Conversation in the Cathedral is a 1969 novel by Peruvian writer and essayist Mario Vargas Llosa, recognized as one of his major works. It is a portrayal of Peru under the dictatorship of Manuel A. Odría in the 1950s, and deals with the lives of characters from different social strata. The ambitious narrative is built around the stories of Santiago Zavala and Ambrosio respectively; one the son of a minister, the other his chauffeur. A random meeting at a dog pound leads to a riveting conversation between the two at a nearby bar known as the Cathedral (hence the title). During the encounter Zavala tries to find the truth about his father's role in the murder of a notorious Peruvian underworld figure, shedding light on the workings of a dictatorship along the way.
More generally, the novel is an examination of the deep roots of corruption and failure in Peru's politics and government. The second sentence of the English translation of the novel asks "At what precise moment had Peru fucked itself up?"
es:Conversación en La Catedral
- Castro-Klarén, Sara (1990), Understanding Mario Vargas Llosa, Columbia, South Carolina: University of South Carolina, ISBN 0-87249-668-6 .
- Kristal, Efraín (1998), Temptation of the Word: The Novels of Mario Vargas Llosa, Nashville, TN: Vanderbilt University Press, ISBN 0-8265-1301-8 .
pl:Rozmowa w Katedrze