The Bad Girl

Travesuras de la Nina Mala

Mario Vargas Llosa, winner of the 2010 Nobel Prize for Literature, takes readers on a nearly 40-year journey through the eyes of helpless romantic Ricardo Somocurcio and his always-on-the-run lover, The Bad Girl. The characters are deep, the plot twisting, and the ending heartfelt.

What if you fell in love with somebody who was incapable of ever returning your love? Somebody who would wander in and out of your life for over 30 years, making you ecstatically happy for a few months, and then intensely miserable for years. Somebody so ashamed of their true identity that they disguised themselves as a different person every time they popped back into your life?

Follow the story of Ricardo and his Bad Girl, from Peru to Tokyo, age 11 to age 54.

Ricardo’s greatest dream since the time he was a child in Peru was to live in Paris til the end of his days. So he masters French and moves to his dream city. Nothing would make him happier than to live in his small apartment in the city of lights. He’s a translator and interpreter, traveling the world as part of his job. He doesn’t make a lot, just enough to live comfortably. His life isn’t exciting, or dramatic. It’s pretty boring actually. And that’s okay with Ricardo, the good boy.

But the Chilean Girl/Comrade Arlette,/Madame Robert Arnoux/Mrs. Richardon/Kuriko/Lucy is not willing to sit around playing the petite bourgeois houswife that Ricardo so wants her to be. She’s chasing her own dream. A dream in which money equals happiness, power is currency, and adrenaline is fuel. So the Bad Girl will burst into her good boy’s life, make him insanely happy, and then leave just as dramatically a short time later.

Her adventures form the backbone of the plot, which is told through the eyes of Ricardo. The readers hope his lover will settle down, but also keep their finger’s crossed she’ll do something crazy and exciting to spice up Ricardo’s bland life. And she  never disappoints in this aspect. The alternating slow and fast pacing keeps the book exciting, and the reader always guessing what’ll happen next.

And the ending…ties everything in a nice, calm, sad bow. It fits the book perfectly.

Enjoy the award-winning literature of Vargas Llosa and his story of obsessions, passions, and delusions.

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