The Neighborhood by Mario Vargas Llosa – digested read

‘Marisa, Chabela and Quique celebrated the end of the bombing with another juddering three-way orgasm’

“Please indulge an elderly Nobel laureate,” begged Mario. “Let me start this novel with a cliched lesbian sex scene.”

“Oh look,” cried Marisa. “Both our husbands are away and you’ve just missed the curfew. You’d better stay the night in my bed, Chabela.”

“Gosh,” replied Chabela. “How time flies! You’re right. I will phone Luciano to let him know I’m staying. Are you sure Quique won’t mind?”

Marisa woke up during the night. But was she actually awake – or just dreaming? Her best friend’s hand was pressing against her wetness. It felt so wrong, yet it felt so right. Within seconds they were entwined, their tongues probing one another hungrily.

The Neighbourhood Novel by Mario Vargas Llosa, Faber, £18.99
The Neighbourhood Novel by Mario Vargas Llosa, Faber, £18.99 Photograph: PR

Standing in his office, Enrique knew that Rolando Garro, the tabloid journalist from Exposed!, was trouble the moment he saw this pallid man with rat-like features. “I’ll get straight to the point,” said Garro. “I’ve got some photos of you participating in an orgy with some whores. Either you give me $100K to bankroll Exposed! or I publish the pictures.”

“Get out,” yelled Enrique, known as Quique to his wife and friends. “I could tell immediately by your pallor and rat-like features that you were trouble.”

In Miami, Marisa and Chabela were now enjoying a three-day break away from their husbands. It felt so wrong, yet it felt so right. At least it did to Mario, who could barely breathe with excitement as the two women pleasured one another for several pages.

Enrique was in tears. The photos had been published and he was now the laughing stock of all Peru. “What shall I do?” he begged. “My business will be ruined and Marisa will never make love to me again.”

“Try not to worry,” Luciano said evenly. “We just have to make sure this is an end to the matter. And Marisa will be all over you again within minutes.”

“Please forgive me, Marisa,” Quique wept. “I can never forgive you,” she replied, taking his stiff cock in her hands and guiding it into her mouth.

Back in the Exposed! offices, senior reporter Shorty – so named because she wasn’t very tall – was in a state of shock. Rolando, her boss, had been found brutally murdered in one of the poorest areas of Lima. She quickly packed up her things and went into hiding. Rolando’s death had all the hallmarks of an assassination by the Doctor, the head of the secret police set up by President Alberto Fujimori.

“Everyone’s going to think it was me that killed the pallid reporter with rat-like features,” Quique sobbed, unable to stop himself from using the same descriptions over and over again. “Please try to think and write a little more clearly,” Luciano advised. “I’m doing my best,” Mario insisted huffily.

Just as they were speaking, the secret police arrested Enrique and took him to prison where he was forced to masturbate several burly inmates. Enrique couldn’t believe what was happening to him. Nor, quite frankly, could the reader. Or that the book was so badly written. “It’s OK,” said a guard, on the third morning. “You can go. You’re innocent.”

Marisa and Chabela were once more to be found in bed together. “I do wish you would stop making love to Quique,” said Chabela, her arm draped across Marisa’s breasts. “Then how would you feel if we invited him to join us in a threesome?” said Marisa.

“Couldn’t you ask me?” Mario begged eagerly. “I’d be up for it.”

“No,” Marisa and Chabela replied firmly, before pleasuring themselves once more. “This is amazing,” said Quique, as all three of them came simultaneously. “I can’t believe my luck. Should we tell Luciano?


Shorty found herself bundled into the back of a car and taken to the Doctor’s secret location. “We killed Rolando,” said the Doctor, “because he published the photos of Enrique without permission. But it’s all OK because we’ve pinned the blame on an old poet with dementia. Here’s the deal. You’re going to be the new editor and you will only publish the stories I tell you to.”

Hot off the presses! Three months later, Exposed! ran a special edition revealing that the Doctor and Fujimori had killed Rolando and that the Peruvian state was corrupt.

“Isn’t it great how Fujimori and the Doctor are in prison and that Shining Path has stopped blowing things up?” agreed Marisa, Chabela and Quique as they celebrated their three-year shagfest with yet another juddering orgasm. “Do you think our threesome might be an allegory for something?”

“Who cares as long as Luciano doesn’t find out?” said Chabela.

“Can I come to Miami with you next time?” asked Luciano.

“If you must.”

“Oh goody,” cried Mario. “Does this mean I can join in now, too?”

Digested read, digested: Don’t Lima this way


John Crace

The GuardianTramp

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