The Way to Paradise

by Mario Vargas Llosa


The Way to Paradise is a novel published by Mario Vargas Llosa in 2003.
The novel is a historical double biography of Post-Impressionist painter Paul Gauguin and his grandmother Flora Tristan, one of the founders of feminism. The book is divided into 22 chapters, each alternating narratives of Flora Tristan and Paul Gauguin, the grandson she never knew as he was born after she died. Flora Tristan, illegitimate daughter of a wealthy Peruvian man and a French woman, is repelled by sex, detests her husband, and abandons him to then later fight for women's and workers' rights. The story of Paul Gauguin unfolds along a similar quest for an ideal life. Gauguin abandons his wife and children, and job as a stock-broker in Paris, to pursue his passion for painting. In the process he does his best to distances himself from European civilization, fleeing to Tahiti and French Polynesia for inspiration. The contrasts and similarities between two lives attempting to break free from conventional society present a long, elegant development.

First Published


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