Latinx representation in literature is paramount. It is proof that we exist, that we belong in the literary world, and that our stories matter. Several Latinx writers have been trailblazers, penning novels that have stood the test of time, and are truly classics. For Latinx Heritage Month, we want to shine the spotlight on five classics in Latinx literature, penned by these amazing authors who have been celebrated, awarded, and honored for decades.
One Hundred Years of Solitude, Gabriel Garcia Marquez
The best-known work of Colombian author Gabriel Garcia Marquez is One Hundred Years of Solitude. The 1967 novel follows seven generations of the Buendía family, in the fictional town of Macondo, Colombia. It is the most popular example of Garcia Marquez’s use of magical realism in his books. It made Garcia Marquez one of four novelists in the “literary Latin American Boom of the 1960s and 70s.” Netflix is currently adapting One Hundred Years of Solitude into a series in Spanish.
Our Lady of the Night: A Novel, Mayra Santos Febres
Afro-Puerto Rican Mayra Santos Febres is the poet, book critic, literature professor, writer, and author behind Our Lady of the Night: A Novel. This Latinx literature classic shares the story of real-life Afro-Puerto Rican Isabel “La Negra” Luberza, a woman who escapes poverty by becoming a powerful and respected brothel owner. Set in World War II, Our Lady of the Night brings to light a historic Afro-Latina narrative that may have otherwise been obscured in both Latinx literature and history.
Pedro Páramo, Juan Rulfo
Published in 1955, Pedro Páramo is one of Mexican writer, photographer, and screenwriter Juan Rulfo’s most popular books. In the magical realism novel, Juan Preciado encounters a “literal ghost town” when he travels to Comala, his mother’s hometown, after her death. In 1967, Pedro Páramo was adapted into a film, starring John Gavin, Ignacio López Tarso, Julissa, Pilar Pellicer, and more.
Fictions, Jorge Luis Borges
In 1944, Argentinian short-story writer, essayist, and poet Jose Luis Borges released his book Fictions. The short story collection, which includes magical realism tales, was “produced between 1941 and 1956.” “The Lottery in Babylon” (1941), “Funes the Memorious” (1942), and “Theme of the Traitor and the Hero” (1944) are just a few of the many stories you’ll read.
The House of the Spirits, Isabel Allende
Isabel Allende is a literary legend. Her debut novel The House of the Spirits was published in 1982, and in 1993 became a Hollywood film, starring Meryl Streep, Antonio Banderas, Glenn Close, Jeremy Irons, Maria Conchita Alonso, Vanessa Redgrave, and more (some major actors, but of course we would have loved an all-Latinx cast!). This Latinx literature classic tells the story of four generations of the Trueba family (in Chile inspired by Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s One Hundred Years of Solitude).