When this year’s prize was announced, last Thursday, it went to a writer who, if not a North American (again), is at least familiar to North Americans: the Peruvian novelist and man of letters Mario Vargas Llosa. So all hail Vargas Llosa, whom even his noisier left-wing critics have to regard as exactly the kind of writer the prize ought to go to: one with a host of well-regarded novels (“The Time of the Hero,” “Conversation in the Cathedral,” the screen-adapted “Aunt Julia and the Scriptwriter,” “The Feast of the Goat”) and a sense of social responsibility (he ran seriously for, and lost badly, the Presidency of Peru), not to mention a lively personal life that includes once punching out another future laureate with an equally impressive triple-barrelled moniker, Gabriel García Márquez, reportedly over something to do with Mrs. Vargas Llosa. The Nobel thus not only crowns a career but provides the basis for a fine future Javier Bardem/Antonio Banderas movie. (“The only thing they cared for more than Latin American epic fiction was . . . the honor of a woman.”)
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