Mostly Fiction BOOK REVIEWS


Latin American Literature

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The Death of Artemio Cruz by Carlos Fuentes - Originlly published in Spanish as La muerte de Artemio Cruz in 1962; it is an imaginative portrait of an unscrupulous individual. The story also serves as commentary on Mexican society, most notably on the abuse of power--a theme that runs throughout Fuentes' work. (February 2009) author page

The Bad GirlThe Bad Girl by Mario Vargas Llosa - Ricardo Somocurcio is in love with a bad girl. He loves her as a teenager known as “Lily” in Lima in 1950, when she arrives one summer out of the blue, claiming to be from Chile but vanishing the moment her claim is exposed. He loves her next in Paris, where she appears as the enchanting “Comrade Arlette,” an activist en route to Cuba, and becomes his lover, albeit an icy, remote one who denies knowing anything about the Lily of years gone by. Whomever the bad girl turns up as—whether it’s Madame Robert Arnoux, the wife of a high-ranking UNESCO official, or Kuriko, the mistress of a sinister Japanese businessman—and however poorly she treats him, Ricardo is doomed to worship her. (October 2008) author page

Oscar WaoThe Brief and Wonderous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Diaz - Things have never been easy for Oscar, a sweet but disastrously overweight, lovesick Dominican ghetto nerd. From his home in New Jersey, where he lives with his old-world mother and rebellious sister, Oscar dreams of becoming the Dominican J. R. R. Tolkien and, most of all, of finding love. But he may never get what he wants, thanks to the Fukœ-the curse that has haunted the Oscar's family for generations... (September 2008) author page

Brother, I'm Dying by Edwidge Danticat - Edwidge tells of making a new life in a new country while fearing for the safety of those still in Haiti as the political situation deteriorates.  (September 2008) author page

Ines of My Soul by Isabel Allende - Iin her usual sweeping style, Allende recounts the grand tale of Doña Inés Suárez (1507– 1580), the country's founding mother. (August 2007)

Turing's Delirium by Edmund Paz Soldan - A hybrid of cyberpunk and political thriller... set against the backdrop of a globalization crisis in near future Bolivia, with a corrupt government, a greedy multinational corporation, a secret code-breaking organization called the Black Chamber, and a group of young computer hackers who are staging a revolution, which, despite being electronic, is far from bloodless. (June 2007) read review

Malinche by Laura Esquivel - When Malinalli, a member of the tribe conquered by the Aztec warriors, first meets Cortés, she -- like many -- believes that he is the reincarnated forefather god of her tribe. Naturally, she assumes that her task is to help Cortés destroy the Aztec empire and free her people. The two fall passionately in love, but Malinalli gradually comes to realize that Cortés's thirst for conquest is all too human. He is willing to destroy anyone, even his own men, even their own love. (April 2007)

Last Evenings on Earth by Roberto Bolano - These 14 bleakly luminous stories are all told in the first person by men (usually young) who yearn for something just out of their grasp (fame, talent, love) and who harbor few hopes of attaining what they desire. (April 2007)

Saving the World by Julia Alvarez - There are two stories intertwined in the novel: one of Alma, a self-centered depressive author and the other of Isabel, a no-centered Spanish rectoress who, in 1803, with her 23 orphan boys, joins Dr. Balmis on a ship bound for the new world destined to save the world from smallpox. (April 2007)

The Eagle's Throne by Carlos Fuentes - An ailing Mexican president, two years into his mandated six-year term and manipulated by everyone around him, has banned oil exports to the U.S. and called for the withdrawal of all U.S. troops from occupied Colombia. (March 2007) About Us| Last Modified | Join Newsletter | Contact Us | ©1998-2009