The Feast of the Goat

By Mario Vargas Llosa, Edith Grossman (translator),

Book cover of The Feast of the Goat

Book description

'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

Urania Cabral, a New York lawyer, returns to the Dominican Republic after a lifelong self-imposed exile. Once she is…

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Why read it?

5 authors picked The Feast of the Goat as one of their favorite books. Why do they recommend it?

I lived in Lima during the worst excesses of “the Sendero years” when I came to know the Peruvian Nobel laureate and quondam presidential candidate.

This story about the assassination of the Dominican dictator Trujillo is an exhilarating portrait of corruption, violence, and power. Trujillo stands in a long and grubby line of post-Pizarro tyrants like Melgarejo of Bolivia, Rosas of Argentina, Stroessner of Paraguay, and Pinochet of Chile, who deformed their countries.

From Nicholas' list on post-war Latin America.

A dark, brooding novel by a giant of Latin American fiction, the Peruvian winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature. Vargas Llosa appropriately placed a female protagonist, Urania Cabral, front and center in this book about a dictator who is remembered in part for his abuses of young women. Another storyline involves the men who conspired, with CIA support, to assassinate Trujillo. Vargas Llosa includes real historical characters, like Trujillo’s right-hand man and successor, Joaquín Balaguer, often with fictionalized aspects; and fictional composites bearing witness to the experiences of the Dominican people under their rule.

From Michele's list on understanding the Dominican Republic.

Nobel Prize-Winning Vargas Llosa’s novel tells the story of the assassination and downfall of Dominican dictator Rafael Trujillo, alias El Jefe. Told through various narrative streams while flipping backwards and forwards in the timeline, Vargas Llosa weaves history, politics, and the brutal repression of Trujillo and his feared Military Intelligence Service into a compelling story.  

While not solely a spy novel, this book reveals the role that military “caudillos” with their repressive internal intelligence services have played throughout Latin America, especially during the second half of the 20th Century as the region was caught between Washington and Moscow during…

From Lachlan's list on spy books set in Latin America.

Set in the Dominican Republic, The Feast of the Goat explores the 1961 assassination of the monstrous dictator Rafael Trujillo from the perspectives of Trujillo himself, the assassins, and a Dominican emigrant who has returned to her native land decades later. Vargas Llosa recreates the suffocating atmosphere that pervaded the country in a way that no historian ever could. I had heard that the terrible legacy of Trujillo can still be felt today in the Dominican Republic, but I didn’t fully appreciate this until visiting Santo Domingo in 2017.

From Thomas' list on set in the Caribbean.

Although I disagree with most of Mario Vargas-Llosa’s views about our world, this work of historical fiction is a masterpiece. It recounts the end of Rafael Trujillo’s brutal dictatorship in the Dominican Republic, from 1930 to 1961, when he was assassinated, and its devastating aftermath. The book unflinchingly shows how cynicism and cowardice corrupt an entire society, and the choices ordinary people face when the only ways to resist an evil regime are either rebellion or escape. It is a gruesome book and I do not recommend it for younger readers. But we can learn a lot from it about…

From Moshik's list on leadership and history.

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