mario Vargas Llosa. The book is set in the Dominican Republic and portrays the assassination of Dominican dictator Rafael Trujillo, and its aftermath, from two distinct standpoints a generation apart: during and immediately after the assassination itself, in May 1961; and thirty-five years later, in 1996. Throughout, there is also extensive reflection on the heyday of the dictatorship, in the 1950s, and its significance for the island and its inhabitants. عنوانها: سور بز؛ جشن بز نر؛ نویسنده: ماریو وارگاس لیوسا؛ ادبیات آمریکای لاتین؛ انتشارتیها: نشر علم، نشر قطره؛ تاریخ نخستین خوانش: روز بیست و ششم ماه آوریل سال 2002 میلادی عنوان: سور بز؛ نویسنده: ماریو بارگاس یوسا؛ مترجم: عبدالله کوثری؛ مشخصات نشر: تهران، نشر علم؛ 1381؛ در 623 ص، شابک: ایکس 964405203؛ موضوع: داستانهای نویسندگان پرویی - سده 20 م عنوان: جشن بز نر؛ نویسنده: ماریو بارگاس یوسا؛ مترجم: جاهد جهانشاهی؛ مشخصات نشر: تهران، نشر قطره؛ 1381؛ در 586 ص، شابک: 9643411745؛ سور بز، به نقشه ی قتل دیکتاتور نظامی جمهوری دومینیکن: «رافائل تروخیو»، و ماجراهای پس از آن می‌پردازد؛ اما «سور بز» تنها به رخداد کشته شدن «تروخیو» نمیپردازد، بلکه «یوسا» در این رمان، با راوی قرار دادن «اورانیا»، دختر سناتور «آگوستین کابرال» وزیر امور خارجه، سناتور و رهبر حزب «دومینیکن»، به میان شخصیت‌های مهم کشوری و لشگری رژیم «تروخیو»، می‌رود، و در خلال روایت داستان جا به‌ جا به توصیف جزء به جزء شخصیت و منش دیکتاتور می‌پردازد. این رویداد گاه از طریق تک‌ گویی‌های انتقامی «اورانیا»، رو به پدرش سناتور «آگوستین کابرال»، که حالا دیگر ناتوان از سخن گفتن و حرکت شده، بیان، و گاهی نویسنده، با بهره گرفتن از مستندات تاریخی، و واقعی، و درآمیختن آن‌ها با خیال، از: زد و بند رئیس، با کارگزارانش، روابط او با متحدانش، در ایالات متحده آمریکا، درگیری‌هایش با رهبران کشورهای همسایه؛ مثل: «کوبا» و «ونزوئلا»؛ و دسیسه‌ چینی‌های او و اطرافیانش، برای کله پا کردن منتفذان و دشمنان رژیم؛ پرده برمی‌دارد؛ و در این بین از هر فرصتی برای آشنا کردن خوانشگر با سرشت و ذات دیکتاتور خونسرد سود می‌برد. ا. شربیانی

  3. 4 out of 5

    Luís C.

    Four men will end three decades of dictatorship of the Generalissimo of the Dominican Republic. Thirty-five years later, a woman came from America to call Augustín Cabral, his father, who became bedridden, a former associate to the Supreme Head. Despite his physical decline, the one who will fall under the bullets of his former victims, Rafael Leónidas Trujillo, still keeps his entourage and the country. A country, which he and his family have a great deal of wealth, a country still living Four men will end three decades of dictatorship of the Generalissimo of the Dominican Republic. Thirty-five years later, a woman came from America to call Augustín Cabral, his father, who became bedridden, a former associate to the Supreme Head. Despite his physical decline, the one who will fall under the bullets of his former victims, Rafael Leónidas Trujillo, still keeps his entourage and the country. A country, which he and his family have a great deal of wealth, a country still living in fear of arbitrary arrests, torture and summary executions. At the time of his death, the one who stole the childhood of Augustin Cabral's daughter is not afraid. He is convinced that he made the greatness of Santo Domingo. The Feast of the Goat or the portrait of a dictatorship masterfully painted by Mario Vargas Llosa.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Fabian

    One. Flawless. Masterpiece! As a reader you cannot ask for more. This dense and complex novel about the Trujillo Era in the D.R., like the best novels, from "Gone with the Wind" to "The Human Stain," explains not only the steps leading to a total devastation, but, braver still, its equally about the eventual aftermath. "The Feast of the Goat" is unputdownable, remarkable. A sturdy and sure classic. Read THIS! Not much more can be said, without sounding as though I am someho One. Flawless. Masterpiece! As a reader you cannot ask for more. This dense and complex novel about the Trujillo Era in the D.R., like the best novels, from "Gone with the Wind" to "The Human Stain," explains not only the steps leading to a total devastation, but, braver still, its equally about the eventual aftermath. "The Feast of the Goat" is unputdownable, remarkable. A sturdy and sure classic. Read THIS! Not much more can be said, without sounding as though I am somehow WORTHY of even critiquing this!!

  5. 5 out of 5

    Jenn(ifer)

    Render unto God what is God’s and unto Caesar what is Caesar’s. But what if Caesar thought he was God? Well then, I guess he’d want it all. And so goes the story of Rafael Trujillo, power hungry dictator of the Dominican Republic for a period of thirty years until his brutal assassination in 1961. ‘Feast of the Goat’ tells the story of Trujillo’s reign using a blend of fact and fiction, centered on the fateful day that would end an era. Varied narratives blend together seemlessly to give Render unto God what is God’s and unto Caesar what is Caesar’s. But what if Caesar thought he was God? Well then, I guess he’d want it all. And so goes the story of Rafael Trujillo, power hungry dictator of the Dominican Republic for a period of thirty years until his brutal assassination in 1961. ‘Feast of the Goat’ tells the story of Trujillo’s reign using a blend of fact and fiction, centered on the fateful day that would end an era. Varied narratives blend together seemlessly to give us a portrait of three decades of corruption, violence and terror. Chapters switch between the present day, when Urania Cabral returns to the Dominican Republic after thirty years of exile to visit her dying father who had at one time been one of Trujillo’s most trusted allies. Sitting at her father’s deathbed, she remembers the horror of Trujillo’s rule. In alternating chapters, the story is told through memories of the men who banded together to take down The Goat, as well as through the voice of The Goat himself on the day of his assassination. Vargas Llosa also allows the reader to peek into the mind of the Generalissimo himself. Through the inner thoughts of Trujillo, now seventy years old, incontinent, impotent, yet still revered and feared, we learn how devious and evil the man truly was. Captivating, intense and gruesome, this novel will keep your attention throughout and haunt you long after you've finished its final pages.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Chris_P

    One thing I learned from The Feast of the Goat is that short memory is a universal characteristic of people of all times. Dictators turn from tyrants to saviors in no time and villains become heroes when the new political situation demands it. People simply accept the regimes like they accept the changes of the weather, with the only difference being the fact that, many times, they're under the illusion that they had the choice. Which I guess they had but not in the way they think they had it. Disil One thing I learned from The Feast of the Goat is that short memory is a universal characteristic of people of all times. Dictators turn from tyrants to saviors in no time and villains become heroes when the new political situation demands it. People simply accept the regimes like they accept the changes of the weather, with the only difference being the fact that, many times, they're under the illusion that they had the choice. Which I guess they had but not in the way they think they had it. Disillusionment is a bitch and has to be avoided, as it seems. Another thing I learned is that in order to finally beat a dictator, you have to have him stand naked in front of the crowd. However, to be able to do such a thing, first you have to see him naked yourself, which means you have to see all of him. Accusing is easy. Seeing and understanding every side of a detestable person is what is hard and that's exactly what Llosa does here. I felt uncomfortable when I saw Trujillo standing naked in front of me. I felt uncomfortable when I felt sorry for him. I felt uncomfortable when I disliked the victim for being a victim her whole life and I felt uncomfortable when an ocean of excuses finally ran dry. What it always comes down to is personal responsibility and that's where the majority of people seem to fail, and no dictator, no matter how bad, can take the blame for that. Five stars. Simple as that.

