Peruvian writer Mario Vargas Llosa reveals that his next novel will be inspired by something that once occurred in Guatemala, but declines to offer more details due to his superstition that if he does, the book might never see the light of day.
Asked by Cuban journalist Yoani Sanchez during a chat they shared at the Hay Festival of Arequipa, the native city of the Peruvian novelist, Vargas Llosa said his next project was born several years ago at a dinner where he felt "totally bored."
"When it was finally over and people started to leave, a voice beside me said, 'Mario, I have a story for you to write.' And I thought, 'How horrible!' It's enough for someone to tell a writer 'I have a story for you' to make sure you're never ever going to write it," Vargas Llosa said.
"However, he told me a story about a country that I'd only visited as a tourist, Guatemala, and little by little, as the days and weeks passed, the character in the story began to come alive," he added.
The winner of the 2010 Nobel Prize in Literature said he began to read "a lot of things to see if the period more or less matched" the story he was being told, and at the same time he took notes.
"I soon realized I had the makings of a novel," said Vargas Llosa, the last survivor of the generation of the boom in Latin American novels.
This year Vargas Llosa published "La Llamada de la Tribu" (The Call of the Tribe), a book of essays that explain his transition from socialism and communism to liberalism.
His last novel goes back to 2016, when he released "Cinco Esquinas" (The Neighborhood), a story set amid the corruption of Peru in the 1990s during the regime of former President Alberto Fujimori.