Popular South American Cultural Books

Find cultural books written by authors from South America for the next part of the Read Around The World Challenge. (10)


Affections : A Novel by Rodrigo Hasbún EN

Rating: 5 (1 vote)
The award-winning and haunting novel from Rodrigo Hasbún, the literary star Jonathan Safran Foer calls, “a great writer,” about an unusual family’s breakdown—set in South America during the time of Che Guevara and inspired by the life of Third Reich cinematographer Hans Ertl. Inspired by real events, Affections is the story of the eccentric, fascinating Ertl clan, headed by the egocentric and extraordinary Hans, once the cameraman for the Nazi propagandist Leni Riefenstahl. Shortly after the end of World War II, Hans and his family flee to Bolivia to start over. There, the ever-restless Hans d... continue


Facundo : Civilization and Barbarism by Domingo Faustino Sarmiento EN

Rating: 2 (1 vote)
An educator and writer, Sarmiento was President of Argentina from 1868 to 1874. His Facundo is a study of the Argentine character, a prescription for the modernization of Latin America, and a protest against the tyranny of the government of Juan Manuel de Rosas (1835-1852). The book brings nineteenth-century Latin American history to life even as it raises questions still being debated today--questions regarding the "civilized" city versus the "barbaric" countryside, the treatment of indigenous and African populations, and the classically liberal plan of modernization.


Gabriela, Clove and Cinnamon by Jorge Amado EN

Rating: 4 (4 votes)
Ilhéus in 1925 is a booming town with a record cacao crop and aspirations for progress, but the traditional ways prevail. When Colonel Mendonça discovers his wife in bed with a lover, he shoots and kills them both. Political contests, too, can be settled by gunshot... No one imagines that a bedraggled migrant worker who turns up in town–least of all Gabriela herself–will be the agent of change. Nacib Saad has just lost the cook at his popular café and in desperation hires Gabriela. To his surprise she turns out to be a great beauty as well as a wonderful cook and an enchanting boon to his busi... continue


Gran sertón : veredas by João Guimarães Rosa ES

Rating: 5 (1 vote)
Grande Sertão: Veredas es la compleja historia de Riobaldo, un ex yagunço (mercenario o bandido) del interior pobre y estepa del río São Francisco, conocido como Sertão, de los estados de Minas Gerais y Bahía en los albores del siglo XX. Ya viejo y campesino, Riobaldo cuenta su larga historia a un oyente anónimo y silencioso de la ciudad. El libro está escrito en una sección larga, sin secciones ni saltos de capítulo.


One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez EN

Rating: 4 (28 votes)
One Hundred Years of Solitude tells the story of the rise and fall, birth and death of the mythical town of Macondo through the history of the Buendía family. Inventive, amusing, magnetic, sad, and alive with unforgettable men and women -- brimming with truth, compassion, and a lyrical magic that strikes the soul -- this novel is a masterpiece in the art of fiction.

Open Veins of Latin America

Open Veins of Latin America : Five Centuries of the Pillage of a Continent by Eduardo Galeano EN

Rating: 4 (4 votes)
Since its U.S. debut a quarter-century ago, this brilliant text has set a new standard for historical scholarship of Latin America. It is also an outstanding political economy, a social and cultural narrative of the highest quality, and perhaps the finest description of primitive capital accumulation since Marx. Rather than chronology, geography, or political successions, Eduardo Galeano has organized the various facets of Latin American history according to the patterns of five centuries of exploitation. Thus he is concerned with gold and silver, cacao and cotton, rubber and coffee, fruit, hi... continue


Sea of Death by Jorge Amado EN

Rating: 4 (1 vote)
Sea of Death tells stories of the dockside of Salvador, Bahia. The lives of the sailors of sloops in the bay from which Bahia gets its name are centred on the mythology surrounding the goddess Iemanjá, the "Queen of the Ocean" or the "Mother of Waters", are central to this novel, which portrays their daily struggle for survival. The novel features a variety of characters whose lives unfold around the story of two lovers, Guma and Lívia. They include the black Rufino and his mulatto lover Esmeralda; Francisco, Guma’s uncle, who mends nets; and the foul-mo... continue


The Curse of Nemur : In Search of the Art, Myth, and Ritual of the Ishir by Ticio Escobar EN

Rating: 3 (2 votes)
The Tomáraho, a subgroup of the Ishir (Chamacoco) of Paraguay, are one of the few remaining indigenous populations who have managed to keep both their language and spiritual beliefs intact. They have lived for many years in a remote region of the Gran Chaco, having limited contact with European or Latin American cultures. The survival of the Tomáraho has been tenuous at best; at the time of this writing there were only eighty-seven surviving members. Ticio Escobar, who lived extensively among the Tomáraho, draws on his acquired knowledge of Ishir beliefs to confront them with his own Western i... continue


The Dark Side of Skin by Jeferson Tenorio EN

0 Ratings
Life under Brazil's brutal "cordial racism" comes painfully alive in this novel of fathers and sons. How do you become the protagonist of your own life? For Pedro, it means searching for himself in the objects his father left behind: the layers that make up his life, and that of his parents, and the circumstances, geographies, and wounds that shaped them all. It's an archaeology of affections, but also of life in southern Brazil, where being black on the streets of Porto Alegre manifests violences large and small. Where being a young woman, raised by a single mother, may find you seeking secur... continue


The Enlightenment of Katzuo Nakamatsu by Augusto Higa Oshiro EN

Rating: 4 (1 vote)
Country: South America / Peru flag Peru
Reminiscent of Kurasawa’s film Ikiru, Enlightenment explores the interior mindscape of a Japanese-Peruvian man and his luminous unraveling Katzuo Nakamatsu is having a recurring dream. He’s strolling down the glinting avenues of Lima, branches crowning overhead, when he hears someone snickering from the shadows. He wanders away in concentric circles, as if along a spider web, and wakes in a sweaty torment. Nakamatsu sleepwalks his way toward sublime disintegration. Katzuo is at sea after being forced out of his job as a literature professor without warning. He retreats into flânerie, musing wi... continue