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Literature / The War of the End of the World

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The War of the End of the World is a book written by Peruvian writer Mario Vargas Llosa, telling the story of the War of Canudos.

In Brazil, a few years after the empire was abolished, some Christian fanatics, led by the messianic-like figure The Counselor and funded by some loyal monarchists, founded a community taking over private lands in the state of Bahia called Canudos, believing the end of the world is near and the Second Coming is imminent. The recently-formed Brazilian Republic is not happy about it and decides to settle things by force if necessary.


Vargas Llosa’s first attempt at Historical Fiction.

Tropes found on this book:

  • Disproportionate Retribution: Lots of them. An example: Geraldo Macedo's reaction to a man who beat and insulted one of his men is to slap him to the ground and urinate on him in front of his friends.
  • Faux Symbolism: In-universe example; since all of Canudos believes the Counselor is almost like the Second Coming of Christ, they think that everything that happens around them symbolizes something.
  • Foregone Conclusion: It’s based on an historical event, so it is to be expected. Aside of that, Vargas Llosa’s continuing use of different tenses means we learn the outcome of some scenes before they actually happen.
  • Science Marches On: Galileo Gall is a phrenologist. Nowadays, that is considered a pseudo-science.