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Captain Pantoja and the Special Service: A Novel Paperback – October 1, 1990


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 243 pages
  • Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux (October 1, 1990)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0374522367
  • ISBN-13: 978-0374522360
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.6 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #426,038 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Language Notes

Text: English, Spanish (translation) --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

Mario Vargas Llosa is Peru's foremost author and the winner of the 2010 Nobel Prize in Literature. In 1994 he was awarded the Cervantes Prize, the Spanish-speaking world's most distinguished literary honor, and in 1995 he won the Jerusalem Prize. His many distinguished works include The Storyteller, The Feast of the Goat, Aunt Julia and the Scriptwriter, Death in the Andes, In Praise of the Stepmother, The Bad Girl, Conversation in the Cathedral, The Way to Paradise, and The War of the End of the World. He lives in London.

More About the Author

MARIO VARGAS LLOSA was born in Arequipa, Peru, in 1936. In 1958 he earned a scholarship to study in Madrid, and later he lived in Paris. His first story collection, The Cubs and Other Stories, was published in 1959. Vargas Llosa's reputation grew with the publication in 1963 of The Time of the Hero, a controversial novel about the politics of his country. The Peruvian military burned a thousand copies of the book. He continued to live abroad until 1980, returning to Lima just before the restoration of democratic rule.

A man of politics as well as literature, Vargas Llosa served as president of PEN International from 1977 to 1979, and headed the government commission to investigate the massacre of eight journalists in the Peruvian Andes in 1983.

Vargas Llosa has produced critical studies of García Márquez, Flaubert, Sartre, and Camus, and has written extensively on the roots of contemporary fiction. For his own work, he has received virtually every important international literary award. Vargas Llosa's works include The Green House (1968) and Conversation in the Cathedral (1975), about which Suzanne Jill Levine for The New York Times Book Review said: "With an ambition worthy of such masters of the 19th-century novel as Balzac, Dickens and Galdós, but with a technical skill that brings him closer to the heirs of Flaubert and Henry James . . . Mario Vargas Llosa has [created] one of the largest narrative efforts in contemporary Latin American letters." In 1982, Farrar, Straus and Giroux published Aunt Julia and the Scriptwriter to broad critical acclaim. In 1984, FSG published the bestselling The War of the End of the World, winner of the Ritz Paris Hemingway Award. The Real Life of Alejandro Mayta was published in 1986. The Perpetual Orgy, Vargas Llosa's study of Flaubert and Madame Bovary, appeared in the winter of 1986, and a mystery, Who Killed Palomino Molero?, the year after. The Storyteller, a novel, was published to great acclaim in 1989. In 1990, FSG published In Praise of the Stepmother, also a bestseller. Of that novel, Dan Cryer wrote: "Mario Vargas Llosa is a writer of promethean authority, making outstanding fiction in whatever direction he turns" (Newsday).

In 1990, Vargas Llosa ran for the presidency of his native Peru. In 1994, FSG published his memoir, A Fish in the Water, in which he recorded his campaign experience. In 1994, Vargas Llosa was awarded the Cervantes Prize, the Spanish-speaking world's most distinguished literary honor, and, in 1995, the Jerusalem Prize, which is awarded to writers whose work expresses the idea of the freedom of the individual in society. In 1996, Death in the Andes, Vargas Llosa's next novel, was published to wide acclaim. Making Waves, a collection of his literary and political essays, was published in 1997; The Notebooks of Don Rigoberto, a novel, was published in 1998; The Feast of the Goat, which sold more than 400,000 copies in Spanish-language, was published in English in 2001; The Language of Passion, his most recent collection of nonfiction essays on politics and culture, was published by FSG in June 2003. The Way to Paradise, a novel, was published in November 2003; The Bad Girl, a novel, was published in the U.S. by FSG in October, 2007. His most recent novel, El Sueño del Celta, will be published in 2011 or 2012. Two works of nonfiction are planned for the near future as well.

Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

15 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Guillermo Maynez on February 15, 2001
Format: Paperback
Sometimes, the most serious and deep messages are hidden in the form of light and funny literature (one book that jumps to mind is "Gulliver's Travels"). In this simply genial novel, the Peruvian military has a problem: the garrisons of the Amazonic regions are very short of women and feeling extremely sexual, so rapes are mounting. This, of course, is bad PR for the Army and a real problem for the chiefs. They decide to create the "Special Service", a well-oredered and efficient ring of disciplined prostitutes who will satisfy the soldiers' needs and erradicate the problem of rapes. Who is the perfect man to be in charge of the Service?: Captain Pantaleon Pantoja, a model solider, who lives with his lovely wife and his mother-in-law. Pantaleon is a sober and righteous guy, enemy of prostitutes, bars and fights. He is also the most efficient manager of the Army. He is dismayed at the task but, always disciplined, puts all his intelligence and efficiency to it. The learning process proves problematic for his marriage: since Pantaleon knows nothing about the night life, he has to learn it by visiting sordid brothels and buying drinks to informants. Of course, when he starts arriving home in the morning, extremely drunk, his wife gets very disappointed. But he convinces her of the importance and required sacrifices of his new mission. Eventually, the Special Service becomes the most efficient branch of the military, and it gets famous. The very funniest parts of the book are the official reports where Pantaleon informs to his superiors of the successes and problems he has in his job. The official language describing absurd and outrageous situations is just great. Of course, things get out of control, with dramatic but funny consequences.Read more ›
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on May 1, 1997
Format: Paperback
This is by far the best book Llosa has written. It is a hillarious parady of the millitary technocrats attempt to control and regulate sex through a strict hierarchical structure, military communications, documents in triplicate, etc. At times I laughed so hard that I was afraid my sides would split. Enjoy: I wish I could read it again for the first time
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on October 29, 1999
Format: Paperback
If you want to obtain a flavor of Peru this is a must-read. You could summarize this book by saying that it is a sex-related excellent comedy. However, I think this book is much more than this. Vargas Llosa provides a wonderful profile of our idiosincracy, values, and fears. In addition the style is agile. Vargas Llosa tells the story using military communications, radio programs, and personal letters from different characters so that you get everybodies' point of view. I strongly recommend it.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Not Llosa's best work, but still entertaining. It really jumps around in places, which makes it very hard to follow what is going on.
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By Amy Bilberry on January 26, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition
excelent storie, great satire , very,very funny, great portrayal of the insanity of military and political ideas to solve problems
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