Fiction THE DREAM OF THE CELT MARIO VARGOS LLOSA, FABER AND FABER, $29.99
Peru’s Mario Vargos Llosa, winner of the 2010 Nobel Prize for Literature, is one of the great writers of the post-World War II era. His new novel is a work of epic historical and political reach, but it is also an intimate portrait of Roger Casement, an Irishman and British diplomat who wrote influential reports about colonial excesses in the Belgian Congo and in Amazonia. He was knighted for his work before he fell from grace.
When The Dream of the Celt begins, Casement is in Pentonville prison awaiting execution for treason, having conspired with Germany in wartime in support of Irish independence. While he waits to see if his death sentence is commuted– his cause hindered by a scandal over a diary, purported to be Casement’s, that explicitly details his homosexuality – he reflects on his life in Africa and South America and his entanglement in the Irish cause.
This is a novel of the weightiest themes, especially the wanton excesses of European empire-building