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


Story Connector Literature Circle (Oct 2016-Sep 2017)

  • Book Club Season 20
  • Self-Help Spring Season 2017
  • Summer Reading Group 2017


One-off discussions
“Unaccustomed Earth” by Jhumpa Lahiri – Oct 2016
“One Night, Markovitch” by Ayelet Gundar-Goshan (Israel) – Jan 2017
“The Discreet Hero” by Mario Vargas Llosa (Peru) – May 2017

* * * * * * *

From October 2016 to September 2017, Nicola tested out a new Story Connector Literature Circle. The idea behind this reading group came from her desire to take her two passions – world literature and personal development – and offer them in a combined package. Nicola was also fascinated by the many reasons WHY we read and wanted to explore them further with a group of like-minded readers.

The role of Story Connector in a Literature Circle is to try to find connections between the story and the outside world. This means connecting what we read with our own life, to what happens at work or in the community, to similar events at other times and places, or to other books we have read.

Nicola says author Ursula K. Le Guin sums up her reason for reading when she said: We read books to find out who we are. What other people, real or imaginary, do and think and feel is an essential guide to our understanding of what we ourselves are and may become.

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