Four great summer reads from Latin American and Latino authors

Looking for a really good book to take on vacation, or to while away a few lazy summer afternoons?  Here are four great reads:

“My Fathers Ghost Is Climbing in the Rain” by Patricio Pron

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Patricio Pron is one of the twenty-two writers recently selected by the prestigious literary magazine Granta as the best young Spanish-language novelists born after 1975. My Father’s Ghost Is Climbing in the Rain is the first of his novels to be translated into English. An Argentine writer living in Germany comes back to his native country to say good-bye to his dying father, a journalist who had spent much of his time doing research on a murdered neighbor, the brother of a woman who disappeared during the last military dictatorship. While rummaging through a collection of news clips, photographs, and other documents about the crime, the son reflects                                      on the connection between his father and the brother’s grim, symmetrical                                       fate. This leads to the history of a generation—the author’s parents’                                                 generation—marked by political violence, a painful but inevitable work-in-                                    progress for the children of those defeated 30 years ago.

“Ways of Going Home” by Alejandro Zambra

Four great summer reads from Latin American and Latino authors waysofgoinghome news NBC Latino News

Chilean Alejandro Zambra  is another of the authors included in Granta’s list. His third novel, Ways of Going Home, is a preciously crafted story of a young man who is writing a novel about growing up in Chile during the Pinochet dictatorship (1973-1990). At the same time he reflects on the process of writing that novel and tries to put the pieces of his emotional life together. As his contemporary fellow writer Pron, Zambra aims at telling not the story of the generation of victims and perpetrators of a dictatorship, but that of their children’s. Zambra started his career as a poet, and that shows both in the rich brevity of his books and in the mesmerizing quality                                     of his sentences, which seem to rediscover the creative power of language as                                    they unfold on the page.

“Before the Rain: A Memoir of Love and Revolution” by Luisita Lopez Torregrosa

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In Before the Rain: A Memoir of Love and Revolution , Puerto Rican journalist and author Luisita López Torregrosa reccounts her tortured love story with a married female colleague back in the 1980s. The story moves from New York to the Philippines, where the two women would briefly manage to live in a Paradise of their own in the midst of the fall of the Ferdinand Marcos regime. López Torregrosa describes the nuances of emotion and the hectic world of newsrooms and international politics with precise, elegant, and highly evocative prose.

“Hypothermia” by Alvaro Enrique

Four great summer reads from Latin American and Latino authors hypothermia rev news NBC Latino News

In 2007, Álvaro Enrigue was picked up among thousands of Latin American writers as one the Bogota 39, thirty-nine authors under the age of 39 who in the view of the jurors represented the best storytelling in the Americas. After reading  Hypothermia you understand why. This collection of short stories and nouvelles—also the first of Enrigue’s books to be translated into English – is a daring exploration of the universal themes of loss, love, and the identity crisis brought upon the individual by the impersonal forces of modernity. The jaded and oversexed narrator of many of those stories is a Mexican intellectual who trespasses several borders—                                        geographically and socially, but also in time: Latin American baroque is key                                   to his unique understanding of art, language and food. Other pieces are                                           astute retellings of factual stories, such of the last North American                                                   Native-American or the last speaker of a forgotten European dialect. More                                     of his production is expected to appear in English soon.

ClaudioRemeseira

Claudio Iván Remeseira is a New York-based award-winning journalist, writer, and critic. He is the translator of the Spanish-language on-line section of The Nation and editor of Hispanic New York, an online portal and blog on current events and culture.  He is the Editor of Hispanic New York: A Sourcebook (Columbia University Press, 2010), an anthology of essays on the city’s Latino, Latin American & Iberian cultural heritage, and winner of the Latino International Book Award in the category of Best Reference Book in English (2011).

 

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