The Storyteller

( 7 )


In a small gallery in Florence, a Peruvian writer happens upon an exhibition of photographs from the Amazon jungle. As he stares at a picture of a tribal storyteller who holds a circle of Machiguenga Indians entranced, he is overcome by the eerie sense that he knows this man, that the storyteller is not an Indian at all, but an old school friend.

A Peruvian Jew is transformed from a man obsessed with the survial of the pre-modern ...

See more details below
Available through our Marketplace sellers.
Other sellers (Paperback)
  • All (69) from $1.99   
  • New (1) from $8.25   
  • Used (68) from $1.99   
Sort by
Page 1 of 1
Showing All
Note: Marketplace items are not eligible for any coupons and promotions
Seller since 2010

Feedback rating:



New — never opened or used in original packaging.

Like New — packaging may have been opened. A "Like New" item is suitable to give as a gift.

Very Good — may have minor signs of wear on packaging but item works perfectly and has no damage.

Good — item is in good condition but packaging may have signs of shelf wear/aging or torn packaging. All specific defects should be noted in the Comments section associated with each item.

Acceptable — item is in working order but may show signs of wear such as scratches or torn packaging. All specific defects should be noted in the Comments section associated with each item.

Used — An item that has been opened and may show signs of wear. All specific defects should be noted in the Comments section associated with each item.

Refurbished — A used item that has been renewed or updated and verified to be in proper working condition. Not necessarily completed by the original manufacturer.

2000 Trade paperback 6th printing New. SHIPS 1st CLASS UPGRADE w/TRACKING from NJ; GIFT-ABLE AS NEW AND UNREAD; NEW AS SHOWN THIS COVER Trade paperback (US). Glued binding. 256 ... p. Audience: General/trade.11179 11179--Orig publ in Spanish as El Hablador. At a small gallery in Florence, a Peruvian writer happens upon a photograph of a tribal storyteller deep in the jungles of the Amazon. He is overcome with the eerie sense that he knows this man...that the storyteller is not an Indian at all but an old school friend, Saul Zuratas. As recollections of Zuratas flow through his mind, the writer begins to imagine Zuratas's transformation from a modern to a central member of the unacculturated Machiguenga tribe. Weaving Read more Show Less

Ships from: Hewitt, NJ

Usually ships in 1-2 business days

  • Canadian
  • International
  • Standard, 48 States
  • Standard (AK, HI)
  • Express, 48 States
  • Express (AK, HI)
Page 1 of 1
Showing All
Sort by
The Storyteller

Available on NOOK devices and apps  
  • NOOK Devices
  • Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 NOOK 7.0
  • Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 NOOK 10.1
  • NOOK HD Tablet
  • NOOK HD+ Tablet
  • NOOK eReaders
  • NOOK Color
  • NOOK Tablet
  • Tablet/Phone
  • NOOK for Windows 8 Tablet
  • NOOK for iOS
  • NOOK for Android
  • NOOK Kids for iPad
  • PC/Mac
  • NOOK for Windows 8
  • NOOK for PC
  • NOOK for Mac
  • NOOK for Web

Want a NOOK? Explore Now

NOOK Book (eBook - First Edition)
$9.99 price
This digital version does not exactly match the physical book displayed here.


In a small gallery in Florence, a Peruvian writer happens upon an exhibition of photographs from the Amazon jungle. As he stares at a picture of a tribal storyteller who holds a circle of Machiguenga Indians entranced, he is overcome by the eerie sense that he knows this man, that the storyteller is not an Indian at all, but an old school friend.

A Peruvian Jew is transformed from a man obsessed with the survial of the pre-modern people of the Amazon into a member of their tribe.

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
The author's moral conscience and political consciousness (at one point he considered running for the presidency of Peru) are evidenced in this slim volume, less conventional novel than a blend of memoir, folklore and polemic. The narrator tells of his college friend Saul Zuratas, a man obsessed with preserving the culture of the Machiguengas, a tiny, isolated Indian tribe threatened both by rapacious rubber barons destroying the Amazon jungle and the missionaries who want to bring the Machiguengas into the 20th century. Saul, called Mascarita because of a disfiguring facial birthmark, and doubly an outsider because he is a Jew, has a particular sensitivity to this primitive tribe that seeks to live peacefully with the natural world. The narrative alternates the story of Saul's obsession with chapters relating the Machiguengas' myths, stories handed down by the hablador , or storyteller. Through a remarkable coincidence, the narrator discovers that the mystery surrounding the habladores can be traced to Saul, who has found his destiny among the tribe. Written in the direct, precise, often vernacular prose that Vargas Llosa embues with elegance and sophistication, this is a powerful call to the author's compatriots--and to other nations--to cease despoiling the environment. (Nov.)
Library Journal
In his dazzling new novel, Vargas Llosa (whose works include The War of the End of the World ) shows that ``story-telling can be something more than mere entertainment.'' In alternating chapters, he tells the story of Saul Zuratas, a Peruvian Jew who becomes an habladore (storyteller) to the Machiguengas--a tribe still wandering the Amazon jungle--and the tribe's stories themselves. The examination of the roles of anthropologists and ecologists in preserving the integrity of native societies is here explicit, and the good reader reaps the rewards of a novel that tackles major political issues as it fulfills the basic human need to tell and hear stories. A well-written work, demanding that we think about the results of acculturation and ecological disaster.-- Vincent D. Balitas, Allentown Coll., Center Valley, Pa.
From the Publisher
"Intellectual, ethical, and artistic, all at once and brilliantly so."—The New York Times Book Review

