Reading Guides: Hispanic / Latin-American Literature
Acevedo, Chantel / The Distant Marvels --- PS3601.C47 D57 2015
Cuba, 1963. Hurricane Flora, one of the deadliest hurricanes in recorded history, is bearing down on the island. Seven women have been forcibly evacuated from their homes and herded into the former governor's mansion, where they are watched over by another woman, a young soldier of Castro's new Cuba named Ofelia. Outside the storm is raging and the floodwaters are rising. In a single room on the top floor of the governor's mansion, Maria Sirena begins to tell the incredible story of her childhood during Cuba's Third War of Independence; of her father Augustin, a ferocious rebel; of her mother, Lulu, an astonishing woman who fought, loved, dreamed, and suffered as fiercely as her husband. Stories, however, have a way of taking on a life of their own, and transported by her story's momentum, Maria Sirena will reveal more about herself than she or anyone ever expected.
Aira, Cesar / Dinner --- PQ7798.1.I7 C4613 2015
One Saturday night a bankrupt bachelor in his sixties and his mother dine with a wealthy friend. They discuss their endlessly connected neighbors. They talk about a mysterious pit that opened up one day, and the old bricklayer who sometimes walked to the cemetery to cheer himself up. Anxious to show off his valuable antiques, the host shows his guests old windup toys and takes them to admire an enormous doll. Back at home, the bachelor decides to watch some late night TV before retiring. The news quickly takes a turn for the worse as, horrified, the newscaster finds herself reporting about the dead rising from their graves, leaving the cemetery, and sucking the blood out of the living; all somehow, disturbingly reminiscent of the dinner party.
Alarcón, Daniel / At Night We Walk in Circles --- PS3601.L333 A93 2013
Nelson's life is not turning out the way he hoped. His girlfriend is sleeping with another man, his brother has left their South American country and moved to the United States, leaving Nelson to care for their widowed mother, and his acting career can't seem to get off the ground. That is, until he lands a starring role in a touring revival of The Idiot President, a legendary play by Nelson's hero, Henry Nunez, leader of the storied guerrilla theater troupe Diciembre. And that's when the real trouble begins. The tour takes Nelson out of the shelter of the city and across a landscape he's never seen, which still bears the scars of the civil war. With each performance, Nelson grows closer to his fellow actors, becoming hopelessly entangled in their complicated lives, until, during one memorable performance, a long-buried betrayal surfaces to force the troupe into chaos. Nelson's fate is slowly revealed through the investigation of the narrator, a young man obsessed with Nelson's story—and perhaps closer to it than he lets on.
Allende, Isabel / The Japanese Lover --- PQ8098.1.L54 A67513 2015
In 1939, as Poland falls under the shadow of the Nazis, young Alma Belasco's parents send her away to live in safety with an aunt and uncle in their opulent mansion in San Francisco. There, as the rest of the world goes to war, she encounters Ichimei Fukuda, the quiet and gentle son of the family's Japanese gardener. Unnoticed by those around them, a tender love affair begins to blossom. Following the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, the two are cruelly pulled apart as Ichimei and his family—like thousands of other Japanese Americans—are declared enemies and forcibly relocated to internment camps run by the United States government. Throughout their lifetimes, Alma and Ichimei reunite again and again, but theirs is a love that they are forever forced to hide from the world. Decades later, Alma is nearing the end of her long and eventful life. Irina Bazili, a care worker struggling to come to terms with her own troubled past, meets the elderly woman and her grandson, Seth, at San Francisco's charmingly eccentric Lark House nursing home. As Irina and Seth forge a friendship, they become intrigued by a series of mysterious gifts and letters sent to Alma, eventually learning about Ichimei and this extraordinary secret passion that has endured for nearly seventy years.
Bolaño, Roberto / 2666 --- PQ8098.12.O38 A12213 2009
An American sportswriter, an elusive German novelist, and a teenage student interact in an urban community on the U.S.-Mexico border where hundreds of young factory workers have disappeared.
