Archive for the ‘Latin American/Caribbean’ Category

THE PRICE OF ESCAPE by David Unger

Samuel Berkow, at thirty-eight, stands at the crossroads: In 1938, life in Germany is fast becoming dangerous for Jews. At the urging of his concerned uncle, he agrees to leave Hamburg and emigrate to Guatemala, where his cousin is expected to help him settle. In THE PRICE OF ESCAPTE, David Unger explores his hero’s self-conscious and stumbling efforts to put his German existence out of his mind as he prepares for a new one that carries promise but is also full of uncertainty.

September 29, 2011 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags: , , ,  · Posted in: Latin American/Caribbean, South America, World Lit

WE THE ANIMALS by Justin Torres

WE THE ANIMALS in this wonderful debut novel refers to three brothers, close in age, growing up in upstate New York. They are the Three Musketeers bound strongly together not just because of geographical isolation but because of cultural separateness too. The brothers are born to a white mother and a Puerto Rican father—they are half-breeds confused about their identity and constrained by desperate and mind-numbing poverty.

September 22, 2011 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags: , , , , ,  · Posted in: Class - Race - Gender, Coming-of-Age, Contemporary, Family Matters, Latin American/Caribbean, NE & New York

THE LIZARD CAGE by Karen Connelly

Burmese politics, including their political prison system, is harrowing and vicious. Not a lot has changed in the past fifty years or so, other than changing the name to Myanmar. Until very recently, they were under military rule and they are still one of the least developed nations in the world. Karen Connelly has not only written a striking and engaging tour de force about this area, but she has brought a country’s atrocities into focus that needs attention badly, and help from developed nations. However, she hasn’t forgotten the novelist’s rule of thumb to entertain. It doesn’t read like a diatribe or soapbox, it reads like an exquisite, dramatic story of friendship, endurance, compassion, love, and faith in the human condition.

July 23, 2011 · Judi Clark · One Comment
Tags: , ,  · Posted in: 2011 Favorites, Latin American/Caribbean, Orange Prize, Reading Guide, World Lit, y Award Winning Author

KAMCHATKA by Marcelo Figueras

He calls himself “Harry” now, after his new hero, the famous escape artist, Harry Houdini, hoping that one day he, too, will be a successful escape artist. Discovering a book about Houdini, hidden in the room that will now serve as his bedroom, the ten-year-old boy finds a new source of inspiration. Only the day before, and without warning, his family had to leave their comfortable house in Buenos Aires with nothing but the bare essentials. An abandoned country house has to serve as their temporary shelter. Harry already misses school, his friends and his board game Risk. With his routines disrupted, his sense of dislocation is further heightened when papá tells him and his little brother that they all have to take on new names and forget their former ones: it is too dangerous. Set in 1976, against the backdrop of what has become known as Argentina’s “Dirty War,” that left thousands of people as desaparecidos – disappeared without a trace -, Marcelo Figueras takes us on a moving and intricate journey, through hope, devotion and betrayal, through human frailty and strength, through loss and perseverance.

July 11, 2011 · Judi Clark · Comments Closed
Tags: , , ,  · Posted in: Facing History, Latin American/Caribbean, South America, Translated, World Lit

THE MADONNAS OF ECHO PARK by Brando Skyhorse

The silent, overlooked residents of Los Angeles’ Echo Park neighborhood play the starring role in author Brando Skyhorse’s debut, THE MADONNAS OF ECHO PARK. The novel, really more of a collection of short stories, each narrated by a different character, presents to the reader different facets of both the Mexican and Mexican-American experience in multicultural Los Angeles. Skyhorse, winner of the 2011 PEN/Hemingway Award for this novel, was born and raised in Echo Park.

June 23, 2011 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags: ,  · Posted in: 2011 Favorites, California, Class - Race - Gender, Debut Novel, Latin American/Caribbean, PEN/Hemingway Winner, Reading Guide, Short Stories

THE SECRET HISTORY OF COSTAGUANA by Juan Gabriel Vasquez

When Joseph Conrad was working on NOSTROMO in the early 1900s, and setting it in the fictional Latin American country of Costaguana, he found that his first-hand knowledge of the region, based on a couple of brief shore visits a quarter-century earlier, was insufficient. He therefore consulted friends who had spent greater time in northern South America and constructed a setting that is entirely believable, not only in its composite geography but also in its way of life and political turmoil. Now Colombian author Juan Gabriel Vásquez imagines that Conrad might have had one further contact, José Altamirano, born in Colombia but recently arrived in London as an exile from Panama, following the province’s secession from Colombia in the revolution of 1903. Writing now in 1924, the year of Conrad’s death, Altamirano believes that the novelist has stolen his life story and that of his country to make a fiction of his own, utterly obliterating him in the process.

June 18, 2011 · Judi Clark · No Comments
Tags: , , , , , ,  · Posted in: Facing History, Latin American/Caribbean, South America, World Lit, y Award Winning Author