A List of Must-Read Books for Anyone Travelling to Latin America

By | 17 October, 2018

The following are the list of books which are praised by historical scholars, cultural critics and wanderlust travellers as these accurately represent the ideas and imagery of Latin America.

The Lost Steps by Alejo Carpentier, Translated by Harriet de Onis

Carpentier’s The Lost Steps is certainly a work of a genius. The story features a weary Manhattan musician as he sets out on a commission to find a mysterious ancient musical instrument in the heartland of the Amazon. He further endures the violence of political revolution, the mysterious powers of the Andean hinterland, and the betrayal of passionate love along the way. This book is sure to light a spark in the minds of the wanderlusts.

Bolivar and the War of Independence by Daniel Florencio O’Leary, Translated by Robert F. McNerney Jr.

This is an epic which captures the story of Bolivar’s South American campaigns taken from the personal witnesses of the Liberator’s Irish friend and General, Daniel Florence O’Leary.

This book talks about Bolivar’s famous personality, his accomplishments and struggles and traces all the forces which intertwine the South American forces in a joint effort for liberation, from strategic treks across Argentina to campaigns in the Andean highlands.

Prior to his death, Bolivar expressed his wish for General O’Leary to write the story of his life after his demise.

Liberty for Latin America by Alvaro Vargas Llosa

Vargas Llosa reflects the past two centuries of Latin America, its political and economic history to find the flaws as to what exactly went wrong in creating a continent with economic hardships, poverty and social unrest.

Vargas Llosa’s solution to this is described in a methodical manner in a view to reforming both public institutions and culture on a larger scale.

Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Translated by Edith Grossman

Gabriel Garcia Marquez was an avant-garde writer of the literary period between 1960 and 1970, and beyond. But this work of Marquez is indeed unique as it is considered the best among all travel books in South America. The journey of this intellectual novel not only exhibits the famous Nobel Prize author at his best but gives an exotic picture of Colombia: her colonial Caribbean cities and coastline, the great Magdalena River, and the frontier Andean outposts of Villa de Leyva and Santa Fe.

The Death of Artemio Cruz by Carlos Fuentes, Translated by Alfred McAdam

This story features a powerful and wealthy old man who is on his deathbed. He recalls his entire life and the tragedy of Mexico. This book is filled with aspirations, ambition, disillusionment and idealism which reflects all the notable events of Mexico.

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