La Ciudad Y Los PerrosMonday, September 27, 2010
Peruvian novelist Mario Vargas Llosa published his first novel La Ciudad y los Perros (The Time of the Hero) in 1967. The title literally means the "city and the dogs". The novel is set in a brutal military academy for young boys in the outskirts port of Callao not far from Lima. In the mid 90s I visited Mario Vargas Llosa at his home. He was running for the presidency of Parú. Those of us who relish his novels were glad he lost. I lost a big job. I had made an agreement with the folks at Condé Nast Traveller to photograph the places mentioned in Llosa’s books. They were keen on the idea but not so keen later. I was saddled with some of the best photographs I ever took in my life.
One of my most exciting discoveries was to find out that Vargas Llosa was most autobiographical in many of his novels. When he would mention as he did (see above blog) in The Real Life of Alejandro Mayta (an ice-cream parlor and tell of its location) I would find it exactly as he wrote. I took him to task on this, not knowing that most writers will never blatantly or publicly acknowledge the autobiographical content of a novel. The man simply stared at me.
It was outside of the Leoncio Prado Military Academy in Callao that I caught this dog. It was in this school that the patrician Mario Vargas Llosa grew up. The novel, The Time of the Hero, features a dog and I could not help but be happily amazed when I snapped this one with my Widelux!