  7. 4 out of 5

    William2

    Mr Llosa can write. I won't dispute that. But this is not a good novel for me for the following reasons. (1) The author has bitten off far more than he can chew in a mere 400 pages. The scope of the book is vast and too much feels rushed. He might have narrowed his scope, but alas he wants it all. Because of the enormous narrative breadth, this reader never got the level of satisfaction in the area of character development that he would have liked; there are so many characters and after a while Mr Llosa can write. I won't dispute that. But this is not a good novel for me for the following reasons. (1) The author has bitten off far more than he can chew in a mere 400 pages. The scope of the book is vast and too much feels rushed. He might have narrowed his scope, but alas he wants it all. Because of the enormous narrative breadth, this reader never got the level of satisfaction in the area of character development that he would have liked; there are so many characters and after a while they all seem to blur. (2) There is a rushed, headlong quality to the book, probably this is intentional but I do not like it. (3) I find the levels of Catholic motivation to be too much; probably for a Latin American reader these levels are just right. For these and other reasons I did not finish the book and give it two stars. The book breaks into three stories: (1) that of Urania Cabral, set in the present day, when she returns to a now democratized Dominican Republic years after Trujillo's assassination to confront (torment) her father who was a "senator" (read crony) under the Benefactor; (2) that of Trujillo himself in the weeks before his assassination; and (3) that of the group of men, mostly young men, who will kill him. The story Urania tells to her incapacitated father, who is now in a wheelchair, is most unsettling. Urania is visiting from New York City where she now lives. She has done extensive reading on the subject, now knows much about those dark mysterious years of her youth. For example, how Trujillo, habitually cuckolded his ministers. Urania spares her mute father none of it. She is so cruel. Dictator Trujillo is a megalomaniac on the model of Stalin. He terrorized his own people for 31 years. In October 1937 he ordered the slaughter of about 20,000 Haitians in what came to be known as the Parsley Massacre. Typically, the US backed him as a bulwark against Communism. (Now where have we seen that pattern before? Chile, Iran, Vietnam, Cuba, and Korea spring to mind, to mention a few.) Trujillo's a compulsive neat freak who seeks through personal cleanliness and punctilio a semblance of the moral standing he can never command. We first come across him undergoing his daily toilette with great care. Trujillo's story begins in 1961 some 16 months after a Pastoral Letter has been sent by the Vatican to the Catholic community in the Dominican Republic. Since then the Church has, Trujillo feels, harassed him from the pulpit for his flagrant human rights violations and turned the people against him. The two Catholic leaders responsible for this he imagines feeding alive to sharks, as he has so many other opponents. The assassins's storyline is set on May 30, 1961, as they await the Generalissimo's car on a stretch of road. There are 4 of them in the car and as they wait there are flashbacks outlining the motivations of each. This is tedious. In some ways The Feast of the Goat is a counterpart novel to Graham Greene's The Comedians. That book--set in Haiti on the other side of Hispaniola in the 1960s when the corrupt Duvaliers were in power--is a model of narrative pacing and economy.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Em Lost In Books

    This book tells us the story of Rafael Trujillo, who ruled Dominican Republic for 30 years. It tells us about the rise and fall of the man was brutal, power hungry, cruel, and would stop at nothing to remain in power. He was assassinated in 1961. Story is told by Rafael himself; Urania, daughter of very influential political figure, and the assassins. Author has merged all these PoV beautifully. With a right mix of reality and fiction we get to see the insecurities that Trujillo felt This book tells us the story of Rafael Trujillo, who ruled Dominican Republic for 30 years. It tells us about the rise and fall of the man was brutal, power hungry, cruel, and would stop at nothing to remain in power. He was assassinated in 1961. Story is told by Rafael himself; Urania, daughter of very influential political figure, and the assassins. Author has merged all these PoV beautifully. With a right mix of reality and fiction we get to see the insecurities that Trujillo felt in his last few days, Urania telling us how unsafe girls were in Trujillo regime, and last but certainly not least how the assassins (few of whom were devout Trujilloists initially) made up their mind to kill the man who was no less than a God in the country and what happened to them after the assassination. Author has told us in explicit details about the torture that the assassins went through once they were caught. It was very repulsive and gut wrenching. I had to take few days off just to digest what I had read before coming back to it. This book is a prime example of how dirty politics can be. Murder, rape, crime against minorities, fathers whoring out their own daughters to climb up the political ladders or just so that they can be in good graces of General. It is full of sadistic people who get a satisfaction by hurting others.

  9. 4 out of 5

    AC

    This magnificent little book is page-turner. It is a plot driven work that analyzes the rule and the assassination (and the consequences thereof) of Rafael Trujillo, the dictator of the Dominican Republic from 1930-1961. The book has an unlikely hero (to reveal the name here would constitute a ‘spoiler’) and, obviously, an anti-hero (Trujillo himself). But the book is more than mere plot, for the plot functions as a vehicle for the analysis of a host of highly individuated characters This magnificent little book is page-turner. It is a plot driven work that analyzes the rule and the assassination (and the consequences thereof) of Rafael Trujillo, the dictator of the Dominican Republic from 1930-1961. The book has an unlikely hero (to reveal the name here would constitute a ‘spoiler’) and, obviously, an anti-hero (Trujillo himself). But the book is more than mere plot, for the plot functions as a vehicle for the analysis of a host of highly individuated characters – characters of great depth and intensity of feeling and of existential weight. (Contrast Aristotle’s Poetics, for whom character [ethos – which refers to character TYPES, stock characters, not individuals in the modern sense] is a vehicle for the unfolding of plot [mythos]. In this very classic sense, Vargas Illosa’s work is ‘classically’ modern.) But these characters are not there simply to function as pools of feeling or of self-absorption or of narcissism and the like – as is so often the case with modern literature. For the characters in this work function quite explicitly as a vehicle for the analysis and anatomy of the modern pathologies of fascism and of authoritarian societies. There is thus a social or historical dimension that is fundamental. But in studying this historical dimension, Vargas Illosa makes it clear (to my mind, at least) that he is not simply interested in contingent realities, but that he is trying to bring forth something fundamental about modern man as such – and so, something fundamental about the human dilemma in ITS fundaments. A magnificent book. There is, however, readers should be warned, very little in the way of ‘lexis’ – that is, no fireworks of style or language -- which some readers may bemoan, but which all too often is but a camouflage for the absence of meaning. At any rate, that is not Vargas Illosa’s concern in The Feast of the Goat.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Jim Fonseca

