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Latin American Literature Reading List Posted by on Jan 7, 2008 in Uncategorized

 

As we greet the New Year, now might be just the time to introduce a loved one (or yourself!) to the varied and delicious world of Latin American literature.The following is a partial list of some of my favorite Spanish-language novels (in no particular order), all of which are easy to find in Spanish or English.

 

One Hundred Years of Solitude/Cien años de soledad, Gabriel García Márquez

This is the most famous work by the Nobel Prize-winning Colombian author.The novel chronicles a century in the lives of the Buendía family, and combines real events in Latin American history with magical realism, the literary device for which García Márquez is most famous.

 

Love in the Time of Cholera/El amor en los tiempos del cólera, Gabriel Garcia Marquez

Not as renowned as One Hundred Years of Solitude but personally a more enjoyable read.This novel tells the story of a fifty-year obsession and unrequited love.

Pedro Páramo– Juan Rulfo

A novel about the title character’s search for his absent father and at the same time a symbol of Mexico’s search to explain its violent history and the roots of the Mexican Revolution..

The House of the Spirits/La casa de los espíritus, Isabel Allende

This story is a wonderful, multi-generational tale of the Trueba family, told mainly through the diary entries of Clara, its clairvoyant matriarch.

The Crystal Frontier, Carlos Fuentes

I am in the middle of reading this book and thoroughly enjoying every moment.A compilation of short stories, each is joined by the thread of shared characters and the common theme of the border between Mexico and the United States.

Twenty Love Poems and a Song of Despair/ Veinte poemas de amor y una cancion desesperada, Pablo Neruda

My favorite collection by the beloved Chilean poet.I am not a huge fan of poetry, but Neruda’s writing is clean, simple, universal,and painfully romantic.

I, Rigoberta Menchú/Me llamo Rigoberta Menchú y asi nació mi conciencia, Elizabeth Burgos (as told by Rigoberta Menchú)

This is the extraordinary life story of Rigoberta Menchú, a Queché-Maya woman from Guatemala whose family suffered atrocities during the Guatemalan Civil War.She has since dedicated herself to fighting for indigenous rights throughout Latin America, for which she received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1992.

The Fragmented Life of Don Jacobo Lerner/La vida a plazos de don Jacobo Learner, Isaac Goldemburg

An important work of Jewish Latin American literature.Set in the author’s native Peru, it is a commentary on the Jewish immigrant experience in South America and the search for identity and acceptance.I love the scattered, fragmented style that gives the novel its title.Each chapter is a hodge-podge of letters, newspaper clippings, memories, announcements, etc., that give the fictional work an air of realism.

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Comments:

  1. Sue:

    This list is fabulous! I’m especially grateful that they can easily be found in both English and Spanish. I haven’t studied Spanish in years and this will provide a goal to strive for and I can get both language copies to facilitate translating as I get my Spanish back. I love the blog. I hope lots of others are reading it, too, even if there are no comments. I have several Transparent Language Spanish and German Titles. It’s good stuff!

  2. Berta-Isabel:

    Hi,
    You can enter to read Literature in Spanish here, for free:
    Biblioteca Virtual Miguel de Cervantes:
    http://www.cervantesvirtual.com

    Enjoy it!

    Berta

  3. Rachel:

    That’s a great idea, Sue, to get both versions of the novels. Let us know if there are any other books you come across that you’d like to see on a future list!

    Thanks a lot, Berta. I’ll check it out!

  4. Sue Vital:

    Fabulous site. Thank you!

  5. Anonymous:

    LS
    Are there also translations in dutch.

    Greetings B.A. Burger