Book Recommendations

Novels from Latin America


In this series, we've avoided Fuentes, Garcia Márquez, Vargas Llosa, and the other usual suspects that your group has probably already read and instead selected books by four great Latin American writers that deserve to be much better known. Scroll down to see our list!




The Adventures and Misadventures of Maqroll  

by Alvaro Mutis; translated by Edith Grossman


Winner of the 2002 Neustadt Prize for World Literature, these seven novellas follow Maqroll's adventures and love affairs from Amazon jungles to Andean peaks. In a world threatened by violence and given over to dirty deals, Maqroll strives at all costs to preserve his honor and maintain his independence. Gabriel Garcia Marquez calls Mutis "One of the greatest writers of our time."






Pedro Paramo

by Juan Rulfo; translated by Margaret Sayers Peden; foreword by Susan Sontag


As Susan Sontag sets out in her foreword, "Pedro Paramo is a classic in the truest sense....It is a book that has profoundly influenced the making of literature and continues to resonate in other books."











The Kingdom of This World: A Novel

by Alejo Carpentier; translated by Harriet de Onis; introduction by Edwidge Danticat


The Kingdom of This World is an account of the slave uprising and first revolution of the early nineteenth century in Haiti. Carpentier used magical realism, long before it became fashionable, to depict the contradictions between political reality and religious or mythical beliefs.









Family Ties

by Clarice Lispector; translated by Giovanni Pontiero


Though not well known in the United States, Clarice Lispector was lauded throughout the Portuguese-speaking world for her innovative novels and short stories and was also a well-known journalist and translator. A legendary beauty in Brazil, the American translator Gregory Rabassa recalled being "flabbergasted to meet that rare person who looked like Marlene Dietrich and wrote like Virginia Woolf,"  She is now considered one of the two most outstanding Brazilian prose writers of the twentieth century. 



Next List: Harlem Voices