    A political and historical novel of Rafael Trujillo, dictator of the Dominican Republic from 1930-1961. This novel is a factually correct version of the events focused around his assassination in 1961 when Trujillo was 70 years old. We see the life of this brutal and sadistic man who also loved his country and was politically brilliant, hard-working and fastidious. He sent his cronies on overseas missions so he could visit their wives who could dare not refuse his attentions. Trujillo was charis A political and historical novel of Rafael Trujillo, dictator of the Dominican Republic from 1930-1961. This novel is a factually correct version of the events focused around his assassination in 1961 when Trujillo was 70 years old. We see the life of this brutal and sadistic man who also loved his country and was politically brilliant, hard-working and fastidious. He sent his cronies on overseas missions so he could visit their wives who could dare not refuse his attentions. Trujillo was charismatic with a piercing gaze and high-pitched voice --- does that remind us of another brutal dictator in Europe? We see the story from multiple perspectives – Trujillo’s own on a daily basis; that of his inner circle of cronies who ran the country, and from the perspectives of the half-dozen or so assassins as they lie in wait reminiscing on their personal stories about what led them to want to kill this man, nicknamed “The Goat.” But most of the story is that of a 50-ish Dominican woman, daughter of one of those in the dictator’s inner circle, who returns to the Dominican Republic on the spur of the moment. She has been absent for 35 years as a New York lawyer. She returns to confront her comatose father and aging relatives and to reveal a Horrible Secret to them that explains her 35-year absence. Bookforum called this one of the finest political novels ever written and I agree.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Praj

    I find the expression “benevolent dictator” quite acerbic; paradoxical in fact. The exclusive benefactor of populous land; a leader who promises to the countrymen a utopia (Thomas Moore’s unicorn), stands on the world pedestal portraying duplicitous cultural patriotism while butchering every free voice that fails to meet his egotistical standards and motives. Questions stumble upon patriotic validities. Who do we call a true loyalist of a country? The leader who cogently assumes the role of a sa I find the expression “benevolent dictator” quite acerbic; paradoxical in fact. The exclusive benefactor of populous land; a leader who promises to the countrymen a utopia (Thomas Moore’s unicorn), stands on the world pedestal portraying duplicitous cultural patriotism while butchering every free voice that fails to meet his egotistical standards and motives. Questions stumble upon patriotic validities. Who do we call a true loyalist of a country? The leader who cogently assumes the role of a saviour bestowing atrocities on his own people or those anonymous victims who take a powerful stand to fight against the authoritative rule? The Feast of the Goat makes you sit up and take notice of a fascinating Dominican Republic and its people rising up from an authoritative rule and numerous domestic strives that spanned over a large period in the 20th century. Llosa intertwines three tales forming a purposeful camaraderie between reality and literature encompassing the treacherous dictatorship of Rafael Leónidas Trujillo Molina ruling over three decades and the aftermath of Trujillo’s assassination. After 35 years, Urania Cabral hesitantly comes back to her home in Santa Domingo to visit her ailing father. Agustin Cabral once a highly influential part of Trujillo’s inner circle, is now reduced to a vegetative state aching to seek Urania’s forgiveness for a crime he committed decades ago. The novel lifts off from splendid fiction into the factual reign of Trujillo and the following assassination. Llosa gives a terrifying look into the sinister inner circle of Trujillo exposing brutal crimes of rape, embezzlements and the horrendous murder of the Mirabal Sisters, committed by him and his son(Ramfis Trujillo).On May 30, 1961, Trujillo was shot on Avenida George Washington in Santo Domingo on his way to visit one of his several underage girls ,plotted by Modesto Diaz, Salvador Estrella Sadhalá, Antonio de la Maza, Amado García Guerrero along with a team of men from Trujillo’s ministry. The tone of the plot is mysterious penetrating the psyche of those groups of heroic men and thousands of Dominican people who suffered and lived in utmost terror for a major part of a generation. It is exasperating how the international media springs through popular news whilst overlooking the histories of various nations victimized from treachery and charades of nationalistic sovereignty. Heroic sacrifices are forgotten and Angelita Trujillo has the nerve to write a book about her father proclaiming him to be a “admirable, a dedicated fighter and a triumphant man”.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Nathan "N.R." Gaddis

    I wasn't naive about Llossa going in. I had been informed that he wasn't of the innovative ilk. What I was naive about going in was my familiarity with what literary fiction actually looks like. Because, well, I don't read literary fiction. I read novels. But. It is what it is. I've been creepy enough about it in my Status Updates. I was disappointed. I'd heard, too, it said that he writes in a plain style. But I found it not plain but artless**. Plain style requires artifice. 2666 is wri I wasn't naive about Llossa going in. I had been informed that he wasn't of the innovative ilk. What I was naive about going in was my familiarity with what literary fiction actually looks like. Because, well, I don't read literary fiction. I read novels. But. It is what it is. I've been creepy enough about it in my Status Updates. I was disappointed. I'd heard, too, it said that he writes in a plain style. But I found it not plain but artless**. Plain style requires artifice. 2666 is written in a plain style. But it doesn't offend with its lack of style. First sign of course came early with adjectives and adverbs. It developed not via the typically inane metaphors but via the total lack of control (discipline!) of the point of view. What was needed to be said in order to convey information got written down. Unneeded words. Or at least words which had about them no art, only information. What the novel needs is an editor. One to shape and discipline the damn thing! Like what I understand Lish did with Carver ; what Sorrentino did with Selby. Because there is something here. Undeniably. There is gold here. And a few efforts detectable here and there to do the panning. But it's plot=driven. And this drives me batty. The rest may as well be marked SPOILER. As a fiat of FACT. Because plot=driven works are nothing but SPOILER. See here, what offends me most was to place at the end of the novel that one plot (okay, there's one plot (whatever*) but there's three TAKES on it....) in which it is revealed that that plot's narrator was raped by the dictator at the age of fourteen as a sacrifice by her father in order to politically rehabilitate him. Which is fine ; but that fact, in a well=wrought novel, would have been revealed in that narrator's first chapter, not held back as a creepy revelation in the very last chapter--because, with respect to realism, her first words to her audience of her aunt and two cousins would have been her accusation against her father followed by the justifying narrative; that's how these things happen. I don't even care about the cliche about sexual potency and political control. Novelistically, nothing but pure unadulterated manipulation. Cheenpis. Characters, too. But like with plot, characters in a novel have their being in language. And without respect to the being of language, what respect of character? Enough complaining. The solution is simple. Twice the novel (sticking with the dictator genre) that Feast of the Goat is, I, the Supreme. * I'm not parsing my terms. Narrative is the run of chronology (before-middle-after) ; plotting is the chopping up of that sequence into suspense building units and things of this nature. But you get my general drift. ** No instance provided here because I don't really want to drive my point home. Instances abound on every page/paragraph. I don't like writing negative Reviews//reading books I don't admire.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Joselito Honestly and Brilliantly

    Before I've read this one, the only thing I know about the Dominican Republic is that it is somewhere in South America and, of course, that it consistently has gorgeous representatives in international beauty contests. This well-written historical novel (my second of Llosa's: the first one--The War at the End of the World--likewise a historical novel) made me look it up in a world map and there I saw the small country in a big island it shares with Haiti and which is flanked by Cuba, Jamaica, Pu Before I've read this one, the only thing I know about the Dominican Republic is that it is somewhere in South America and, of course, that it consistently has gorgeous representatives in international beauty contests. This well-written historical novel (my second of Llosa's: the first one--The War at the End of the World--likewise a historical novel) made me look it up in a world map and there I saw the small country in a big island it shares with Haiti and which is flanked by Cuba, Jamaica, Puerto Rico and the Bahamas. This novel is so alive and real that during some of its really tense moments I really had the impulse of going back to those years before I was born and strangle to death this Marcos-like Dominican Republic dictator Rafael Trujillo. If you go more for stories than style, history than sci fi or magic, exciting actual events of the past than imagined ones, go for Llosa and get yourself educated, so when you see another knockout Dominican Republic contestant during a Miss World pageant, you'll remember Trujillo, his crazy, equally-sadistic son Ramfis, their dreaded henchmen, the novelties in their means of torturing people, and think, as you contemplate the country's newest beauty in a swimsuit, that had Trujillo been alive now, she would have been included in the thousands upon thousands of women and young girls this tyrant had fucked.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Edward

