Thursday, January 24, 2008

Mario Vargas Llosa: The Bad Girl

David Robson reviews Mario Vargas Llosa's The Bad Girl.

The title is promising. Who wants to read about good girls? But then the doubts set in. Will one bad girl be enough? The trouble with bad girls in literature is that they have shot their bolt after a couple of bedroom scenes. Only the best of them - the ones who are good girls underneath - can sustain a whole novel.

The Peruvian veteran Mario Vargas Llosa has found an ingenious solution to an old problem. He uses a single bad girl, but to keep the character fresh, re-introduces her in a series of different guises.

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