Los cachorros / The Cubs
Short stories and novellas , 1967
Los cachorros is a memorable tale, exploring the intimacy of an adolescent tormented by a grotesque mutilation. Pichula Cuéllar's castration would be laughable in other hands, but Vargas Llosa succeeds in making the character's emotional disintegration believable. Genital mutilation excludes Pichula from love and pleasure and prevents him from moving towards an adult identity.
The story, which seeks at all times a plural voice (according to the author a work more sung than told), which undulates from one character to another, from the subjective to the objective, has given rise to an incredible number of interpretations: evocation of youth, parable about the impotence of a social class, castration of the artist in the underdeveloped world, and many others. Any of them can be true, because Los cachorros has the intensity and ambiguous character of the great masterpieces.