    I had such high expectations for Vargas Llosa, but I'm left feeling underwhelmed. While I enjoyed both The Feast of the Goat and The War of the End of the World, neither was exceptional. His prose is competent, but not particularly inspired. In this novel, I felt the story was both overwritten and under-explored. His formula for introducing and describing characters felt repetitive and heavy-handed, and failed to create memorable, substantial characters. Many seemed almost generic, driven only by a single I had such high expectations for Vargas Llosa, but I'm left feeling underwhelmed. While I enjoyed both The Feast of the Goat and The War of the End of the World, neither was exceptional. His prose is competent, but not particularly inspired. In this novel, I felt the story was both overwritten and under-explored. His formula for introducing and describing characters felt repetitive and heavy-handed, and failed to create memorable, substantial characters. Many seemed almost generic, driven only by a single goal or ideal, or characterised by an ironic twist. They were simplistic, lacking the multi-dimensionality of real people. The history of the period is quite fascinating, and sustains the novel though its tedious parts - indeed some sections were legitimately gripping. But there was too much dialogue, too much exposition, too much effort spent attempting to breathe life into flat, indistinguishable characters for the novel to maintain a consistent pace.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Stela

    They had forgotten the abuses, the murders, the corruption, the spying, the isolation, the fear: horror had become myth. "Everybody had jobs and there wasn't so much crime. I keep remembering those summer nights, many years ago, when the air was heavy with the tension of passionate discussions about Ceausescu and the political changes after his death and the communism specter that continued to haunt our country. We were young and hopeful and we mockingly called all those regretting the past “old” and They had forgotten the abuses, the murders, the corruption, the spying, the isolation, the fear: horror had become myth. "Everybody had jobs and there wasn't so much crime. I keep remembering those summer nights, many years ago, when the air was heavy with the tension of passionate discussions about Ceausescu and the political changes after his death and the communism specter that continued to haunt our country. We were young and hopeful and we mockingly called all those regretting the past “old” and “nostalgic”. During one of these conversations a friend of mine forecast that in the long run Ceausescu would become legend, his evil forgotten, his few achievements overstated. That statement seemed to me so inconceivable that I started a fight even though I knew very well he was on my side, that is to say he was far from being a fan of the former Romanian president. After more than twenty years, though, my friend’s prediction doesn’t seem so fanciful anymore. We are still too close to historical events to get a good perspective, bur how it will look in half a millennium since more and more evoke the good times with jobs and houses for all? Will the horror become indeed myth? There is no much difference between one tyrant and another. Hitler, Stalin, Ceausescu, Trujillo, whatever their names, stirred incredible reactions in people’s souls, were loved and feared and sincerely regretted not only by so-easy-to-manipulate masses but also by many intelligent personalities who seemed unable to see the evil behind the mask: On the way, they could see through the windows the huge, growing crowd, swelling with the arrival of groups of men and women from the outskirts of Ciudad Trujillo and nearby towns. The line, in rows of four or five, was several kilometers long, and the armed guards could scarcely control it. They had been waiting for hours. There were heartrending scenes, outbursts of weeping, hysterical displays among those who had already reached the steps of the Palace and felt themselves close to the Generalissimo's funeral chamber. It is true that a good story, as David Lodge reminds us, does not need history to back it up. That is, it will remain good regardless inventions, facts distortion, and other literary lies – usually called poetic licenses ☺. However novels with such subjects could truly fulfill Sartre’s dream of a littérature engagée, by opposing the popular myth an equally forceful one, the literary character. And The Feast of the Goat is this good, being one of those novels that superpose and finally replace the historical figure with its own, for it manages to sound credible even though it doesn’t use the usual tricks of the non-fiction novel. In a simple, almost classic structure, it blends history and fiction by using three narrative layers: Urania’s story, the innocent victim, the conspirators’ story, the martyrized heroes and “the Chief, the Generalissimo, the Benefactor, the Father of the New Nation, His Excellency Dr. Rafael Leonidas Trujillo Molina”’s story, the abject manipulator whose image is in the end debunked not by revealing his crimes and injustices and greed and excesses, but by a merciless reduction to ridicule: He seemed half crazed with despair. Now I know why. Because the prick that had broken so many cherries wouldn't stand up anymore. That's what made the titan cry. It is only fair to break the idols’ clay feet. And much, much better to mock them than to forget they existed. The ridicule always killed more efficiently than any other weapon. And more indefeasibly.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Ana

    Holy fuck. There is no other way I can express my feelings towards this book. Holy fuck. This has been a sickening, painful, gruesome experience. As a reader, this is what I'm waiting for. As a person, I feel the need to throw up and hurl this book across the room, burn it, something, anything to destroy it, anything to kill the people in it and the ideas of it. "The Feast of the Goat" starts out in a tough manner, and ends on a repugnant note, so much so that I can't seem to be able to calm mys Holy fuck. There is no other way I can express my feelings towards this book. Holy fuck. This has been a sickening, painful, gruesome experience. As a reader, this is what I'm waiting for. As a person, I feel the need to throw up and hurl this book across the room, burn it, something, anything to destroy it, anything to kill the people in it and the ideas of it. "The Feast of the Goat" starts out in a tough manner, and ends on a repugnant note, so much so that I can't seem to be able to calm myself. I am mad about something that happened, but didn't happen, but happened. I am disgusted with the characters inside it - I am delighted at how unbelievably well they have been written. This is the confusing place where every reader finds themselves once in a while: you do hate it, but you do love it. The book is a partly non-fictional rendition of Rafael Trujillo's regime in the Dominican Republic, El Jefe (The Chief) as he was called, a military figure and a dictator who used puppet presidents to hide his implication in everything. Llosa brilliantly combines fact and fiction to create this demon-like image of a man, that he then manages to crumble to pieces before the book ends. The most important real action that the work is based on is Trujillo's assassination by a group of plotters, shot down in a car-chase as the fucking bastard deserved (sorry, not fucking sorry, I'm so angry at his existence). I am serious, this work is unbelievable. I am the type of person that gets overly excited when she reads something good, but, in fairness, if every book in the world would be like this, we would all be better people. This has ascended to my top 10 favorite books. I'm not kidding. Five stars isn't enough. Read it. Please. Read it.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Carrie

    Brutal, raw, revealing, hauntingly beautiful...I read this book cover-to-cover in one 5 hour sitting. It unapologetically reveals the terror that Trujillo inflicted on the citizens of the Dominican Republic. The alternating narrators from chapter to chapter leant power to the testimony of Trujillo's victims. Urania's story was touching in its attention to detail as we followed her loss of innocence at Trujillo and her own father's (a trujillista)hands. It was horrific but I couldn't stop reading Brutal, raw, revealing, hauntingly beautiful...I read this book cover-to-cover in one 5 hour sitting. It unapologetically reveals the terror that Trujillo inflicted on the citizens of the Dominican Republic. The alternating narrators from chapter to chapter leant power to the testimony of Trujillo's victims. Urania's story was touching in its attention to detail as we followed her loss of innocence at Trujillo and her own father's (a trujillista)hands. It was horrific but I couldn't stop reading every word that Llosa carefully chose to portray her naivite, her shame and her resolve. I cheered alongside De Maza as he and his fellow conspirators plotted and carried out the Trujillo assination. I was equally grieved as Trujillo's son captured and tortured the men in brutal fashion for months- they only survived through injections ordered by Ramfis to keep them alive so he could continue his sadism. I even relished the chapters narrated by Trujillo himself. Llosa humanized him through his depiction of shortcomings and fears. Trujillo was not just the dictator who never sweated and showed no remorse. Llosa gives the reader all of Trujillo from his growing up to his battle with prostate cancer, but though it made him believable,his evil permeated and was inescapable.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Nancy Oakes

