The Way to Paradise

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The Way to Paradise

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1technodiabla
Redigeret: jan 25, 2011, 5:39pm

I'm about 100 pages in and am loving The Way to Paradise so far. If anyone else is reading this, please post your thoughts here.

2technodiabla
Redigeret: feb 1, 2011, 3:13pm

What a fantastic novel! This is the first Llhosa I've read and I'm hooked. The Way to Paradise is a dual fictionalized biography of Paul Gauguin and his grandmother Flora Tristan, a feminist communist revolutionary. It follows Gauguin's development as an artist through France and Tahiti and Tristan's development into a revolutionary through France, Peru and London.
The stories themselves are interesting, but Llhosa really does some magic with the Gauguin portions of the book. His spirit, decline, and inner journey to find savagery are all just perfectly depicted-- as is the contrast to the colonial rulers and the Maori people. Gauguin is actually reprehensible as a person but Llhosa-- without glossing over his faults-- somehow makes him, if not likeable, understandable, tragic, and human.
The Tristan portions are not quite as impressive. There aren't many male writers who could delve into a woman's psyche and have the results be believable. Llhosa wasn't far off the mark, but it didn't have the same gut-wrenching truth to it as Gauguin's depiction.
The stories are both vulgar and a bit depressing, but I would recommend this novel to almost anyone. Great stories, great writing! 4.5 stars

3raton-liseur
feb 15, 2011, 11:05pm

I have read this book a few years ago, same as you technodiabla, the first book I read from Vargas Llosa. I second your comments, but would add that I preferred the parts about Gauguin because I know this figure more than Flora Tristan. I know his paintings, and it was interesting to see who was behind them.

I would like to emphasise the title in Spanish, El paraiso en la otra esquina, translated in French (the language I read the book in) Le Paradis un peu plus loin. That would translate literally into Paradise, a little further.
If I remember well, it is a verse from a children song. I like this title, which gives a sense of quest, both characters looking for the paradise, or at least their idea of paradise, which always seems a little further. Just another step, but each time you make another step, there is one more to make...

4technodiabla
feb 16, 2011, 1:10pm

My book jacket says the literal translation is "The Paradise in the other corner". That evokes the same "always out of reach" sense that you mention. I am not that familiar with Gauguin's works but I'm interested in seeing them now. I tend to like reading about artists.