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The War of the End of the World

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Wikipedia article

'The War of the End of the World' is a 1981 novel written by Peruvian novelist Mario Vargas Llosa. It is a novelization of the War of Canudos conflict in late 19th-century Brazil.

Plot summary

In the midst of the economic decline following drought and the end of slavery in the province of Bahia in Northeastern Brazil, the poor of the backlands are attracted by the charismatic figure and simple religious teachings of Antonio Conselheiro, the Counselor, who preaches that the end of the world is imminent and that the political chaos that surrounds the collapse of the Empire of Brazil and its replacement by a republic is the work of the devil.

Seizing a hacienda in an area blighted by economic decline at Canudos the Counselor's followers build a large town and defeat repeated and ever larger military expeditions designed to remove them. As the state's violence against them increases they too turn increasingly violent, even seizing the modern weapons deployed against them. In an epic final clash a whole army is sent to extirpate Canudos and instigates a terrible and brutal battle with the poor while politicians of the old order see their world destroyed in the conflagration.


It is generally believed that Vargas Llosa's three milestone novels are 'La Ciudad y Los Perros' ('The Time of the Hero'), 'La Casa Verde' ('The Green House') and 'Conversacin en la Catedral' ('Conversation in the Cathedral'), though many critics agree that 'The War of the End of the World' should also be included among these three. The author is famously known for considering this his most accomplished novel an opinion shared by the Chilean novelist Roberto Bolao, as well as the American critic Harold Bloom, who even includes the novel in what he calls the "Western canon."

As he did later on with 'La Fiesta Del Chivo' ('The Feast of the Goat'), Vargas Llosa tackles a huge number of characters and stories caught during a time of strife, interweaving these in way that gives us a picture of what it was to live in those times.


* Antnio Conselheiro

* The Little Blessed One

* The Lion of Natuba

* Joo Abade (Abbot Joo)

* The Dwarf

* Father Joaquim

* Barn de Caabrava

* Paje

* Rufino

* Galileo Gall

* Mara Quadrado

* Moreira Csar

* Jurema

* The Near-Sighted Journalist

* Joo Grande (Big Joo)

* Pires Ferreira

* Antnio Vilanova

* Antnio el Fogueteiro

Category:1981 novels

Category:Novels by Mario Vargas Llosa

Category:Novels set in Bahia

Category:1890s in fiction

de:Der Krieg am Ende der Welt

es:La guerra del fin del mundo

fa: ()

fr:La Guerre de la fin du monde

pl:Wojna koca wiata

pt:A Guerra do Fim do Mundo

sv:Kriget vid vrldens nde

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