    A simply stellar novel of which the author states the following: "It's a novel, not a history book, so I took many, many liberties. The only limitation I imposed on myself was that I was not going to invent anything that couldn't have happened within the framework of life in the Dominican Republic. I have respected the basic facts, but I have changed and deformed many things in order to make the story more persuasive -- and I have not exaggerated." For a longer discussion, A simply stellar novel of which the author states the following: "It's a novel, not a history book, so I took many, many liberties. The only limitation I imposed on myself was that I was not going to invent anything that couldn't have happened within the framework of life in the Dominican Republic. I have respected the basic facts, but I have changed and deformed many things in order to make the story more persuasive -- and I have not exaggerated." For a longer discussion, you can click through here; otherwise continue reading. In his retelling of the last days of the life of dictator Rafael Leonidas Trujillo who held absolute control over the lives of people in the Dominican Republic from 1930 to 1961, the author employs three narrative strands that weave through each other, or as he calls them, "trajectories," to tell his story. The first is via the return of Urania Cabral, daughter of Agustin Cabral, once a powerful member of Trujillo's staff before his ultimate downfall. After leaving for America at the age of 14 some 35 years earlier, Urania has finally returned to face the demons that drove her away; in the meantime she has been spending her time studying law, taking a position with the World Bank, and reading everything she could get her hands on about the Trujillo regime to try and understand what happened to her, and the reasons for her self-imposed exile. Her father can't explain it to her; he has suffered a stroke which renders him unable to speak; flashbacks reveal what Agustin is unable to tell her. Urania's own tragedy, eventually related to two incredulous female relatives, underscores the monster that Trujillo has become, but at the same time, it also illustrates exactly what sacrifices people who enjoy his good graces will make to maintain their status quo. A second narrative thread is taken up by the conspirators, including some of Trujillo's closest trusted military officers.While they lay in wait for Trujillo's car to pass by, the reasons behind their actions are revealed. Everything has been carefully planned, not only in terms of the assassination itself, but what is supposed to happen next -- a coup which will take out the existing Trujillistas, most notably Johnny Abbes Garcia, the sinister head of the SIM (military intelligence), and replace them with a junta with General "Pupo" Román at its head. Finally, the third voice is that of Trujillo on the last day of his life. He spends time in the past, recounting his disappointment in his sons, his sexual conquests, and events which he's experienced during his reign, interspersed with his present. As his body ages, he is plagued by problems with his prostate, which have made him both incontinent and impotent, a significant factor in not only his assassination, but in an earlier tragedy that brings the story full circle and highlights yet another theme of this novel in terms of the link between sex and power. It's difficult to talk about this book and some of its symbolism without giving away the show, hence only a sketchy discussion here, but it is an excellent novel. Even though, as noted above, the author took some liberties in putting his story together, sometimes it's difficult to figure out exactly what is fictional here simply because it is all so realistic, all so "could have happened." If you peruse the vast number of critical reviews of this novel, you will discover a wealth of symbolism lying beneath the action of this novel; if like me you're more of a casual reader and can't catch every single nuance, that's okay. Feast of the Goat is not for the squeamish; if you're upset about yet another novel highlighting the evil that people do then pass on this one. If, however, you are interested in circumstances that can create a person like Trujillo who can keep an entire nation paralyzed in the grip of his authority, this is a good place to start. Although helpful, even if you know nothing about the Dominican Republic or its history, it's definitely not a deal breaker -- the author makes everything extremely clear. Most highly recommended for readers of historical fiction, and for readers of the so-called "Dictator novel" form, where writers have used their literary talents to respond to tyranny, an area I plan to further explore in the near future.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Shaimaa Ali

    Llosa's Iconic Masterpiece!! Writing about politics is difficult, you always suspect the writer's integrity, what was his intentions of analyzing this historical era, this or that situation! However there's a great similarity between corrupted regimes that push you towards understanding, making virtual comparisons between what we read about & what we have already seen in every corrupted country ( including Mubarak's regime in Egypt). if Llosa was intentionally writing about Egypt, Llosa's Iconic Masterpiece!! Writing about politics is difficult, you always suspect the writer's integrity, what was his intentions of analyzing this historical era, this or that situation! However there's a great similarity between corrupted regimes that push you towards understanding, making virtual comparisons between what we read about & what we have already seen in every corrupted country ( including Mubarak's regime in Egypt). if Llosa was intentionally writing about Egypt, it wouldn't be less similar! Maybe we didn't hear about those sexual scandals among Mubarak & his family, but on every other aspect of corruption it was typically the same. And the people's reaction..oh!! That's a shame! People didn't want the revolution, they continued living as if nothing wrong is going on in their country!! It was a military coup or American intrusion in interior affairs that leads to that major change! Reading Wikipedia page about Trujillo's era is identical to what Llosa has written, however still the plot is magically written. It's history brought to life in written pictures! Wikipedia resources: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rafael_T... Anyway, enough talking about politics here, about the novel itself & Llosa's amazing writing style, he kept the thriller level so high that my heart kept on bounding till the last chapter! He drove me crazy with all the detailed Latinos complicated names ..but I assure you if you managed to get along with that in the beginning then you will discover how complicated each & everyone of those character is! They even deserve a dedicated novel about them (which is getting easy after reading Wikipedia info). He kept me compassionate about "Urania" all along, her wretched family members (her father, aunt & nephews). He mentioned all the points that keeps you admiring honest country men, loath its leader, his family & all his corrupted regime. All the characters are live! It was like seeing a great movie .. Not reading a mere novel I usually get nervous of getting back & forth in time ..however he managed it so well with a magnificent writing technique! Even in one of the chapters supposed that the major character (Urania) is remembering something , but it came in full details with the exact conversation of the characters.. It needs focus a bit. I really didn't enjoy a novel like this in so long time... Literature in its finest!

  20. 4 out of 5

    C.

