The Way to Paradise: A Novel

Front Cover
Farrar, Straus and Giroux, Mar 4, 2011 - Fiction - 384 pages

A New York Times Notable Book

Flora Tristán, the illegitimate child of a wealthy Peruvian father and French mother, grows up in poverty and journeys to Peru to demand her inheritance. On her return in 1844, she makes her name as a champion of the downtrodden, touring the French countryside to recruit members for her Workers' Union.
In 1891, Flora's grandson, struggling painter and stubborn visionary Paul Gauguin, abandons his wife and five children for life in the South Seas, where his dreams of paradise are poisoned by syphilis, the stifling forces of French colonialism, and a chronic lack of funds, though he has his pick of teenage Tahitian lovers and paints some of his greatest works.

Flora died before her grandson was born, but their travels and obsessions unfold side by side in this double portrait, a rare study in passion and ambition, as well as the obstinate pursuit of greatness in the face of illness and death.

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - lriley - LibraryThing

A fun book to read. More of a kind of historical fiction with Vargas Llosa alternating his chapters between the life of one Florita (Flora) Tristan and that of her grandson the very well known French ... Read full review

The way to paradise

User Review  - Not Available - Book Verdict

The tragic and romantic life of artist Paul Gauguin has long been an inspiration for writers of fiction; Somerset Maugham's The Moon and Sixpence was based loosely on his story, and Gauguin himself ... Read full review

Selected pages


Flora in Auxerre
The Spirit of the Dead Watches
Bastard and Fugitive
Mysterious Waters
The Shadow of Charles Fourier
Annah from Java
News from Peru
Portrait of Aline Gauguin
What Are
The Nun Gutiérrez
Wrestling with the Angel
The Battle of Cangallo
The House of Pleasure

The Crossing

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About the author (2011)

MARIO VARGAS LLOSA was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 2010 "for his cartography of structures of power and his trenchant images of the individual's resistance, revolt, and defeat." Peru's foremost writer, he has been awarded the Cervantes Prize, the Spanish-speaking world's most distinguished literary honor, and the Jerusalem Prize. His many distinguished works include The Storyteller, The Feast of the Goat, Aunt Julia and the Scriptwriter, Death in the Andes, In Praise of the Stepmother, The Bad Girl, Conversation in the Cathedral, and The War of the End of the World. He lives in London.

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