The Discreet Hero

“The Discreet Hero” by Mario Vargas Llosa (Peru)


Once confusion with the alternating narratives in the novel had passed, readers became very involved with both stories. They found them compelling, and liked the combination of intrigue and entertainment that are played out by a rich cast of characters. They didn’t particularly warm to the two protagonists but felt that they grabbed their sympathy, while other characters merely aroused their contempt. Some readers found the style of flashbacks, and back and forth right in the middle of the narratives, quite unusual and challenging at times. But, when they got used to it, they began to enjoy the style as it slowed down their reading and kept them involved. They liked the vivid descriptions of both Lima and Piura, and they found that there were some intimate and interesting insights into Peruvian culture as well. Readers said the ending was somewhat frustrating as it left them with unanswered questions about a particularly unusual character! Overall, it averaged a 7.9 out of 10.


Felicito Yanaqué has raised himself from poverty to ownership of a trucking business. His two sons work for him. He receives a threatening letter demanding protection money. The police don’t take him seriously. Felicito refuses to pay up and gets sucked into a nightmare. He becomes a reluctant public hero. Then his mistress is kidnapped, and matters become seriously complicated… Read more


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