    I will speak briefly of Mario Vargas Llosa's The Feast of the Goat. This book is about the dictator Rafael Trujillo who ruled the Dominican Republic for some thirty years. Several narratives run in parallel: that of Urania, who spent her early years in the Dominican Republic before fleeing to the USA after some grand betrayal from her father; that of the four or so people who are trying to assassinate Trujillo; and that of Trujillo himself. As the book progresses, the narratives branch out and w I will speak briefly of Mario Vargas Llosa's The Feast of the Goat. This book is about the dictator Rafael Trujillo who ruled the Dominican Republic for some thirty years. Several narratives run in parallel: that of Urania, who spent her early years in the Dominican Republic before fleeing to the USA after some grand betrayal from her father; that of the four or so people who are trying to assassinate Trujillo; and that of Trujillo himself. As the book progresses, the narratives branch out and we here from a variety of other people who are involved in the events surrounding Trujillo's assassination. I didn't enjoy this book much, but it was certainly interesting. Historically, of course - it's always interesting to read about some obscure part of history (or a part that is obscure to an Australian in 2008 - I expect it's not obscure at all for quite a few people), but also because of the way it differed from your average, common-or-garden historical novel. It was a cut above that, but not nearly as good as my all-time favourite of historical fiction, The Master by Colm Toibin. It was good because it departed from the main events: it put discourse back into history - the stories of the ordinary people who were affected. This is very much a post-modernist approach to history, and I luuuuuuuuuuuuuurved it. However, so many faults: the entire character of Urania, for example. Mary Sue, anyone? She is the epitome of the perfect person who has been deeply scarred early in life. The tragic heroine. Typically of a Mary Sue, her faults were not even faults - her fear of sex and of commitment simply served to make her more alluring. Even metaphor is twisted to Mary Sue ends: her complexion, flawless as a child's even at age 49, symbolises her entrapment in her childhood. But for fuck's sake, it also means she's incredibly beautiful! Whatever. I hate Mary Sues. They are evidence of weakness in an author. The writing was very colloquial, and while that made it accurate, I suppose, it bored me. It was rarely moving or beautiful or tragic, even where there was potential for it to be so. Of course, this is what I was talking about earlier - putting the ordinary people back into history. Ordinary people don't use high-flown Shakespearean metaphor - they use simple words to say things simply. But while this works in things like Death of a Salesman, I simply don't think it's done well enough here. The exception occurred towards the end. While the torture of prisoners was described, I felt physically distressed. It was truly disturbing, and in that way it moved me. So I ask, why couldn't the whole book have been like that? But maybe I was just responding with a natural queasiness and wrongly equating that feeling to a true emotional reaction. I don't know. In this vein, I'd like to quote a blurb from the back cover, from the Times Literary Supplement: "The Feast of the Goat will stand out as the great emblematic novel of Latin America's twentieth century and removes One Hundred Years of Solitude of that title." It's been a while since I read One Hundred Years of Solitude, but it was a book that affected me profoundly, and as such I don't think The Feast of the Goat even comes close. One Hundred Years of Solitude had that absolutely amazing way of using irony that I've only ever encountered in Catch-22, the type of black humour which leaves you wondering whether to laugh for hours or burst into sobs. 'I laugh so that I do not weep' type stuff. Absolutely amazing. The Feast of the Goat could not hope to equal that. I suppose it's my usual mantra. A good concept does not equal a good book. I love the concept of the different narrative points of view Llosa has used, but the execution leaves a little to be desired. An interesting read, in any case.

  21. 4 out of 5

    SAM

    This is the fourth book of 2018 i have picked up after reading articles posted on the Guardian website. I believe the article was top ten fiction books about dictators and because i love a good tale about oppressive regimes with nasty leaders it was an instant must have. I’d heard the name ‘Trujillo’ before but wasn’t clued up on his status in the history books. For the uninitiated Rafael Trujillo was the leader of the Dominican Republic between 1930 to 1961, when he was assassinated. This is the fourth book of 2018 i have picked up after reading articles posted on the Guardian website. I believe the article was top ten fiction books about dictators and because i love a good tale about oppressive regimes with nasty leaders it was an instant must have. I’d heard the name ‘Trujillo’ before but wasn’t clued up on his status in the history books. For the uninitiated Rafael Trujillo was the leader of the Dominican Republic between 1930 to 1961, when he was assassinated. His most heinous crime is the ‘Parsley Massacre’ , which was the genocidal assault on Haitians living in the Dominican Republic. Depending on who you listen to the final death toll is anywhere between 1,000 to 35,000. In my League of Dictators i’d put him between Castro (4th) and Pol Pot (2nd). Stalin is still number 1. (In terms of how evil they were, not because i admire them!) The book has three separate stories. Story one has 49 year old Uranita returning to the Dominican Republic after 30 plus years of self imposed exile to visit her ailing father, a former member of Trujillo’s inner circle. Over the course of her chapters we’re taken back to her childhood to re-live the horrific reason for her departure. Story two recounts the last days of Trujillo’s reign leading up to his death and story three focuses on Trujillo’s assassins as they sit in their car waiting for him to emerge from his residence. It’s a brilliant novel and each of the three stories intertwine perfectly. It took a while to adjust to the authors writing style as he flips between past and present with no indication of a time change but you get used to it after a couple of chapters. We’re not given a complete biography of Trujillo but more like snapshots of key meetings and events and a look at the American involvement during his reign. It’s interesting as hell especially if you’re into oppressive dictatorships and how they affect the people living through them. I live in the UK and after reading books about Stalin, Pol Pot and now Trujillo i wonder why people bitch and moan about our government. We should consider ourselves lucky. One small gripe is a few of the chapters after Trujillo’s death, which are written from the perspective of each of the main conspirators. They did drag and could have been shortened. Otherwise it’s a superb novel and i would definitely read other books by this author.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Kathrina

    Through Vargas Llosa's fictional account, we follow three perspectives of the horrendous 31-year tyranny in the Dominican Republic of Rafael Trujillo -- Urania, a survivor or Trujillo's sexual rapaciousness, a group of unfocused and largely dysfunctional but ultimately successful assassins, and Trujillo himself, seen through his own glorified eyes. We also see the the story through three distinct places in time -- the prime decade of Trujillo power and influence during the 1950's, the day of his Through Vargas Llosa's fictional account, we follow three perspectives of the horrendous 31-year tyranny in the Dominican Republic of Rafael Trujillo -- Urania, a survivor or Trujillo's sexual rapaciousness, a group of unfocused and largely dysfunctional but ultimately successful assassins, and Trujillo himself, seen through his own glorified eyes. We also see the the story through three distinct places in time -- the prime decade of Trujillo power and influence during the 1950's, the day of his death in 1961, and 35 years later, in the mid '90's. If you come to this book having already a pretty good understanding of Trujillo's regime, you may be thrown by some few liberties Vargas Llosa has taken with history. A few main characters are completely fictional, while many are not, yet their characterizations remain pure storytelling. If you are as yet unfamiliar with this episode in history, you will likely suffer through the first 100 pages. Vargas Llosa, like any great writer, does not over-define anyone or anything, and it is only your dedication to the work and a willingness to sort through the dozens of three-worded names and multiple nicknames of every soldier, thug and assassin in The Dominican that will ultimately lead you to the feast that awaits in the second half of the book. Perspectives coalesce and color such an immense portrait of abuse of power -- political, military, familial, masculine, racial, and certainly sexual. This man was an asshole in 10 different ways, and still maintained a cult of personality, and the frightening glimpse this narrative makes possible is how everyone he touches becomes an asshole, too. Idiocy breeds idiocy. Trujillo's power ends literally when he is shot, and figuratively when pressure from the US and other international powers scares the "puppet president" into forcing the Trujillo family out of the country and using the word "democracy" a lot in international conventions. It is a sweeping under the carpet (never mind the human rights violations) and a pretty "democratic" knick-knack placed on the mantel, fragile and unbalanced. In the '90's, as Urania looks back on her particular experience, her cousin claims all that evil was in the past, part of the Trujillo era that is now long gone. The best question this novel poses is, is it?

