Aunt Julia and the Scriptwriter (Spanish: La Tía Julia y el escribidor) is one of the best-known novels by 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 uncles sister-in-law. Mario, however, works in a radio station and is an aspiring writer, which doesnt help put bread on the table.
It is also the story of a writer of radio Soap Operas called Pedro Camacho (the titular scriptwriter), a Bolivian whos hired by the station to write 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 could think of, bringing attention and lots of money to 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 main plot, while the even chapters (except for the last one, which serves as a sort of epilogue) take the form of excerpts from Camachos Soap Operas, which are conveniently mentioned before or after by the characters in the main story.
This book provides examples of:
- Author Appeal: Camachos stories are full of his own personal obsessions.
- Author Avatar: Mario Vargas, obviously.
- Back from the Dead: Some of Camachos dead characters appear again in other stories, though thats more because hes losing track of them.
- BrotherSister 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 its great and compare him to Balzac. The truth is that hes losing his mind and cant keep track of the stories anymore.
- Child Hater: Lucho Abril Marroquín, as a consequence of a medical treatment.
- Cliffhanger: Camachos novelas always end with a series of "tune in for the next episode" questions. However, theyre never really resolved except for a passing reference made by his Canon Welding.
- Creator Breakdown: in universe, the excessive workload of Camacho increasingly takes a toll on his sanity and his work until he finally has a meltdown, is interned, and lose his writing talent forever.
- 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.
- Driven to Madness Camacho. He eventually gets sane enough to function, but at the price of losing both his talent and the memories of ever having had it.
- Film at 11: Camachos style of Cliffhanger.
- Groupie Brigade: Tons of women show up at the radio station when Lucho Gatica pays a visit. They practically maim him trying to touch him.
- 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: Pascuals favorite news stories. He even has to be restrained by others to avoid filling the time slot with them, something that becomes obvious when nobodys doing it.
- Prima Donna Director: Pretty obvious by now, isnt it? Pedro Camacho.
- Phony Psychic: Mario blows his tale when he asks to contact his dead non-existent brother.
- Purple Prose: Camachos stories are full of it.
- Rape as Drama: The plot of one of the novelas. The parents of the girl, however, are more interested in a Shotgun Wedding rather than making the rapist pay.
- Real Life Writes the Plot: The novel is based on some of Vargas experiences from his first marriage.
- Show Within a Show: All the radio shows, especially Camachos stories.
- 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: in universe.