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Friday, July 25

Vargas Llosa shows his mettle in a weekly op-ed column

The Other Vargas Llosa -- The novelist as courageous columnist: "What best characterizes these columns is their urgency and candor. They are written in and for the present and never succumb to ardor as a blinding power. 'Since I know that a hot head is incompatible with clear ideas and good prose,' the Peruvian argues, 'I try to write as dispassionately as possible, though I realize I donít always succeed.' Indeed, there is little that is rushed in these pages. The arguments are crystalline and the prose is succinct and measured, in part because Vargas Llosa has learned well the dictum of philologist Raimundo Lida: 'Adjectives were made not to be used.' Donít get me wrong: Vargas Llosa is quite opinionated. His main targets are the recalcitrant left in Latin America and the stubbornness of various nationalist movements in the industrialized world. He likes to talk of 'inquisitions' staged by progressive forces that inevitably result in 'levels of sectarianism and idiocy that have taken over political debate south of the Rio Grande.'" Newsweek A new book of essays that Mario Vargas Llosa publishes in El PaŪs and Caretas stirs strong priase from Ilan Stavans, a professor at Amhert College.

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