  23. 5 out of 5

    Conor

    Good lord was this good. Another "rehab an author whose first exposure underwhelmed me" book for my Cuba sojourn. I had read The War of the End of the World and although my my words were more measured at the time, thinking back on the book I recall only frustration and annoyance. I picked this up because it is one of the few books in my room that I own and have not read, the rest being library books, so I didn't worry about losing or having to jettison it in Cuba. Plus, it's a semi-faithful acc Good lord was this good. Another "rehab an author whose first exposure underwhelmed me" book for my Cuba sojourn. I had read The War of the End of the World and although my my words were more measured at the time, thinking back on the book I recall only frustration and annoyance. I picked this up because it is one of the few books in my room that I own and have not read, the rest being library books, so I didn't worry about losing or having to jettison it in Cuba. Plus, it's a semi-faithful account of another Caribbean nation, which I was eager to acquaint myself with. It starts out lush and engrossing and only drives harder and faster toward a series of incredible and brutal conclusions. Even as I knew that Trujillo was dead meat, it kept surprising and surprising. How has this not been made into a movie yet? Currently recommending to: every person I see.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Parthiban Sekar

    The Feast of the Goat will stand out as the great emblematic novel of Latin America's twentieth century and removes One Hundred Years of Solitude of that title. (Times Literary Supplement)... :/ (less)

  25. 5 out of 5

    Tanuj Solanki

    In Innaritu's movies, time moves forward, backward, it expands, it contracts. Time runs at different paces in various narratives, all of which emanate from or conclude in one grand event, an event which usually falls somewhere in the middle of the movie. An example is the car accident in the movie 'Amores Perros', where three different stories collide and then strike away in new directions, with different speeds. New narratives are floated, at times, to fill the logical holes in "the story". Inn In Innaritu's movies, time moves forward, backward, it expands, it contracts. Time runs at different paces in various narratives, all of which emanate from or conclude in one grand event, an event which usually falls somewhere in the middle of the movie. An example is the car accident in the movie 'Amores Perros', where three different stories collide and then strike away in new directions, with different speeds. New narratives are floated, at times, to fill the logical holes in "the story". Innaritu flips and cut between stories to maintain high energy at most times, except in the select moments when a poignant emotion is required to be evoked. Llosa's novel approaches the neurosis one finds in Innaritu's movies, but not completely. It is only after the major event in the middle of the work - the process and culmination of Trujillo's assassination - that the novel acquires a easy fluidity with time. Before that, a knowing reader can almost feel all the tricks that Llosa employs. It is only in the second half that the superb cinematic quality of the events lends itself absolutely to the structure and style, providing an experience similar to watching an violent explosion in detail, from various frenetic perspectives, with a clear view of all shards and splinters. We are obliged to feel terror, abhorrence, exhilaration, and excitement, words which we may lead us to think of the novel as successful as a whole. However, Llosa's novel is not successful. Because there is that burdening fatigue even before we reach that massive event in the middle. There is ennui when one is made to wait too long for an explosion. Q: What gives us this fatigue, this ennui? A: The novel's lousy first half, where Llosa sticks to building one-to-two dimensional characters who never suffer a change (or who have suffered so much that they can't change) merely to prepare us for the finale. All is drab, and nothing is intended to be subtle. The big example is Trujillo. Granted that the dictator's weak bladder was a good ruse, but that being the only dimension to this person is a folly that may be excused a historian, but not to a novelist. One wonders if Llosa is so convinced of the pulsating nature of his story (most of it due to history) that he forgoes the classic requirements of a novel. He does try formal invention. We begin with three different narrative lines that converge (somewhat) later in the novel. Trujillo's perspective, and that of his assassins-in-waiting, seem to be part of the same story, but the third one, trying to portray the long term effects of the Trujillo era on the individual, seems incoherent, right from the beginning.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Diane S ☔

    Interesting structure to this book, it deals with the last days of the dictator, his assassination and the attempts to pull the country together after he has been killed. It also takes the plot twenty-nine years after the assassination when the daughter of the leader of the senate under Trujillo, comes home after not speaking to her family in the intervening years. I felt the structure, the thoughts of a seventy year old dictator whose body is failing, the thoughts of the assassins, and the daug Interesting structure to this book, it deals with the last days of the dictator, his assassination and the attempts to pull the country together after he has been killed. It also takes the plot twenty-nine years after the assassination when the daughter of the leader of the senate under Trujillo, comes home after not speaking to her family in the intervening years. I felt the structure, the thoughts of a seventy year old dictator whose body is failing, the thoughts of the assassins, and the daughter, while at times caused repetition also provided the reader with a thorough picture of this country and the men with who me surrounded himself. Although he did provide the Dominican Republic with stability, economic growth, jobs etc. it also proved a high price to pay in the terms of human life. Like all dictators he had eliminated any and all who dared to speak against him. He surrounded himself with men who owned their prosperity, their lives and those of their families, to him and curried his favor, carrying out acts which with they might have not agreed. Hard to read, many of the torture scenes I skimmed through, but I do feel much more familiar with this country. Many, many names too many to remember and I didn't even try, the main characters will stick and those became the important ones to the story.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Hadrian

    An excellent novel, another brilliant book by Llosa. Three storylines, brilliantly researched depiction of a living hell - a mad dictatorship.

  28. 4 out of 5

    WordsBeyondBorders

    Given the volatile geopolitical climate in South America, it is not surprising that a lot of writers from there have written about power and it's abuse. Losa's 'The Feast of the Goat' is one of the most unforgettable novels about total power. It's part fiction, based on the reign of 'Rafael Trujillo', dictator of Dominica and recounts the ordeals faced by the people, the abuse of power by Trujillo and his colleagues, an assassination attempt on his life and it's aftermath. Caught in the midst of Given the volatile geopolitical climate in South America, it is not surprising that a lot of writers from there have written about power and it's abuse. Losa's 'The Feast of the Goat' is one of the most unforgettable novels about total power. It's part fiction, based on the reign of 'Rafael Trujillo', dictator of Dominica and recounts the ordeals faced by the people, the abuse of power by Trujillo and his colleagues, an assassination attempt on his life and it's aftermath. Caught in the midst of all this are the innocent people, who suffer the most. 'Urania Cabral' is 49 and has been living in New York for the past 35 years in self imposed exile from Dominica and has been estranged from her father. The novel begins with her coming back to Dominica and meeting her father who is now an invalid. The novel diverges into 3 narratives at this point, one the present where Urania via a series of monologues with her father recalls the events of the past, the other is the events of a particular day of the regime in the past and the third is the about a group of people who are waiting to assassinate Trujillo at a particular location. The narratives intersect at a point where we come to know about the reason for Urania's exile and the aftermath of the assassination attempt. As befitting a dictator, Trujillo is a man drowning in his own hubris, but is realistic enough to know that he has failed on some accounts. His family is a disappointment. The U.S, an ally till about an year ago is plotting to remove him and his sons aren't by his side to help him in his biggest battle. The country's economy is failing. He is incontinent and having prostate problems. But he still is the lord of what he surveys and is determined to fight till the end. Amidst all this, Losa shows us a glimpse of a man who probably started with a ideal in his mind, fought for it, achieved it and ultimately became corrupted by it, resulting in the creation of a corrupt and nepotist country.This doesn't reduce the evil of Trujillo, but serves to underscore the point that even the most evil of men could start off wanting something good, but somewhere along the line their path changes. It may sound flippant, but when one considers the dictators of the world the thing that is most astonishing is not their capacity to dole out inhuman treatment, but rather the debasement suffered by their cronies and the general public who seem to almost revel in it. That's why Trujillo is able to humiliate a senator in a large gathering by saying that the senator's wife was the woman he had the best sex with, that's why he is able to make a general clean up a drain sewage. What makes them accept these humiliations without a murmur, have they become masochists? What drove 'Augustin Cabral' to do what he did, resulting in a living hell for himself and his daughter. What is that intangible that makes a dictator keep an entire country under his full control and subject it to his whim's and fancies. In that sense, this novel is as much about the political cronies as it is about Trujillo. Cronies who prostrate themselves before Trujillo, are engaged in the internal power struggles, jockeying for position and who in the heart of hearts would be ready to sell Trujillo, the instant the winds change. Is the taste of power (however small) and the prospect of money so great that one can suffer all these? At the other end are the common people, people like Urania, the wives violated and young girls sexually abused by Trujillo and his family, people who have to prove their loyalty to the state by turning against their loved ones or at least have to suppress their anger when their loved ones are hurt by the state. These are the people who lose the most, getting nothing in return. Losa is not sparing while detailing the nightmarish regime. Some parts, especially the account of what happened to Urania and the aftermath of the assassination attempt are horrendous and what makes them even worse is that you cannot wish it away saying that its only fiction. The claustrophobic atmosphere prevailing over the entire country is brought our clinically, a country where you do not know when the government or rather Trujillo could turn against and ruin you based on his whims, where you are not sure that your best friend wouldn't betray you to get ahead. This is probably Losa's most stylistically realized novel. The intermingling of narratives and time shifts is done seamlessly and clinically with no room for confusion. It is almost visual in its presentation, one can actually see the scenes shifting from one narrative/timeline to another as in a movie. There is none of the ordered chaos of narration present in say 'The Green House' and to a lesser extent in 'The War Of the Worlds'. This is a highly controlled exhibition of stylistic narration. This is not just a novel on Dominica, but a global one. The events in the novel could be applied to any country in the world, rename the tyrant and characters and the novel would sit just fine in any totalitarian regime. For instance, the personality cult prevailing in that period that Losa details may seem far fetched, but it may actually be lesser compared to real life. One needs to just think on the mythification of 'kim jong il' in the past week to see how pervasive and global it is. The events happening in North Korea was the reason I revisited this novel again. This novel along with 'Aunt Julia and the Scripwriter' are the best of Losa's works and exemplify the greatness of the man who can handle completely diverse genres with equal aplomb. These are must reads in Losa's oeuvre.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Shane