"Brilliant . . . A whole culture is contained within these dreamy narratives."—Raymond Sokolov, The Wall Street Journal

"Engrossing, engaging and thought-provoking . . . An intricate weaving of political commentary and narrative style."—Minneapolis Star-Tribune

"A fascinating tale . . . with enormous skill and formal grace, Vargas Llosa weaves through the mystery surrounding the fate of Saul Zuratas."—Time

"It is in the chapters narrated by the storyteller that the novel comes wonderfully alive, transporting the reader to a world where men hang suspended in a delicate web of cosmic relationships."—Mark Dery, The Philadelphia Enquirer

Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780140143492
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated
  • Publication date: 10/1/1990
  • Pages: 256
  • Product dimensions: 5.14 (w) x 7.76 (h) x 0.47 (d)

Meet the Author

MARIO VARGAS LLOSA was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 2010 “for his cartography of structures of power and his trenchant images of the individual’s resistance, revolt, and defeat.” Peru’s foremost writer, he has been awarded the Cervantes Prize, the Spanish-speaking world’s most distinguished literary honor, and the Jerusalem Prize. His many works include The Feast of the Goat, The Bad Girl, Aunt Julia and the Scriptwriter, The War of the End of the World, and The Storyteller. He lives in London.

Read More Show Less

Read an Excerpt


I came to Firenze to forget Peru and the Peruvians for a while, and suddenly my unfortunate country forced itself upon me this morning in the most unexpected way. I had visited Dante’s restored house, the little Church of San Martino del Véscovo, and the lane where, so legend has it, he first saw Beatrice, when, in the little Via Santa Margherita, a window display stopped me short: bows, arrows, a carved oar, a pot with a geometric design, a mannequin bundled into a wild cotton cushma. But it was three or four photographs that suddenly brought back to me the flavor of the Peruvian jungle. The wide rivers, the enormous trees, the fragile canoes, the frail huts raised up on pilings, and the knots of men and women, naked to the waist and daubed with paint, looking at me unblinkingly from the glossy prints.

Naturally, I went in. With a strange shiver and the presentiment that I was doing something foolish, that mere curiosity was going to jeopardize in some way my well-conceived and, up until then, well-executed plan—to read Dante and Machiavelli and look at Renaissance paintings for a couple of months in absolute solitude—and precipitate one of those personal upheavals that periodically make chaos of my life. But, naturally, I went in.

The gallery was minute. A single low-ceilinged room in which, to make room for all the photographs, two panels had been added, every inch of them covered with pictures. A thin girl in glasses, sitting behind a small table, looked up at me. Could I visit the “Natives of the Amazon Forest” exhibition?

“Certo. Avanti, avanti.”

There were no artifacts inside the gallery, only photos, fifty at least, most of them fairly large. There were no captions, but someone, perhaps the photographer himself, one Gabriele Malfatti, had written a few pages indicating that the photos had been taken during a two-week journey in the Amazon region of the departments of Cusco and Madre de Dios in eastern Peru. The artist’s intention had been to describe, “without demagoguery or aestheticism,” the daily life of a tribe which, until a few years ago, had lived virtually isolated from civilization, scattered about in units of one or two families. Only in our day had they begun to group together in those places documented by the exhibition, but many of them still remained in the forest. The name of the tribe was Hispanicized without spelling errors: the Machiguengas.

The photos were a quite faithful reflection of Malfatti’s intention. There were the Machiguengas, aiming a harpoon from the bank of a river, or, half concealed in the undergrowth, drawing a bow in pursuit of capybaras or peccaries; there they were, gathering cassava in the tiny plots scattered around their brand-new villages, perhaps the first in their long history, clearing the forest with machetes, weaving palm leaves to roof their huts. A group of women sat lacing mats and baskets; another was making headdresses, hooking brightly colored parrot and macaw feathers into wooden circlets. There they were, decorating their faces and bodies in intricate designs with dye from the annatto tree, lighting fires, drying hides and skins, fermenting cassava for masato beer in canoe-shaped receptacles. The photos eloquently showed how few of them there were in the immensity of sky, water, and vegetation that surrounded them, how fragile and frugal their life was; their isolation, their archaic ways, their helplessness. It was true: neither demagoguery nor aestheticism.

