1. One Hundred Years of Solitude
Colombian writer Gabrial Garcia Marquez changed the literary world with his unique style- a style that was called “magic realism”by the awestruck critics of the time. In his fictional village called Macondo, the real and the unreal blend seamlessly like in folk tales of yore, with a prose that is poetic and visual. The book sold more than 30 million copies on its release and defined Latin American literature for many readers. The novel chronicles several generations of the Buendía family from the time they founded the fictional South American village of Macondo and is filled with magical stories, tragic events, humorous anecdotes and a book full of vaguely remembered memories. Many people who learn Spanish often cite this book as the reason for wanting to learn the language.
2. Don Quixote
Written in the early part of the 17th century, Cervantes’ novel is often considered the very first novel to be written. Many critics also consider it as one of the best literary works ever written. The plot revolves around the adventures of a noble man from the town of La Manch who reads so many historical novels that he decides to become a knight and serve his nation, under the name Don Quixote de la Mancha. He recruits a simple farmer, Sancho Panza as his squire, who often is an amused spectator to Don Quixote’s follies. The image of Don Quixote charging at windmills thinking that they are giants, is now a cultural symbol recognized across the world.
3.Like Chocolate for Water
Written by Laura Esquivel a famous screenwriter and novelist from Mexico, the novel follows the story of a young girl named Tita. Tita longs for her lover, Pedro, but can never have him because of her mother’s upholding of the family tradition- the youngest daughter cannot marry, but instead must take care of her mother until she dies. Tita is only able to express herself when she cooks. However food has magical properties of its own in the novel, as the emotions that TIta carries while making the dishes seem to be able to influence those who eat the food. A beautiful insight into traditional Mexican life, Like Chocolate for Water is also full of magical recipes.
A collection of short stories from Argentinian writer Jorge Luis Borges. A masterpiece in fantastical fiction these short stories filled with labyrinths and obscure, if not imaginary, fictional references, Ficciones is definitely not an easy read. But trust us, it is a most rewarding one. For the simple reason that there are not too many books that redefine the very idea of fiction like this collection of short stories do. While many Latino American novels have social and political commentary the fictions of Borges are soaring intellectual experiments that are truly universal and inspiring.
5. City of Beasts
An effort at young fiction by award-winning Chilean novelist Isabel Allende, the story takes us to the heart of the Amazonian forests to discover a legendary beast. With themes such as ecological science, mythology, and human and animal rights all weaved into a story for children, Allende’s novel is an interesting and an easy read that is also a great thriller.