First Lines Second Thoughts is a look at the first lines of well known literary works.
On second thought, do these opening words stand alone as poetry? As we continue our travels through Peru we shine the spotlight on her most famous novelist — Nobel Prize for Literature recipient Mario Vargas Llohsa and his novel, The Storyteller. Published as El hablador in its original Spanish in 1987. Published in 1989 in English.
I came to Firenze
to forget Peru
and the Peruvians for a while,
and suddenly my unfortunate country
forced itself upon me this morning
in the most unexpected way.
— Mario Vargas Llohsa
Alternating story tellers with each chapter Mario Vargas Llohsa becomes a character in his own novel. Dealing with cultural identity in 1950s Peru The Storyteller is Saúl Zuratas who leaves his life behind to live with and tell the story of an Amazon tribe.
In a New York Times review from 1989, Ursula K. Le Guin, wrote, "To me this is Mr. Vargas Llosa's most engaging and accessible book, for the urgency of its subject purifies and illuminates the writing."