Tough Times

Mario Vargas Llosa
Editorial Alfaguara

Like his earlier works Conversación en la catedral (Conversation in the Cathedral) (1969) and La fiesta del Chivo (The Feast of the Goat) (2000), Tiempos recios (Tough Times) is set in Guatemala. The story takes place during the turbulent periods that preceded and followed the 1954 coup that overthrew President Jacobo Arbenz. The takeover was staged by Colonel Carlos Castillo Armas, with the support of the CIA and business and conservative factions in the U.S. and Guatemala itself. Displaying his customary mastery of narrative, Vargas Llosa weaves the story of this coup, one of the first painful episodes of the Cold War in Latin America.