In Peru in the 1950s, when he was a student, Mario Vargas Llosa read Flora Tristan’s self-revealing Pérégrinations d’une paria (1838), with its vivid and often scathing impressions of Peruvian society, a book that left a deep mark on him. As he told an interviewer from Le Figaro Littéraire in April 2003 who came to question him about his latest work of fiction, El Paraíso en la otra esquina, he may well have thought even then about writing a novel inspired by her tempestuous life. In his fascinating memoirs, El pez en el agua (1993), Vargas Llosa listed among his future literary projects in 1987 a novel about the half-French half-Peruvian socialist and feminist militant, who died in mid-task in 1844 at the age of forty-one. So it looks as if the subject of El Paraíso en la otra esquina has been maturing virtually throughout his literary life. It was only later,...

 
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