Conversation in the Cathedral takes place in 1950s Peru during the dictatorship of General Ordia. Suspicion, paranoia and blackmail have become part of life. The conversation flows between two individuals, Santiago and Ambrosia, who talk of their tormented lives and of the degradation and frustration that has taken over their town. In this groundbreaking novel, Mario Vargas Llosa explores the mental and moral mechanisms that govern power and the people behind it. It is about identity, the role of a citizen and how a lack of personal freedom can forever scar a nation and its people.