A New York Times Notable Book of 2007
"Splendid, suspenseful, and irresistible . . . A contemporary love story that explores the mores of the urban 1960s--and 70s and 80s."--The New York Times Book Review
Ricardo Somocurcio is in love with a bad girl. He loves her as a teenager known as "Lily" in Lima in 1950, when she flits into his life one summer and disappears again without explanation. He loves her still when she reappears as a revolutionary in 1960s Paris, then later as Mrs. Richardson, the wife of a wealthy Englishman, and again as the mistress of a sinister Japanese businessman in Tokyo. However poorly she treats him, he is doomed to worship her. Charting Ricardo's expatriate life through his romances with this shape-shifting woman, Vargas Llosa has created a beguiling, epic romance about the life-altering power of obsession.
Mario Vargas Llosa's perversely charming new novel isn't among his major booksit lacks the depth of Conversation in the Cathedral, Aunt Julia and the Scriptwriter or even the more recent and less successful The Feast of the Goatbut it is irresistibly entertaining and, like all of its author's work, formidably smart…Obviously, the novel was written for the sheer fun of itthe fun for Vargas Llosa in writing it, the fun for us in reading it. It also obviously was written out of a deep nostalgia for the author's lost youth and for the Lima in which he then lived. He evokes it beautifully…Edith Grossman…has translated The Bad Girl with her accustomed skill and grace, making this lovely novel wholly accessible to American readers.