Aunt Julia and the Scriptwriter
(Spanish: La Tía Julia y el escribidor
) is one of the most known novels of Mario Vargas Llosa
. It is the story of a 18 year-old Peruvian boy named Mario Vargas
falling in love with a divorcee more than ten years older than him, which also happens to be his uncle’s sister-in-law. Mario, however, works in a radio station and is an aspiring writer, something that just doesn’t help bring the bread to the table.
It is also the story of a writer of radial Soap Operas
called Pedro Camacho (the titular scriptwriter), a Bolivian who’s hired by the station to write acclaimed novelas for them, based on the fame he has on his native country. Camacho is a fanatical writer, spending all day long writing all sorts of stories with all the Soap Within a Show
clichés you may think of, bringing attention and lots of money for the station. However, he also starts losing control of his stories, blending them together without realizing it…
The novel is written as two separate stories; the odd chapters deal with the plot of the story, while the even chapters (except for the last one, which serves as some sort of an epilogue) show some of Camacho’s Soap Operas
, which are conveniently mentioned before or after by some of the characters of the main story.
One of Vargas Llosa’s “comical novels”, it was adapted as a film, Tune In Tomorrow
, with Peter Falk and Keanu Reeves.
This book provides examples of:
- Author Appeal: Camacho’s stories are full of them.
- Author Avatar: Mario Vargas, obviously.
- Back from the Dead: Some of Camacho’s dead characters appear again in other stories, though that’s more because he’s losing track of them.
- Brother-Sister Incest: Richard and Elianita on one of the novelas.
- By-the-Book Cop: Sgt. Lituma, in one of the first novelas.
- Canon Welding: Camacho starts to bring all his stories together. Some of the listeners are confused or frustrated by this, while others think it’s great and compare him to Balzac. The truth is that he’s losing his mind and can’t keep track of the stories anymore.
- Child Hater: Lucho Abril Marroquín, as a consequence of a medical treatment.
- Cliff Hanger: Camacho’s novelas always end with a "tune in for the next episode" style of questions. However, they’re never really solved except for a passing reference made by his Canon Welding.
- Creator Breakdown
- Cultural Translation: The movie moves the setting from Lima to New Orleans.
- Da Editor: Both Genaros are benevolent versions. Rebagliati at the end is a straight example.
- Deadpan Snarker: Mario.
- Dogged Nice Guy: Javier towards Nancy.
- Driven to Madness
- Film At Eleven: Camacho’s style of Cliff Hanger.
- Groupie Brigade: Tons of women show up in the radio when Lucho Gatica pays a visit. They practically maim him trying to touch him.
- Incest Is Relative: Kind of. Julia is actually Mario’s political aunt, so that justifies somewhat the situation. However, at the end of the book it’s revealed he divorced her and married his cousin, playing it straight.
- Kill 'em All: This is how Camacho’s stories eventually start turning out.
- Likes Older Women: Mario.
- Little People Are Surreal: Pedro Camacho, a man with a lot of mannerisms and tics, is described as "on the very borderline between a man extremely short in stature and a dwarf”.
- Lurid Tales of Doom/If It Bleeds, It Leads: Pascual’s favorite news. He even has to be restrained by others to avoid filling the time slot with them, something that becomes obvious when nobody’s doing it.
- No Sense of Humor: Pedro Camacho.
- Overprotective Dad
- Prima Donna Director: Pretty obvious by now, isn’t it? Pedro Camacho.
- Phony Psychic: Mario blows his tale when he asks to contact his dead non-existant brother.
- Purple Prose: Camacho’s stories are full of it.
- Rape as Drama: The plot of one of the novelas. The parents of the girls, however, are more interested in a Shotgun Wedding rather than making him pay.
- Real Life Writes the Plot: The novel is based on some of Vargas’ experiences regarding his first marriage.
- Reasonable Authority Figure: The Genaros.
- Secret Relationship: The main plot.
- Show Within a Show: All the radio shows, especially Camacho’s stories.
- Small Name, Big Ego: Pedro Camacho.
- Soap Within a Show
- Stylistic Suck: The stories written by Camacho are written in a more grandiloquent style, full of Author Appeal and Author Avatar, between other stuff.
- Trigger Happy: Mario's father.
- Workaholic: Pedro Camacho.
- Write What You Know