“Is this the way to Paradise?” “No, miss, try the next corner.”

The Way to ParadiseParadisul de dupa coltWhat do you think of when you read the title “The Way to Paradise”? I was led in many directions, but none of them was the right one. The story is based on a children’s game called The Way to Paradise, and it connects over time the two protagonists, Flora Tristan and Paul Gaugain (also called Koke), grandmother and grandson. Both of them are seeking their own paradise, a perfect world, and this game is the bridge between them. They’ll never meet. Flora will never know about the existence of Koke, and all Koke will know about his grandma is from other people’s stories, and from her books.

The author, Mario Vargas Llosa, gives us two beautiful stories from different periods of time. Flora’s story lasts until the mid-nineteenth century, and Koke’s story begins by mid-ninteenth century. Flora is a very powerful woman and  her story we’ll lead us through very difficult times. It all starts when she begins her fight for women’s and workers’ emancipation. She is the one who wrote the book The Workers’ Union, and who makes her way into a man’s world to create the ideal society. She is not spared of painful experiences or disillusion. On the other hand, Koke has an interesting evolution. He has a beautiful life. He lives as a bourgeois, supports his family and he has a very promising career. At some point he enters the art world, and his artistic side begins to take over his life.

I will not go into details, but I must say that Llosa wrote a wonderful piece of history centered around the life of a great artist. Reading this book, I entered the world of Gaugain, I met the artist, and also the man. Occasionally, I stopped reading in order to look for the paintings that Llosa described so well, and this is another confirmation of the fact that writers are also painters. They paint with words, and they are so damn good! If you are familiar with Gaugain’s paintings, you’ll find in this book the story of each painting, why it was painted like that, what the painter felt when he worked on one piece or another, what was the relationship with his models.

The spirit of the dead watches

A day of no gods

More paintings: http://www.wikiart.org/en/paul-gauguin 

The Way to Paradise is a wonderful book; it has flashes of genius between its pages. The story gets under your skin like a cold rain, it hurts, it makes you sad, and it impresses you like no other. Maybe you’ll burst into tears as I did. I found very interesting the life of the Impressionist artists, and I was surprised to meet Gaugain’s friend, the mad Dutchman – Vincent van Gogh, another genius of the time. I also found out why he had cut his ear. (No, I’m not going to tell you!)

I recommend you this book! Not only will you love it, but, at the end, you’ll have the satisfaction that you’ve read a masterpiece.

Enjoy the book, divas!

Andres

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