Peru library to preserve Vargas Llosa's vast literary treasure

Lima, Apr 24 (EFE).- The Mario Vargas Llosa Library in Arequipa, Peru, now holds more than 4,700 books from the personal collection of the Peruvian Nobel laureate in Literature, who chose the city of his birth as the final destination for his vast literary treasure, currently divided among his libraries in Madrid, Lima and Paris.

As is now customary, Vargas Llosa celebrated his birthday last March 28 in Arequipa by adding another 2,012 books to the 2,741 he delivered in 2014, two years after announcing that he would endow it with all of his approximately 30,000 books in a gradual process.

Beginning next June, the books may be consulted in the library but only by researchers who "are truly carrying out a research project," the director of the Mario Vargas Llosa Library, Mario Rommel Arce Espinoza, told Efe.

Nor will all the literary heritage of Vargas Llosa, 79, be immediately accessible to the public in the library that bears his name in an 18th century mansion in Arequipa's historical downtown area, since only those texts with no annotations will be available.

The fact is that many of the books donated by Vargas Llosa have annotations, his signature, or are dedicated to him.

The library director considered that "the confidentiality of the reader regarding the book he reads must be respected," and added that "they can't be made available because each of these works contains his personal evaluations and critical appraisals."

Among the books with annotations are several by Argentine writer Julio Cortazar, whom the Peruvian Nobel laureate discovered when he went to live in Paris in 1958.

All the works of fiction and social sciences given by Vargas Llosa are from the library of his home in Lima's Barranco district.

"There are many valuable works," Arce said, notably those from the boom of Latin American literature by such writers as Colombia's Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Mexico's Carlos Fuentes, the Brazilian Jorge Amado, Paraguay's Augusto Roa Bastos, and the Chilean Jose Donoso.

They also include works by classical authors like France's Alejandro Dumas and Jules Verne, Britain's Oscar Wilde and Spain's Pio Baroja, Azorin and Benito Perez Galdos.

"They're books that allowed Mario Vargas Llosa to write his articles, novels and lectures in recent decades," Arce Espinoza said.

The next donation of books will be in 2016 when the Nobel laureate delivers his collection of Peruvian literature, leaving until last the books he loves most.

When he announced his donation of books in 2012, Vargas Llosa said he was "thrilled that the scattered family" of his library divided across two continents will at last be back together in the city where he was born.