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A new generation of Latin American authors to read this summer

A new generation of Latin American authors to read this summer

Posted by PanamericanWorld on August 17, 2015

For many years Latin American writers complained of living under the shadow of their predecessors: the heavyweights of magical realism like Gabriel García Márquez, Mario Vargas Llosa or Carlos Fuentes. And Latin American authors are too often absent from suggested reading lists, despite the demographic shift taking place in America.

We have have put together a list of Latin American authors, a new generation freed from stylistic ties to the past that you should include in your summer-reading list. We have highlighted books that may not be necessarily the most recent, but those that are translated, edited or easier to find in English. No matter what the must-reads table at your bookstore says: there is life beyond Roberto Bolaño and Junot Díaz.

Yuri Herrera (Mexico): Signs Preceding the End of the World (first edited in 2009 and then again in 2015) is a breathtaking novel that narrates the mission of Makina, a young girl sent by her mother to rescue her brother, whose track was lost in the US. The Transmigration of Bodies, his most recent novel, will be published in English in 2016.

Patricio Pron (Argentina): The shadows of the Argentine dictatorship follow this author in the partially autobiographical novel My Fathers’ Ghost Is Climbing in the Rain (2013). Pron was included by Granta Magazine in its 2010 list of the 22 best of young Spanish-Language novelists.

Daniel Alarcón (Peru): Though he moved from Lima to Alabama when he was 3-years-old, this Peruvian-American author’s voice remains is wholly Latin American. He has appeared both in the New Yorker’s “20 Under 40” list as an American author and the “Bogotá 39” as a Peruvian.

Guadalupe Nettel (Mexico): Born in 1973 in Mexico City, this author has won awards for her novels and her short stories. The Body Where I was Born (2015) is an autobiographical novel in which the narrator recalls her childhood and an eye anomaly from the couch of a psychoanalyst.

Andres Neuman (Argentina): Probably the most established author on this list, along with Herrera, is Neuman, who wrote his debut novel, Bariloche, at the age of 22. The traveller of the century (2011), translated into 10 languages, is his most popular work.

Alejandro Zambra (Chile): This novelist and poet is considered by many to be the most brilliant Chilean writer since Bolaño. The addictive brevity of his work has received wonderful reviews in the New Yorker. If you want have a glimpse a Zambra, you can read Camilo, a short fiction story published in the New Yorker and The Most Chilean Man, a story published in Vice and included in his most recent compilation of short stories, My documents (2015).

Valeria Luiselli (Mexico): One of the youngest and most talented figures of Mexican literature, Luiselli’s Faces in the Crowd (2013), a tale about the Spanish-speaking literary diaspora in New York, won the Los Angeles Times Art Seidenbaum Award for First Fiction and the National Book Foundation’s “5 under 35″ award. Luiselli currently lives in New York City, where she has taught creative writing at Columbia University. Her forthcoming novel The Story of My Teeth, a tale of how a man tries to replace his repulsive teeth, will be published this fall.

Rodrigo Hasbún (Bolivia): Despite having lived in Ithaca, New York, where he works in his doctorate in Latin American literature at University of Cornell, his books are not published in English yet. Pushkin Press has confirmed to Quartz that it will publish one of his works next summer.

Samanta Schweblin (Argentina): This Argentine author, who lives in Berlin, has been largely awarded for her work, especially in short fiction stories. Birds in the Mouth (2013) is her second compilation, titled after a tale about a 13-year-old girl who likes to eat live birds and a worried divorced father. It is available in English as an e-book published by PEN America’s Recommended Reading Series.

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