What I am about to say is not an invention after the fact, nor yet a false memory. I am quite sure I moved from one photograph to the next with an emotion that at a certain moment turned to anxiety. What’s happening to you? What might you come across in these pictures that would justify such anxiety?

From the very first photos I had recognized the clearings where Nueva Luz and Nuevo Mundo had been built—I had been in both less than three years before—and an overall view of the second of these had immediately brought back to my mind the feeling of impending catastrophe with which I lived through the acrobatic landing that morning as the Cessna belonging to the Institute of Linguistics avoided Machiguenga children. I even seemed to recognize some of the faces of the men and women with whom I had spoken, with Mr. Schneil’s help. This became certainty when, in another photograph, I saw, with the same little bloated belly and the same bright eyes my memory had preserved, the boy whose mouth and nose had been eaten away by uta ulcers. He revealed to the camera, with the same innocence and unselfconsciousness with which he had shown it to us, that hole with teeth, palate, and tonsils which gave him the appearance of some mysterious wild beast.

The photograph I was hoping to see from the moment I entered the gallery was among the last. From the very first glance it was evident that the gathering of men and women, sitting in a circle in the Amazonian way—similar to the Oriental: legs crossed tailor-fashion, back held very straight—and bathed in the light of dusk fading to dark, was hypnotically attentive. They were absolutely still. All the faces were turned, like radii of a circumference, toward the central point: the silhouette of a man at the heart of that circle of Machiguengas drawn to him as to a magnet, standing there speaking and gesticulating. I felt a cold shiver down my spine. I thought: “How did that Malfatti get them to allow him to…How did he manage to…?” I stooped, brought my face up very close to the photograph. I kept looking at it, smelling it, piercing it with my eyes and imagination, until I noticed that the girl in charge of the gallery had risen from her table and was coming toward me in alarm.

Making an effort to contain my excitement, I asked if the photographs were for sale. No, she didn’t think so. They belonged to Rizzoli, the publishers. Apparently they were going to appear in a book. I asked her to put me in touch with the photographer. No, that wouldn’t be possible, unfortunately: “Il signore Gabriele Malfatti è morto.”

Dead? Yes. Of a fever. A virus he’d caught in the jungle, forse. Poor man! He was a fashion photographer: he’d worked for Vogue and Uomo, that sort of magazine, photographing models, furniture, jewelry, clothes. He’d spent his life dreaming of doing something different, more personal, such as taking this trip to the Amazon. And when at last he was able to do so, and they were just about to publish a book with his work, he died! And now, le dispiaceva, but it was l’ora di pranzo and she had to close.

I thanked her. Before leaving to confront once again the wonders and the hordes of tourists of Firenze, I managed to cast one last glance at the photograph. Yes. No doubt whatsoever about it. A storyteller.

THE STORYTELLER English translation copyright © Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 1989

Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 7 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star


4 Star


3 Star


2 Star


1 Star


Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation


  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously
Sort by: Showing all of 7 Customer Reviews
  • Posted April 17, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    If you're looking for a plot driven page-turner, look elsewhere.

    If you're looking for a plot driven page-turner, look elsewhere. But if you're looking for a novel with deeply human meaning, read this book. If you're looking to explore the themes of exclusion, isolation, and ultimate acceptance, read this book. If you're looking for beautiful prose masterfully crafted, read this book. There are no car chases, gunfights, or explosions. There are no double agents, international incidents, or political maneuverings. There is simply beautifully rendered humanity.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 24, 2002

    Gets you thinking

    Wonderfully written, slowly unravels itself saving the best comtemplations for last...some parts slow, but make sense in the end. Embodies the complexity of 'being' someone in society.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2013

    No more true revenge......

    If you were reading, i'm sorry. But you were too stupid. You didn't COMMENT! I won't be returning so don't bother replying.....*sarcasm* you were going to anyway...*sarcasm*......

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted June 27, 2010

    Interesting read

    An interesting take on culture, belonging to a certain culture, self acceptance and acceptance of a culture and into a culture. A great insight into the Amazon Indian culture and the influence of white man on it and at the same time the influence of Amazon Indian culture on this one man, Mascarito. Defnitely thought-provoking.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 12, 2012

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted December 21, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted December 30, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

Sort by: Showing all of 7 Customer Reviews

If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
Why is this product inappropriate?
Comments (optional)