Gabriel García Marquez and Isabel Allende are not the only major fiction authors Latin America has produced by far, but they are, for the most part, the only ones widely known in the English-speaking world. There are many interesting Latin American authors out there that you can explore and enjoy, and in many cases, the English translation of their work is on BARD. Want to expand your horizons? Check these Latin American classics out:
INVENTION OF MOREL AND OTHER STORIES by Adolfo Bioy Cásares. DB 50167
In the title novella, first published
in 1940, a fugitive from justice escapes to a remote island, where he enters
into a dreamlike existence along with other “intruders.” He falls in
love and gradually uncovers the eerie secret of his strange new world. Also
includes six short stories first published in 1948.
FICCIONES by Jorge Luis Borges. DB 14683
English translation of seventeen
brief, carefully wrought fantasies in which the Argentine Nobel Prize winner
creates a terrifying and bizarre world.
The collection’s first part, called “The Garden of Forking
Paths,” contains eight short stories published in Spanish in 1941. Part
two, entitled “Artifices,” has nine stories published in 1944. [BR 11366,
1993]: The introduction by John Sturrock provides background information on
Borges and on the stories.
HAPPY FAMILIES: STORIES by Carlos Fuentes. DB 68321
Sixteen stories set in modern-day
Mexico. Vignettes depict relationships between spouses, lovers–including a
homosexual couple–and parents and children while invoking Tolstoy’s
observation about happy and unhappy families. In “Sweethearts” former
lovers cross paths unexpectedly on a cruise ship. Translation from Spanish by
Edith Grossman. Some strong language. 2008.
BOOK OF LAMENTATIONS by Rosario Castellanos. DB 45081
A tale of social and racial conflict
set in the Mexican state of Chiapas in 1930. Describes events that precipitate
a Mayan Indian rebellion against the dominant Ladino class. Culminates in a
harrowing, redemptive crucifixion of a child. Originally published in 1962.
Violence and descriptions of sex.
FEAST OF THE GOAT by Mario Vargas Llosa. DB 56801
Urania Cabral, returning to the Dominican Republic where her father is terminally ill, recalls her youth during the brutal dictatorship of Rafael Trujillo. Called “the Goat” for his depravity with women, Trujillo was the reason for her forty-year estrangement from her father. Strong language and some violence. 2000. Vargas Llosa won the Nobel Prize in Literature in 2010.
EDGE OF THE STORM by Agustín Yañez. DB 24909
In a remote Mexican village in the
early part of the twentieth century, a puritanical priest and his curate
project their own fear of life onto their flock. The clerics ignore the
affectionate warnings of another priest and close their eyes to the rumbling of
revolution and change.
FAREWELL TO THE SEA: A NOVEL OF CUBA by Reinaldo Arenas. DB 24304
Psychological portrait of contemporary
life in Castro’s Cuba, full of shattered hopes and agonizing realities
generated by the revolution. A disillusioned young poet retreats to a beach
resort with his family to ponder both his country’s future and his own sexual
ambiguity. Includes considerable poetry. Strong language and explicit
descriptions of sex. 1985.
PARADISO by José Lezama Lima. DB 08039
Highly praised, panoramic novel of a
man’s search for his dead father and for an understanding of love and the
powers of the mind, psychological and philosophical themes are intricately
interwoven. Explicit descriptions of sex. 1974.
WE LOVE GLENDA SO MUCH AND OTHER TALES by Julio Cortázar DB 20793
Ten intriguing stories from the
apocalyptic world of the Argentine writer. In the title story, a group of fans
of the legendary movie star Glenda Garson, meet at showings of her films and
eventually become a fanatically devoted group. In all these tales a violent and
unsettling suspense prevails. Some strong language and some descriptions of
SUN, STONE, AND SHADOWS: TWENTY GREAT MEXICAN SHORT STORIES. DB 68735
Mexican authors born in the first half of the twentieth century write tales that reveal a panorama of Mexican culture and society–past and present, urban and rural, real and unreal. In “What Became of Pampa Hash?” an impoverished Mexican has a torrid love affair. The Big Read selection NEA. 2008.