It all started with an affair.
While on board a voyage from from Barcelona to El Callao, Mario Vargas Llosa, the celebrated Peruvian novelist, encountered a beautiful woman. He was already married, but this didn’t stop him from pursuing her. According to his friends, he had simply fallen in love. His friend Guillermo Angulo attributed this to Vargas Llosa’s erstwhile flirtatiousness: “Mario has been a great womanizer and he’s a very good-looking man. Women die for Mario.”
Making these matters a bit more complicated was the fact that Vargas Llosa’s wife Patricia was on this same ship, traveling with him. When the ship docked in Santiago, Chile, Vargas Llosa and his new girlfriend left together. Patricia Llosa bought a ticket on a plane straight back home to Barcelona to pack up her things.
Before leaving Santiago, Patricia was visited by their friends, the Colombian novelist Gabriel García Márquez, and his wife Mercedes Barcha Pardo. Though she knew the couple through her husband’s long friendship with the writer, she told them everything.
It’s at this spot in the story where the details get a bit fuzzy.
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