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Publisher's Summary

The true story of Guatemala’s political turmoil of the 1950s as only a master of fiction can tell it.

Guatemala, 1954. The military coup perpetrated by Carlos Castillo Armas and supported by the CIA topples the government of Jacobo Árbenz. Behind this violent act is a lie passed off as truth, which forever changes the development of Latin America: the accusation by the Eisenhower administration that Árbenz encouraged the spread of Soviet Communism in the Americas. Harsh Times is a story of international conspiracies and conflicting interests in the time of the Cold War, the echoes of which are still felt today.

In this thrilling novel, Mario Vargas Llosa fuses reality with two fictions: that of the narrator, who freely recreates characters and situations, and the one designed by those who would control the politics and the economy of a continent by manipulating its history.

Harsh Times is a gripping, revealing novel that directly confronts recent history. No one is better suited to tell this riveting story than Vargas Llosa, and there is no form better for it than his deeply textured fiction. Not since The Feast of the Goat, his classic novel of the downfall of Trujillo’s regime in the Dominican Republic, has Vargas Llosa combined politics, characters, and suspense so unforgettably.

A Macmillan Audio production from Farrar, Straus & Giroux

©2021 Mario Vargas Llosa and Adrian Nathan West (P)2021 Macmillan Audio

What listeners say about Harsh Times

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Fave author, non-fave book

I'm writing this review before returning the Audible version of it. Mario Vargas Llosa has written novels I would read twice, but I just can't finish this one. Such chaos in the delivery. So many character names thrown at you at once, many without substance or clear impact on the storyline. Yes, the book begins well with an intriguing prologue about amoral characters and a first chapter with deep human interest about the birth of one of the main characters, but after that the story is a literal drone of thinly connected or non-connected occurrences around nightmarish political intrigue and battles. If there is a positive outcome for me it's that we must protect our democratic institutions and the integrity of large businesses that have integrity. Otherwise, watch your children get enveloped in the hopelessness of chaos and war.

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Confusing

Fascinating subject. Plot jumps around too much between various characters, timeframes, and places. Might be easier for a fluent Spanish speaker to follow names etc.

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nice portral - bad reading

Sometimes the reader is just reading words without inflection. Still, a story that needs to be known.