Wednesday, April 9, 2014

The New Latin American Literature--Not Magical?

Juan Gabriel Vasquez
I came across a really interesting article in Wired Magazine called "No More Magical Realism..." and it talked about how literature in Latin America has moved away from the fantastic and more towards the gritty, noir-like, crime novels.

Gabriel Garcia Marquez may not have invented magical realism but he introduced it to the English-speaking world.  He started a "Latin American boom" that flourished into the late 1970s.  When the boom faded, readers wondered whether magical realism could tackle the social and political conflicts of a new generation.

In the late 1990s, Alberto Fuguet helped form a literary movement called McOndo and they declared themselves anti-magical realism.  Then a long list of neo-realist writers like Roberto Bolano began writing hard-boiled crime novels.

And then last year Colombian novelist Juan Gabriel Vasquez's novel about the drug wars branded him as one of the best new writers and maybe even the future of Latin American literature.

He said in the Wired article: "My work is a reaction to the idea of magical realism as the only way to discover Latin America."  And this is something I strongly oppose.  I don't feel Latin America is a magical continent. I feel Latin American history is, if anything, tragedy."  And it's this tragedy that I'm trying to tell in my novel."

So try some of these talented authors and discover the gritty and tragic side of Latin America.

Roberto Bolano--2666 and The Savage Detectives

Edmundo Paz-Soldan--Turing's Delirium

Arturo Perez-Reverte--The Queen of the South

Juan Gabriel Vasquez--The Sound of Things Falling

Juan Pablo Villalobos--Down the Rabbit Hole and Quesadillas

Don Winslow--The Power of the Dog

And the following are available through SearchOhio:

Giannina Braschi--Empire of Dreams and Yo-Yo Boing!

Jorge Franco--Paradise Travel and Rosario Tijeras: a Novel

Alberto Fuguet--The Movies of My Life and Shirts: Stories

Pedro Juan Gutierrez--Cuba (short stories) and Tropical Animal

Juan Rulfo--Pedro Paramo

Martin Solares--The Black Minutes

Fernando Vallejo--Our Lady of the Assassins






No comments: