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6 books by Latin American women you should read

Since forever, the literary works of women have been ignored. Their work has been subjugated and classified almost as a subgenre; “women’s literature”. In Latinamerica, this can be seen quite clearly. Literature by women is not considered to be part of the canon nor have they received the attention and public praise that other Latin American male writers have such as Octavio Paz, Juan Rulfo, Carlos Fuentes, Gabriel García Marquez and so on. What is true is that the literature of Latin American woman has shaped the way for many others. The importance and influence that they continue to have is undeniable and it is not limited to geographic frontiers. 

The following list includes some of the authors I believe are definitely worth knowing.

(The list includes Amazon Associates links. If you are interested in buying any of the books, please use the links that are in each book name or cover. By using them I receive a tiny percentage and I can buy myself  ⅓ of a cup of coffee in order to continue writing. Thank you. )

Recollections of Things to Come – Elena Garro

Elena Garro was a Mexican playwright and novelist. Her writing showed new ways to manage time in stories and presented a hybrid genre that years later would be classified as a predecessor of  “magical realism”. She is known for exploring in her work the cosmology and way of life of Mexico’s indigenous people. Elena Garro’s novels and stories resemble long dreams, sometimes absurd and always filled with symbols. 

The Shrouded Woman – María Luisa Bombal

María Luisa Bombal was a Chilean writer mainly known for her novel La Amortajada published in 1938. La Amortajada tells the story of a woman named Ana María, who narrates her death through an interior monologue. This novel, due to its dreamlike environment, its ambiguous time frame and an internal monologue that fluctuates between life and death, is considered to be an antecedent to Juan Rulfo’s novel, Pedro Páramo, which was published almost 18 years later. 

The Houseguest: And Other Stories – Amparo Dávila

Amparo Dávila was born in the Mexican state of Zacatecas in 1928. Her work is inspired mainly by authors such as Edgar Allan Poe and she has also been compared to the American author, Shirley Jackson. Her stories never completely fall into a fantasy genre but they are often immersed in a state of mystery and uncertainness. You should definitely read her most known short story: “The Houseguest.”

Fever Dream – Samantha Schweblin

Now adding something more recent to the list, Samantha Schweblin. She is an Argentinian writer that has been widely read and known from a few years back. Her novels and short stories have been translated into multiple languages and have received various international awards. Fever Dream is a short novel that explores the bond between a mother and her daughter through a surreal and mysterious environment. 

Now adding something more recent to the list, Samantha Schweblin. She is an Argentinian writer that has been widely read and known from a few years back. Her novels and short stories have been translated into multiple languages and have received various international awards. Fever Dream is a short novel that explores the bond between a mother and her daughter through a surreal and mysterious environment. 

No One Will See Me Cry – Cristina Rivera Garza

Cristina Rivera Garza is a Mexican writer and academic whose novels and research have been of great importance to Hispanic Literature. No One Will See Me Cry, published in 1999, takes place in the La Castañeda General Asylum in Mexico City. The story set in 1920, tells the story of Joaquin Buitrago and Matilda Burgos, a photographer and a patient at the asylum, through the use of multiple narrative tools such as police reports. 

Hurricane Season – Fernanda Melchor

Finally, one of the most honest and shocking vooices of the recent years is Mexican author, Fernanda Melchor. Through her novels such as Hurricane Season and This Is Not Miami, she paints a picture of the violence in México over the last decades. A country that has been submerged in a total state of emergency but that has never explicitely said so. Hurricane Season talks about the violence that arises from poverty and the cruelness that hides within us all. It is not a light read but Fernanda’s story-telling abilities makes it worth every second.

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