Love? Obsession? Same thing
She has no name—at least not a reliable one. When Peruvian teenager Ricardo Somocurcio ?rst encounters the girl he’s doomed to love for the rest of his life, he knows her as Lily. Years later, in revolutionary 1960s Paris, she’s Comrade Arlette. Farther down the line, she’s Kuriko. It’s much easier to just call her “bad girl.” A composite of every wrong person you’ve ever been infatuated with—she’s cruel, mocking and utterly irresistible. The same may be said of South American novelist Vargas Llosa’s fifteenth book, a work that single-mindedly explores the absurdity and necessity of passion and sentimentality.
An emotional masochist in the most romantic sense, Ricardo is driven to love the malicious, itinerant woman without thinking about—or, more importantly, caring about—the consequences. And like any memorable love story, The Bad Girl is at heart a tragedy, one that takes care to remind us that, “in this life, things rarely happen the way we little pissants plan them.”