Mario Vargas Llosa: The Last Titan

Why has García Márquez’s magical realism cemented its place on American bookshelves and syllabuses while Vargas Llosa’s gritty masterpieces are neglected? Vargas Llosa’s best books are harder to read than García Márquez’s. He’s less sentimental, dirtier, raunchier, angrier. “One Hundred Years of Solitude” looks like a Hallmark card next to “Conversation in the Cathedral.” You might be fired for assigning Vargas Llosa in high school English. And Vargas Llosa has published so many novels — 18 in all — that the tours de force can get lost among the mediocrities. His buttoned-up public demeanor hasn’t helped. “Gabo” was not only a tremendous writer; he was an expert showman who once worked in advertising and cannily played up his Caribbean exoticism for foreign audiences. When the two fell out in the 1970s, many intellectuals leaned left toward García Márquez, while Vargas Llosa was shunned.

https://nyti.ms/2C7VhYE

 

Staying Power: Is It Possible to Resist Deportation in Trump’s America?

Ever since Arizona passed Senate Bill 1070, one of the toughest anti-undocumented bills ever signed into law, the state has been known for pioneering the kind of draconian tactics that the Trump administration is now turning into federal policy. But if Arizona has been a testing ground for the nativist agenda, it has also been an incubator for resistance to it. Among the state’s many immigrant rights groups, Puente stands out as the most seasoned and most confrontational. In the weeks and months following Election Day 2016 — as progressive groups suddenly found themselves on defense, struggling to figure out how to handle America’s new political landscape — Garcia was inundated with calls for advice. He flew around the country for training sessions with field organizers, strategy meetings with lawyers and policy experts and an off-the-record round table with Senators Dick Durbin and Bernie Sanders in Washington. A soft-spoken man with a stoic demeanor and a long, black ponytail, Garcia was also stunned by Trump’s victory. But organizers in Phoenix had one clear advantage. “All the scary things that folks are talking about,” he told me, “we’ve seen before.” On Nov. 9, he likes to say, the country woke up in Arizona.

Why did 1 in 3 Latinos in Florida vote for Trump? It's complicated.

When Florida turned red on Election Day, I was stunned — especially after I saw the demographic breakdowns. Nearly one in three Latino voters in Florida cast their ballots for Trump. According to a CNN and Latino Decisions exit poll, his support among Cuban-American voters was even higher: 54 percent. “Definitely there was a hidden, secret Latino vote,” Jorge Ramos, the Univision news anchor, told me. “We’re seeing a new divide within the Hispanic community. The wall that Trump was talking about is clearly apparent now within the Hispanic community.”

Is the Latino Surge Sustainable?

The big question after 2016 may be: Which path will this year’s Latino surge follow? Will it be like California in the 1990s or like Florida in the 1980s? Mi Familia Vota’s Ben Monterroso told Buzzfeed recently that some 10 million Latinos who were eligible to register to vote this year didn’t. That’s more than a third of the group’s eligible population. So plenty of Latinos are already choosing to sit on the sidelines. Will the results of this election decide if they jump in the next time around?

27 Million Potential Hispanic Votes. But What Will They Really Add Up To?

Looking for answers, I spent six months interviewing scores of Latinos in Virginia, a battleground state where the Latino share of the population has more than tripled since 1990. I met with Latino Catholics, Pentecostals and Mormons, with legal residents, citizens and undocumented immigrants. I frequented a church and a community center, soccer fields and a dance club. I lurked around Republican and Democratic events and a skateboard park. I interviewed custodians and construction workers, lawyers and real estate agents, restaurant owners and community organizers, college students and political staffers. In all, I spoke with more than 100 Virginians of various ethnic backgrounds.

When Doctors Took ‘Family Planning’ Into Their Own Hands

Madrigal v. Quilligan was, from its outset, the kind of striking David-versus-Goliath story that Hollywood and history books usually love — Erin Brockovich with an East L.A. twist. Yet when Virginia Espino began researching the case in 1994, almost all its details had been lost and forgotten.

Jorge Ramos's Long Game

Around the corner from Arpaio, near a bright yellow sign that read “No Outlet,” two producers and two cameramen huddled with the Univision anchorman Jorge Ramos, running through their pre-interview preparations. Cameras rolling. Microphone on. “I’m on TV,” Ramos told me later. “I’m constantly thinking about performance and journalistic integrity.” For him, one is no use without the other.

Jorge Ramos Is Not Walter Cronkite

In his 2002 memoir, “No Borders: A Journalist’s Search for Home,” Ramos recounts that in 1991 he was elbowed in the stomach and knocked to the ground by a bodyguard after accosting a politician, peppering him with questions and making an uncomfortable declaration. This time, the politician was President Fidel Castro of Cuba, and what Ramos said was, “Many people believe that this is the time for you to call for an election.” At the last word, the bodyguard’s elbow struck.

What Did You Do in the Dirty War?

'My Fathers’ Ghost Is Climbing in the Rain’ by Patricio Pron Reviewed by Marcela Valdes New York Times Book Review. July 5, 2013.

In the 1970s, during the years that Argentina’s last military dictatorship was busy raping, torturing and killing thousands of the country’s citizens, a large obelisk in Buenos Aires was adorned with this menacing piece of advice: ­“Silence is health.” That dictatorship ended in 1983, but no one recovers quickly from a bludgeon, especially not a child. The Argentine novelist Patricio Pron was born in 1975, a year before the Dirty War began. The nameless narrator of his artful novel “My Fathers’ Ghost Is Climbing in the Rain” isn’t merely silent; he’s erased.

For eight years he has been living in Germany, popping paroxetine, benzodiazepines and sleeping pills until his mind is shot through with gaps like a censored letter. Lest we forget we’re dealing with damaged goods, Pron makes the novel’s very structure as perforated as our man’s memory. Holes appear in its numbered fragments — a missing No. 8, say, or an elided 17 — whenever the narrator hits a snag. When he gets sick, the sequence turns feverish: 22, 11, 9, 26, 3.

Only when his father sinks into a coma, in August 2008, does this bruised soul finally return to Argentina. There he finds a photograph that disturbs his willful amnesia: Dad in sideburns next to a woman who is not the narrator’s mother. Below the photo lies a folder thick with clippings about a recent missing-person case: 60-year-old Alberto José Burdisso has disappeared from the town of El Trébol; decades earlier his sister, Alicia, vanished during the military dictatorship.

“You don’t ever want to know certain things,” the son thinks, staring at the photo of his father and the woman, “because what you know belongs to you, and there are certain things you never want to own.” Reason enough to eat another Xanax.

But having discovered Dad’s interest in Alberto and Alicia, the protagonist must find out: Who are these siblings? Why did they disappear? How is his father connected to them? And what, exactly, was Dad doing during those crucial years when Argentina’s democracy imploded? Suspense swells through the early sections, as Pron nests mystery within mystery, carefully tending the big enigma: What trauma drove the narrator to Germany, and into the fuzzy comfort of pills?

Read the rest of this review at nytimes.com