Thursday, October 7, 2010

Thoughts on Vargas Llosa's "Surprise" Nobel Win

When I saw Mario Vargas Llosa's name on Google's news page this morning I honestly thought that he had died.

I was relieved to find out that the Peruvian born writer had won the Nobel Prize for Literature.
This was a pleasant surprise.

As it turns out, Vargas Llosa was also surprised by the honor. In fact, when he received the phone call this morning he thought it was a joke.

Although Vargas Llosa has been important force in Spanish and English literature for nearly half a century he may be best remembered by some for his failed bid for the Peruvian presidency in 1990 running on a platform inspired by Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher.

That election was, of course, won by Japanese economist Alberto Fujimori. I have often wondered what Peru would have been like had Vargas Llosa won.

Vargas Llosa had long thought he was "too liberal" to win the Nobel. Keep in mind that in Europe and Latin America the term liberal refers to classical liberalism and support for the free market. Last year, Vargas Llosa stated, "I have taken all the precautions necessary for them never to give it to me."

The fact the Nobel Committee awarded Vargas Llosa the Literature makes me curious as to whom they will award the Peace Prize tomorrow morning. One can only hope their choice will be an improvement over last year.

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