Review: The Neighbourhood by Mario Vargas Llosa

The best thing I can say about Mario Vargas Llosa’s The Neighborhood is that in it there are some interesting descriptions of Peru’s murky political climate in the 1990s. That, and it was mercifully short.
The Neighborhood is a story of corruption, infidelity, sleaze and violence. When businessman Enrique is blackmailed by a journalist, a chain of events are set off that eventually lead to the downfall of government. Set in Fujimori-era Lima, this is a novel that has, at its heart, an interesting premise. It is a tale of hypocrisy, of a rotten society infecting rotten individuals. High and mighty politicians and respectable businesspeople descend into lies and infidelity, whilst the gutter press act with an unexpected integrity in a society ruled by fear.

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Review: Lake of Stars Festival

After fifteen years of festival events on the shores of Lake Malawi, one of Africa’s most exciting arts and music festivals came to the UK for two stand alone shows in London and Glasgow this March. The evening event at Glasgow’s School of Art on Sunday 11th March promised to be an eclectic, high energy billing of some truly outstanding African acts such as the joyful young six-piece Zathu, making their UK debut here; the soulful, soaring and powerful Wezi and the erudite, highly danceable M.anifest alongside music and poetry from Scottish Frightened Rabbit frontman Scott Hutchison and artsy, punchy Neu! Reekie! poet Michael Pedersen.

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