Theorizing the Quasi-Private

The Latin American Family in Select Novels by Mario Vargas Llosa

Keywords: Family, quasi-private, Latin America, kinship, disciplinary institution, cooperative conflict


The family has, for centuries, engaged the Latin American imagination, as a quasi-private sphere where the subject negotiates with the inner/private and outer/public realms of existence, in compliance with, and at times in discordance with the state. The rapidly changing contours of the Latin American socio-political scenario have made its presence felt in the depiction of the family in literature. The paper attempts to explore the family as a kinship unit as depicted in the works of Mario Vargas Llosa, with special reference to Conversation in the Cathedral (1969) and The Discreet Hero (2013). Llosa’s works are unique in their depiction of the family in that the rupture of the established unit marks the movement of the narrative in conspicuous ways. The family serves as an interface between the public and the private and serves as the link connecting the characters to the outside world-i.e., the politico-jural domain” (Goody 93). The paper would explore the family as depicted in Llosa’s works as a quasi-private site of rupture existing in a complementary relationship with the state. 


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Author Biography


Dr. Minu Susan Koshy currently works as Assistant Professor in the Department of English, Mar Thoma College for Women, Kerala. She is a Research Guide at Mahatma Gandhi University with Mar Thoma College, Tiruvalla, as the Research Centre. She has published extensively in national and international journals and has served as the resource person at conferences. Her areas of interest include cultural studies, postcolonial studies and comparative and world literatures. She is a reviewer for The Journal of Global South Studies and a member of the editorial board of Education, Society and Human Studies. Her books include Narrating Childhood Trauma: The Quest for Catharsis (DC Books-Expressions, 2015), a translation of the Malayalam anthology Tattoo (Authorspress, 2015) by Jacob Abraham, an edited collection of poems by Elizabeth Kuriakose, titled Gossamer Reveries (Authorspress 2019) and Mapping the Postcolonial Domestic in the Works of Vargas Llosa and Mukundan: Tales of the Threshold (Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2020). An edited volume titled When Objects Write Back: Reconceptualizing Material Culture in the Tricontinent is scheduled to be published by CSP later this year.


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How to Cite
Koshy, D. M. “Theorizing the Quasi-Private”. Contemporary Literary Review India, Vol. 10, no. 4, Nov. 2023, pp. 51-62,
Research Papers