Hello, readers! Welcome to another #5OnMyTBR update. The rule is relatively simple. I just have to pick five books from my to-be-read pile that fit the week’s theme.
This week’s theme: Freebie
This week’s theme is a freebie because #5OnMyTBR is celebrating its second anniversary! Happy second anniversary! And speaking of anniversaries, in a couple of days, I will be celebrating the first anniversary of my first-ever Latin American literature month. As such, I have decided to share works of Latin American writers that are on my (perpetually) growing reading list. Actually, my next read is by Isabel Allende’s latest novel, Violeta. It is my third by the Chilean writer. Chilean writers have left a deep impression on me last year. It is my hope to foray into lesser-explored areas such as the works of Argentinian, Uruguayan, and Central American writers. Without more ado, here are six works of Latin American writers on my reading list.
P.S. This list is for Latin American writers whose works I have not read before.
5OnMyTBR is a bookish meme hosted by E. @ Local Bee Hunter’s Nook where you chose five books from your to-be-read pile that fit that week’s theme. If you’d like more info, head over to the announcement post!
Author: Ángeles Mastretta
Translator: Margaret Sayers Peden
Publisher: Jonathan Cape
Publishing Date: 1998
No. of Pages: 292
Synopsis: “A bestseller throughout Latin America, Lovesick is the story of a passion interwoven with the history of a nation, a war, and a family. Emilia Sauri is torn between her love for her childhood playmate, Daniel Cuenca, who runs off to join the Mexican Revolution, and her desire to become a doctor. Her professional calling leads her to Antonio Zavalza, a physician whose only audacity is to desire peace in the midst of a civil war.
With an assured hand and a crystalline touch, reminiscent of the writings of Gabriel Garcia Marquez and Isabel Allende, Ángeles Mastretta presents the vivid portrait of a woman both fragile and bold, who enters the new century shedding the bonds of prejudices of previous generations. As Emilia must sort through the affairs of her heart, so too must she confront the fate history presents – a nation wracked by years of war and society awakening to the tumult of the twentieth century, and the place for a woman of many passions.”
Author: José Mármol
Translator: Helen Lane
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Publishing Date: 2001
No. of Pages: 643
Synopsis: “Written by José Mármol while in exile, Amalia was conceived to protest the cut-throat dictatorship of Juan Manuel de Rosas during the tumultuous years of post-independence Argentina and to provide a picture of the political events during his regime. A year after its publication in 1851, Rosa fell from power, and Amalia became Argentina’s national novel. Though its classic and obligatory status as required reading in Argentina’s schools has clouded its sparkle, it is above all a brilliant and passionate book whose popularity stemmed from the love story that fuels its plot.
Mármol recounts the story of Eduardo and Amalia, who fall in love while Eduardo convalesces from a death-squad attack in Amalia’s home. At once a detailed picture of life under dictatorship and a tragic love story between a provincial girl and a young man from Buenos Aires, Amalia displays Mármol’s patience with historical detail and his flair for dialogue and description and remains an enduring work of literature in Latin America and the world.”
Title: The Mambo Kings Play Songs of Love
Author: Oscar Hijuelos
Publisher: Perennial Classics
Publishing Date: 2000
No. of Pages: 448
Synopsis: “It’s 1949. It’s the era of the mambo, and two young Cuban musicians make their way up from Havana to the grand stage of New York. The Castillo brothers, workers by day, become by night stars of the dance halls, where their orchestra plays the lush, sensuous, pulsing music that earns them the title of the Mambo Kings. This is their moment of young – a golden time that thirty years later will be remembered with nostalgia and deep affection. In The Mambo Kings Play Songs of Love, Oscar Hijuelos has created a rich and enthralling novel about passion and loss, memory and desire.”
Title: Where the Air is Clear
Author: Carlos Fuentes
Translator: Sam Hileman
Publisher: Farrar, Straus, and Giroux
Publishing Date: 1985
No. of Pages: 376
Synopsis: “My name is Ixca Cienfuegos. I was born and I live in Mexico City. Which is not so grave: in Mexico City there is never tragedy but only outrage. Thus begins Carlos Fuentes’s first novel, unfolding a panorama in which many people’s lives depend on the fact that they live in today’s Mexico City, where the air is clear and yet filled with the old gods and devils still struggling to overcome the new, where a long and bloody revolution is still being fought and paid for in flesh. The vividness of Fuentes’s characters and the country that is theirs has made critics claim this as his best novel. It is unquestionably among the finest works of literature to be produced in the Western Hemisphere.”
Title: The Kingdom of this World
Author: Alejo Carpenter
Translator: Harriet de Onis
Publisher: The Noonday Press
Publishing Date: 1989
No. of Pages: 186
Synopsis: “A few after its liberation from French colonialist rule, Haiti experienced a period of unsurpassed brutality, horror, and superstition under the reign of the black King Henri-Christophe. Through the eyes of the ancient slave Ti-Noel, The Kingdom of This World records the destruction of the black regime – built on the same corruption and contempt for human life that brought down the French – in an orgy of voodoo, race, hatred, erotomania, and fantastic grandeurs of false elegance.”
Title: Martin Rivas
Author: Alberto Blest Gana
Translator: Tess O’Dwyer
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Publishing Date: 2000
No. of Pages: 389
Synopsis: “Martin Rivas, an impoverished but ambitious young man from the northern mining region of Chile, is entrusted by his late father to the household of a wealthy and influential member of the Santiago elite. While living there, he falls in love with his guardian’s daughter. A poor provincial, Martin perceives his situation to be hopeless, so he immediately sets about improving his financial and social station. Along the way, he bears witness to the wide range of social and moral strata within Chilean society.
Widely acknowledged as the first Chilean novel, Martin Rivas is at once a passionate love story and a keenly observed portrait of the manners and customs of nineteenth-century Chile. RIch with unerring social portraits, animated dialogue, and sharply drawn characters, Martin Rivas is an engagingly spontaneous and charmingly romantic novel.”