Mario Vargas Llosa (Updated)

I don’t normally care much who gets the Nobel Prize.

Normally, that is, until one of my favorite writers and political thinkers wins it.

Hearing of Mario Vargas Llosa’s honor took me back to 1993, when I picked up a copy of “El Pez en el Agua.” The brutally honest depiction of his doomed Presidential campaign, written in parallel with stories from his traumatic upbringing and his beginnings as a writer and reporter, made a fan out of me.

I’ve been a political (and Vargas Llosa) junkie ever since. That book caught me hook, line, and sinker. It’s not his most acclaimed work, but to me, it’s his most meaningful. Without it, I probably wouldn’t be writing on this blog.

One could write thousands of words about Vargas Llosa’s courageous stances on behalf of liberty, and about the towering intellectual and literary legacy he has forged, but none would do him justice. I’m not that good a writer.

So after a particularly contentious comments thread, let’s discuss something else: what’s your favorite Vargas Llosa book?

Updated: From a few days ago, Vargas Llosa’s take on Hugo Chávez’s defeat. Hat tip: @VVperiodistas. It’s not to be missed. In Spanish, sorry – anyone have the English version?