Lituma in the Andes - Mario Vargas Llosa

"Lituma in the Andes" is a book written by Mario Vargas Llosa in 1993. This work was winner of the planet award. Here the violent and tragic events that took place in Naccos are recounted, where Lituma and his partner Tomás seek to decipher the truth of the events, but they fail to do so for different reasons, since power and authority prevail at all times.

Narrator and characters from "Lituma in the Andes":

In this work, the narrator is in the first person and is represented by the character of Adriana, who appears on different occasions in an extensive verbal discourse, full of myths.

The protagonist is Lituma, who is sent by army officers to a town called Naccos that is located in the Andean mountains of southeastern Peru. Pos his part is Tomás Carrero, who is a partner of Lituma and helps him interpret the Quechua language. There are the two French tourists who were victims of acts of terrorism, and the group of environmentalists. Similarly we find characters like Mercedes, a prostitute from Piura;

Summary and synopsis of the work:

This book is divided into two segments, which in turn have five and four parts, in addition to an epilogue. Each chapter presents three parts that relate plot sessions. Just like most of the indigenous population, the Quechua language is spoken and not Spanish. So they go to their partner Tomás Carreño, who is a native of the area to help them interpret about the investigation into the disappearance of three people.

The entities that constitute Naccos have been places where terrorist activities occur. Therefore, different violent acts can be visualized by the Luminous Paths, where the cruel way they stoned a young couple of French tourists and a group of environmentalists is told, just because they seemed strange, since one of them was mute and the other albino.

Therefore, members of the Army Civil Guard, Lituma and his partner, are in Naccos to thoroughly investigate these acts of terrorism that the Shining Paths are committing for no reason. Finally the third is an external foreman on the road construction team it is quite logical to conclude that these are other acts of terrorism committed by the Pathways of Light.

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They also seek to protect people from the construction team. Which creates fear for their own safety. In the evenings to dispel fear a little, his partner Tomás entertains Lituma by telling lustful stories about Mercedes, who was a prostitute from Piura.

In ancient times, the town of Naccos was considered successful in mining. Lituma, through his research, focuses on the couple in the canteen, since he holds them responsible for the uprising of the Indians. But Lituma considers that Doña Adriana is the main culprit, and has an abusive husband who, in anger, takes the policeman by the arm and mocks him.

These spouses have a real conviction about the mountain deity behind each demon. Finally, in the novel, Lituma fails but is promoted to non-commissioned officer, where he has the duty to lead the post of Santa María de Nieva in La Selva. For his part, Tomás Carreño is transferred to Piura, where his current wife Mercedes is. Which turns out to be something fabulous for him.

Analysis of the work:

This book focuses on the economic and political conflicts that Peru presents, since the country is full of injustices and barbaries, and military coups that seek in vain to constitute democratic forms in a country that is economically impoverished, such as Peru. In 1980, the Marxist-Leninist group projected an armed rebellion against the Peruvian government. For fifteen years, they gave themselves the task of mercilessly attacking the military and police points, public and private services were sabotaged, and also political and community governors were assassinated.

In this sense, it is considered that the period of greatest conflict was that of 1980 and 1995, since there were around 25 thousand deaths, as a result of aggression and revolutionary cruelty, where millions of dollars were lost in both public and private infrastructure, and where many peasants for fear had to abandon their villages and farms.

"Lituma in the Andes" reflects the different inconveniences that arise in the group Shining Path, who are the cause of so many deaths in the town. Therefore, Lituma and Tomás are motivated to investigate the crimes committed, as well as to protect the rest of the people.

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 This novel also describes the beatings and killings in the town of Andamarca, the death of the idealistic reformist, Hortensia d’Harcourt, among other tragic events. The protagonists of these incidents manage to survive and become the disappeared, whose guards want to investigate in depth, despite the fact that this information remains hidden until the end of the novel.

In this way, each event reflects the cruelty towards the innocent at the hands of the criminal and violent force, represented by the authority of the groups of the Shining Path who manipulate the poverty, ignorance, fear and superstition of the local Andeans.

In this work there is no distinction between victims and victimizers and it is shown reasonably in the first part. Lituma for his part, fails to advance his investigation regarding the disappeared. The four chapters of the second part present stories that reflect the superstitious and supernatural beliefs of the people of the Andes. Lituma in his constant search for truth in each chapter of the plot, leads us to an unconvincing rationing, since the events that occurred have no place and occur within the framework of the social and political injustice of those who lead the group of terrorists.

Finally, "Lituma in the Andes" presents the social, economic and political reality of Peru, specifically in the Andean region, where a group of terrorists take full control of the population, causing havoc, creating fear and causing collective chaos. It is here where Lituma tries to discover the root of the conflict and investigate thoroughly about these violent events. However, he fails to do so fully.


"If all evil is a thing of the devil, then there are no coincidences in the world"

"Security is boredom, it is imbecility, it is death"

"Singing a huaynito with feeling, abandoning yourself, letting go, getting lost in the song, until you feel that you are already her, that music sings to you instead of you singing to her, is the way of wisdom"

"There is no pichula disease that lasts a hundred years or a body that resists it"

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