The Feast Of The Goat – Mario Vargas Llosa

The Feast Of The Goat

I find the expression “benevolent dictator” quite acerbic; paradoxical in fact. The exclusive benefactor of populous land; a leader who promises to the countrymen a utopia (Thomas Moore’s unicorn), stands on the world pedestal portraying duplicitous cultural patriotism while butchering every free voice that fails to meet his egotistical standards and motives. Questions stumble upon patriotic validities. Who do we call a true loyalist of a country? The leader who cogently assumes the role of a saviour bestowing atrocities on his own people or those anonymous victims who take a powerful stand to fight against the authoritative rule?

The Feast of the Goat makes you sit up and take notice of a fascinating Dominican Republic and its people rising up from an authoritative rule and numerous domestic strives that spanned over a large period in the 20th century. Llosa intertwines three tales forming a purposeful camaraderie between reality and literature encompassing the treacherous dictatorship of Rafael Leónidas Trujillo Molina ruling over three decades and the aftermath of Trujillo’s assassination. After 35 years, Urania Cabral hesitantly comes back to her home in Santa Domingo to visit her ailing father. Agustin Cabral once a highly influential part of Trujillo’s inner circle, is now reduced to a vegetative state aching to seek Urania’s forgiveness for a crime he committed decades ago. The novel lifts off from splendid fiction into the factual reign of Trujillo and the following assassination. Llosa gives a terrifying look into the sinister inner circle of Trujillo exposing brutal crimes of rape, embezzlements and the horrendous murder of the Mirabal Sisters, committed by him and his son(Ramfis Trujillo).On May 30, 1961, Trujillo was shot on Avenida George Washington in Santo Domingo on his way to visit one of his several underage girls ,plotted by Modesto Diaz, Salvador Estrella Sadhalá, Antonio de la Maza, Amado García Guerrero along with a team of men from Trujillo’s ministry. The tone of the plot is mysterious penetrating the psyche of those groups of heroic men and thousands of Dominican people who suffered and lived in utmost terror for a major part of a generation.

It is exasperating how the international media springs through popular news whilst overlooking the histories of various nations victimized from treachery and charades of nationalistic sovereignty. Heroic sacrifices are forgotten and Angelita Trujillo has the nerve to write a book about her father proclaiming him to be a “admirable, a dedicated fighter and a triumphant man”.

3/5***

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