    A powerful and scary novel about a lesser known dictator, Rafael Tujillo (and his murderous family) of the Dominican Republic, who ruled the tiny nation of three million luckless souls for 31 years, convincing me that all dictators are of a type: charismatic, self-absorbed, delusional, ruthless and vicious, especially when their sexual prowess starts to flag. Told from multiple viewpoints, the story focuses on the day of Trujillo’s assassination, on the bloody aftermath that follows, A powerful and scary novel about a lesser known dictator, Rafael Tujillo (and his murderous family) of the Dominican Republic, who ruled the tiny nation of three million luckless souls for 31 years, convincing me that all dictators are of a type: charismatic, self-absorbed, delusional, ruthless and vicious, especially when their sexual prowess starts to flag. Told from multiple viewpoints, the story focuses on the day of Trujillo’s assassination, on the bloody aftermath that follows, and on the return 35 years later of one of his virginal victims whom the Generalissimo violated and scarred for life, just because he couldn’t “get it up.” Trujillo, the Goat, is the personification of that other devil, Lucifer, who has also been likened to the bearded animal. We are introduced to his inner life, to his ambitions, his fears, and his sexual preferences. He is tortured by the embargo placed on him by the USA for his assassination attempt on the neighbouring Venezuelan ruler, by the disloyalty of the Catholic Church, by the rise of Fidel Castro, and by a cancerous prostate that is starting to let him down in bed. The dictator in turn rules by fear, surrounded by a mob of sycophantic ministers, and protected by his Intelligence director Johnny Abbes, himself a twisted murderer whose torture techniques defy the imagination. In return for his ministers’ loyalty, Trujillo rewards them materially and openly screws their wives and daughters, and is clear about his particular preference for deflowering virgins. Through open intimidation and unpredictable reversals, he controls his followers’ minds and renders them useless to act on their own, except for the ostensible “puppet President” Balaguer, a poet, who secretly does not submit to the dictator – perhaps Llosa’s portrayal of the pen being mightier than the sword. Through the voices of Urania, the violated virgin who returns to exact revenge on her dying father—once a minister in the Tujillo administration—for “offering” her to the Goat in order to protect his job; through the voices of the four assassins, each whose lives had been touched tragically by the Goat; through the diminutive Dr. Balaguer and his manoeuvrings to eject the Trujillos out of the DR once and forever; and through Trujillo himself on the last day of his life, we get a vivid multi-dimensional picture of the uncertainty inside a dictatorship. The important lesson coming out of the assassination is that a nation subjugated to the will of a dictator for such a long time is unable to rise and take control of the situation, and just as the Reign of Terror arose in France following the storming of the Bastille, the vacuum created by Trujillo’s exit leads to power factions fighting each other and to a mass manhunt for the killers, in which hundreds are imprisoned and tortured. The torture scenes are horrible and I got the impression that in order to sanitize the suffering, Lllosa decided to list the “treatments” that the victims were subjected to. I wondered how they remained alive and coherent after such degradation and assault. To say I was riveted by this novel is an understatement. But I was also disappointed in the writing from this Nobel Prize winner. Perhaps it is the translation. Pronouns are in constant overuse, often to describe different people in the same sentence – there are times when one does not know who the “he” or “him” we are being referred to. Given that Llosa is drawing heavily from the historical record, he often drops in multiple names, addressing many with different last names and pet names, adding to a confusion of characters, many who are incidental to the story and could have been dropped. Tenses too get confused, and the experiment to juxtapose back- story with present story in the same tense, and without a clear delineation, is jarring. This is an important novel for these times, given that despots are falling all around the world and leaving shades of the Trujillo story in their wake. More importantly, it is a cautionary tale to citizens in countries who take democracy for granted and do not believe that a Goat can grow up in their backyard, fed on ignorance and complacency.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Hossein Sharifi

    This sad book is set in the Dominican Republic and portrays the assassination of Dominican dictator Rafael Trujillo. The novel follows three interwoven storylines. The first concerns a woman, Urania Cabral, who is back in the Dominican Republic, after a long absence, to visit her ailing father; she ends up recalling incidents from her youth and recounting a long-held secret to her aunt and cousins. The second story line focuses on the last day in Trujillo's life from the moment he wakes up onwar This sad book is set in the Dominican Republic and portrays the assassination of Dominican dictator Rafael Trujillo. The novel follows three interwoven storylines. The first concerns a woman, Urania Cabral, who is back in the Dominican Republic, after a long absence, to visit her ailing father; she ends up recalling incidents from her youth and recounting a long-held secret to her aunt and cousins. The second story line focuses on the last day in Trujillo's life from the moment he wakes up onwards, and shows us the regime's inner circle, to which Urania's father once belonged. The third strand depicts Trujillo's assassins, many of whom had previously been government loyalists, as they wait for his car late that night; after the assassination, this story line shows us the assassins' persecution. Each aspect of the book's plot reveals a different viewpoint on the Dominican Republic's political and social environment, past and present. The Feast of the Goat's major themes includes political corruption, machismo, memory, and writing and power. the title of the book, Fiesta means ‘party’ in Spanish, and Trujillo’s panders always tell the girls they are invited to a party. The other meaning of fiesta is ‘feast day’, and refers, of course, to the day the goat is finally sacrificed – although goats are usually sacrificed as representatives of human piety and contrition, rather than for their own goatish sins. Trujillo is looking forward to a sexual encounter of a much more satisfying kind this evening when he gets to San Cristóbal. Rafael Leonidas Trujillo Molina گفت‌وگو با مردی که دیکتاتور دومینیکن را کشت سخن آخر: ترجمه ی کتاب فوق العاده بود. جلد کتاب را دوست داشتم..خوانش کتاب تا حدود دویست صفحه ی اول کار مشکلی بود و دلیل سه ستاره دادنم شاید همین بود.. موضوع کتاب برای ایرانیان نیز باید آشنا باشد... دیکتاتور ها و ستم و سیاست و قدرت.

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