Since 2010 I’ve been compiling a list of all the books I want to read before I die. This wasn’t a sudden impulse triggered by a traumatic event, if anything I was drawn to the idea by a circle of forward-thinking friends. As time waits for no man (or woman) they argue, an hour a day should be set aside for the books that have been languishing on our shelves years after they were bought. That’s not to say we’ve given up on doing conventional bucket list things. We’ll still book a trip on the Orient Express or go skydiving in Cornwall, but in between we’ll also enjoy some literary downtime.
Finally, not so much a maiden voyage but a second outing. The War of the End of the World, by Nobel prize winning author Mario Vargas Llosa is stunning, masterful and utterly brilliant! In fact I like it so much that I’m not only rereading it but I’ve added another of his defining works, Who Killed Palomino Molero, to the bucket list trove. Set in nineteenth century Brazil, The War of the End of the World is the story of a charismatic religious figure, The Counselor, who builds a following among the poor with his end of the world preaching. This inevitably lays the ground for a confrontation between The Counselor and the state, which uses the full weight of its power to destroy both him and his movement. This is epic storytelling driven by a gripping narrative, an intricate plot and characters with genuine emotional depth. Trust me, you will love this book!