Best Books by Latin American Writers of the 20th Century

By 05 July, 2024

“Captains of the Sand”, “The City and the Dogs”, “Hopscotch” and other masterpieces of Latin American literature in our selection.

Dictatorships, coups, revolutions, terrible poverty of some and fantastic wealth of others, and at the same time – exuberant fun and optimism of ordinary people. This is how most Latin American countries in the 20th century can be briefly described. And we shouldn’t forget about the amazing synthesis of different cultures, peoples and beliefs.

The paradoxes of history and the riotous color inspired many writers of this region to create genuine literary masterpieces that enriched world culture. We will talk about the most striking works in our material.

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Captains of the Sand. Jorge Amado (Brazil)

One of the main novels of Jorge Amado, the most famous Brazilian writer of the 20th century. “Captains of the Sand” is the story of a gang of street children who engaged in theft and robbery in the state of Bahia in the 1930s. It was this book that formed the basis of the film “Generals of the Sand Quarries,” which was extremely popular in the USSR.

Morel’s Invention. Adolfo Bioy Casares (Argentina)

The most famous book by the Argentine writer Adolfo Bioy Casares. A novel that deftly balances on the brink of mysticism and science fiction. The main character, fleeing persecution, ends up on a distant island. There he meets strange people who pay absolutely no attention to him. Watching them day after day, he learns that everything that happens on this piece of land is a holographic movie recorded a long time ago, virtual reality. And it is impossible to leave this place… while the invention of a certain Morel is working.

Senor President. Miguel Angel Asturias (Guatemala)

Miguel Angel Asturias – winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1967. In his novel, the author portrays a typical Latin American dictator – Señor President, in which he reflects the whole essence of cruel and senseless authoritarian rule, aimed at enriching himself through oppression and intimidation of ordinary people. This book is about a man for whom ruling a country means robbing and killing its inhabitants. Remembering the dictatorship of the same Pinochet (and other no less bloody dictators), we understand how accurate this artistic prophecy of Asturias turned out to be.

Kingdom of the Earth. Alejo Carpentier (Cuba)

In his historical novel “Earthly Kingdom,” Cuban writer Alejo Carpentier talks about the mysterious world of the Haitians, whose lives are inextricably linked with the mythology and magic of Voodoo. In fact, the author put this poor and mysterious island on the literary map of the world, in which magic and death are intertwined with fun and dancing.

Mirrors. Jorge Luis Borges (Argentina)

A collection of selected stories by the outstanding Argentine writer Jorge Luis Borges. In his short stories, he addresses the motives of searching for the meaning of life, truth, love, immortality and creative inspiration. Masterfully using symbols of infinity (mirrors, libraries and labyrinths), the author not only gives answers to questions, but makes the reader think about the reality around him. After all, the meaning is not so much in the search results, but in the process itself.

Death of Artemio Cruz. Carlos Fuentes (Mexico)

In his novel, Carlos Fuentes tells the life story of Artemio Cruz, a former revolutionary and ally of Pancho Villa, and now one of the richest tycoons in Mexico. Having come to power as a result of an armed uprising, Cruz begins to frantically enrich himself. To satisfy his greed, he does not hesitate to resort to blackmail, violence and terror against anyone who gets in his way. This book is about how, under the influence of power, even the highest and best ideas die out, and people change beyond recognition. In fact, this is a kind of answer to Asturias’ “Señor President”.

Hopscotch Game. Julio Cortazar (Argentina)

One of the most famous works of postmodern literature. In this novel, the famous Argentine writer Julio Cortazar tells the story of Horacio Oliveira, a man in a difficult relationship with the world around him and pondering the meaning of his own existence. In “The Hopscotch Game,” the reader himself chooses the plot of the novel (in the preface, the author offers two reading options – according to a plan he specially developed or according to the order of the chapters), and the content of the book will depend directly on his choice.

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