What Happened Before the Big Boom?

Argumentative Old Git asks the question and El Pais provides the answer (hat-tip to By The Fireside): What happened before the Big Boom? Where does Latin American fiction come from? – Well, it seems it’s Latin American fiction all the way down.

There’s not many surprises though, I suppose, on the El Pais list (apart, naturally, from the names I don’t recognise, whom I’m assuming are all poets). Perhaps the Spanish are as parochial as we are, since I don’t see any Portuguese fiction on the list (but I can’t see where it says it’s being excluded either). I notice, of the six Spanish-language novels of that time-period on my [largely-failed] Latin-American readalong, five of them make the list (and as for the other, Yawar Fiesta, the author is represented by a different novel). In fact, I’ve read or got a surprisingly large number of them (I finally got hold of a collection of Horacio Quiroga stories; and I’ve just ordered some Eduardo Mallea).

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4 thoughts on “What Happened Before the Big Boom?

  1. That’s true, there aren’t many “new faces” on that list. I suppose it’s meant for people who haven’t looked beyond the Boom literature yet?
    Apart from the missing Brazilian lit, I also noticed there’s only one woman on it. Gabriela Mistral makes the list twice, but it seems like Latin American women writers didn’t exist before Isable Allende came along. Hm.

  2. Looking through that list merely brings home to me just how badly read I am. Perhaps I should acquaint myself with the Boom before trying to look beyond it!

  3. Yes, I think the only obvious missing name is Mariano Azuela. – I bought a book recently by Graciliano Ramos – an earlier Latin Am woman writers – but unfortunately Portuguese. I probably can’t think of all that many either.

    I wouldn’t worry, AOG, you’re unlikely ever to find yourself in a minority by lacking of knowledge of Latin Am literature. Why don’t you be revolutionary though, and start at the beginning. It might make more sense.

  4. I always start at the beginning. A very good place to start, as Julie Andrews reminds us.

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