The Dream of the Celt

The Dream of the Celt

3.74 (5,606 ratings by Goodreads)
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As The Dream of the Celt opens, it is the summer of 1916 and Roger Casement awaits the hangman in London's Pentonville Prison. Dublin lies in ruins after the disastrous Easter Rising led by his comrades of the Irish Volunteers. He has been caught after landing from a German submarine. For the past year he has attempted to raise an Irish brigade from prisoners of war to fight alongside the Germans against the British Empire that awarded him a knighthood only a few years before. And now his petition for clemency is threatened by the leaking of his private diary and his secret life as a gay man....

Vargas-Llosa, with his incomparable gift for powerful historical narrative, takes the reader on a journey back through a remarkable life dedicated to the exposure of barbaric treatment of indigenous peoples by European predators in the Congo and Amazonia. Casement was feted as one of the greatest humanitarians of the age. Now he is about to die ignominiously as a traitor.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 512 pages
  • 111 x 178 x 32mm | 283g
  • London, United Kingdom
  • English
  • Open Market - Airside ed
  • 0571275745
  • 9780571275748
  • 90,927

Review Text

Mario Vargas Llosa's semi-fictionalised account of Casement's life portrays a heroic, if ultimately tragic champion of oppressed peoples ... Absorbing. Sunday Telegraph
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Review quote

Mario Vargas Llosa's semi-fictionalised account of Casement's life portrays a heroic, if ultimately tragic champion of oppressed peoples ... Absorbing. Sunday Telegraph A novel by the Nobel prizewinner Mario Vargas Llosa might seem ripe for cult status, when it's subject is the life of Roger Casement. The Times A good and plausible account of Casement's humanity, which is the business of the novelist, and his tortured sexuality and religious sensibility, ditto ... This is a moving account, a sympathetic and magnanimous telling of the story. Evening Standard Extraordinary historical novel ... Ingenious ... Vargas Llosa's literary realism seems so natural, with no lyrical outbursts, no pointless cleverness. His research is meticulous, whether through travel or through libraries. But it is always embodied in polt and character ... This stimulating biographical novel, written with fiction's best freedoms. Independent Gripping ... Vargas Llosa tells is with panache ... There is much to enjoy in this novel. FT The Dream of the Celt is ultimately a eulogy to those who dare to dream a better world, beyond the bounds of political, social and cultural commodification ... for a writer disturbed by a lack of ethical concern in our contemporary world, [the Dream of the Celt] permits a romantic exploration of Casement as a tragic hero who, despite his own evident failures, dared to dream. The Irish Times The novel builds toward an inevitable but still genuinely-heartrending climax ... This is a story that adheres as faithfully as possible to the known facts, but is essentially and necessarily re-imagined. And in raising questions regarding the selective and skewed viewpoints of history, and why we struggle to accept the flaws and contradictions in those we hold as heroic, it brings us close to a particular kind of truth, a sense of who and what a flawed hero might have been. Irish Examiner Vargas Llosa's vast and intriguing novel about Casement ... This epic and often poetic novel delivers powerfully, giving a more rounded and authentic sense of one person's inner life and complexities than many biographies. -- Giles Foden Guardian The author skilfully sketches the sadness and isolation of a homosexual man in the early 20th century ... Vargas Llosa seeks to fill the gaps in our understanding, to bring to likfe this man of contradictions ... the historical elements are comprehensive and impressive. Sunday Business Post The Dream of the Celt is a meticulously researched ficitonal biography and a clever physchological novel ... The author skillfully interweaves scenes in Pentonville prison with details of Casement's earlier life to trace the evolution of Casement's conciousness. The Dream of the Celt is a moral tale. It is about the choice between denial or denunciation in the face of evil, and the fine line between activism and fanaticism. That makes an old story strikingly contemporary. Economist
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About Mario Vargas Llosa

Mario Vargas Llosa has established a reputation as one of Latin America's most important authors. He was born in Peru in 1936 and educated at university in Lima. Always politically outspoken, from 1976 to 1979 Vargas Llosa served as President of PEN adn in 1983 presided over the commission which investigated the deaths of eight journalists killed during the Belaunde Government's campaign against the Maoist guerrilla movement. Having once declined the Prime Ministership of Peru in 1984, he was a candidate in the 1990 Presidential elections. In 2010 he was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature.
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Rating details

5,606 ratings
3.74 out of 5 stars
5 24% (1,345)
4 39% (2,162)
3 27% (1,535)
2 8% (429)
1 2% (135)
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