Cisneros, Sandra / A House of My Own: Stories from My Life --- PS3553.I78 Z46 2015
A book of essays spanning the author's career a[nd] reflecting upon the various homes she's lived in around the world.
Correa, Armando Lucas / The German Girl --- PQ7392.C667 N5613 2016
1939, Berlin. Hannah Rosenthal's family is no longer welcome in the places that once felt like home. Hannah and her best friend, Leo Martin, make a pact: whatever the future has in store for them, they'll meet it together. Hope appears in the form of the SS St. Louis, offering Jews safe passage out of Germany, bound for Havana. Seven decades later in New York City, Anna Rosen receives a strange package from an unknown relative in Cuba, her great-aunt Hannah. The subsequent quest will help Anna understand her place and her purpose in the world.
De Robertis, Carolina / The Gods of Tango --- PS3604.E129 G63 2015
February 1913. Seventeen-year-old Leda, clutching a suitcase and her father's cherished violin, leaves her small Italian village for a new home (and husband) halfway across the world in Argentina. Upon her arrival in Buenos Aires, Leda is shocked to find that her bridegroom has been killed. Unable to fathom the idea of returning home, she remains in this unfamiliar city, living in a commune, without friends or family, on the brink of destitution. She finally acts on a passion she has kept secret for years: mastering the violin.
Faverón Patriau, Gustavo / The Antiquarian --- PQ8498.16.A94 A7313 2014
Three years have passed since Gustavo, a renowned psycholinguist, last spoke to his closest friend, Daniel, who has been interned in a psychiatric ward for murdering his fiance?e. When Daniel unexpectedly calls to confess the truth behind the crime, Gustavo's long buried fraternal loyalty resurfaces and draws him into the center of a quixotic, unconventional investigation through an underground network of antiquarian dealers.
Gage, Eleni N. / The Ladies of Managua --- PS3607.A3573 L33 2015
When Maria Vazquez returns to Nicaragua for her beloved grandfather's funeral, she brings with her a mysterious package from her grandmother's past—and a secret of her own. And she also carries the burden of her tense relationship with her mother Ninexin, once a storied revolutionary, now a tireless government employee. Between Maria and Ninexin lies a chasm created by the death of Maria's father, who was killed during the revolution when Maria was an infant, leaving her to be raised by her grandmother Isabela as Ninexin worked to build the new Nicaragua.
Gamboa, Santiago / Night Prayers --- PQ8180.17.A395 P5413 2016
A Colombian philosophy student is arrested in Bangkok, accused of drug trafficking. He risks the death penalty and longs for his distant sister Juana. During their childhood, Juana promised to do everything to protect him from the drug- and violence-infested streets of Bogota. But when things spun out of control she was forced to flee, leaving her brother behind. Their story reaches the ears of the Colombian consul general in New Delhi, who takes it upon himself to reunite the two siblings--a feat that may be beyond his power.
García, Cristina / King of Cuba --- PS3557.A66 K56 2013
A Fidel Castro-like octogenarian Cuban exile obsessively seeks revenge against the dictator.
Goldman, Francisco / The Interior Circuit: A Mexico City Chronicle --- F1386 .G65 2014
Goldman's story of his emergence from grief five years after his wife's death, symbolized by his attempt to overcome his fear of driving in the city. Embracing the DF (Mexico City) as his home, Goldman explores and celebrates the city, which stands defiantly apart from so many of the social ills and violence wracking Mexico ... [and] sets out to try to understand the menacing challenges the city now faces ... [resulting in] an account of one of the world's most remarkable and often misunderstood cities.
Henríquez, Cristina / The Book of Unknown Americans --- PS3608.E565 B66 2014
Arturo and Alma Rivera have lived their whole lives in Mexico. One day, their beautiful fifteen-year-old daughter, Maribel, sustains a terrible injury, one that casts doubt on whether she'll ever be the same. And so, leaving all they have behind, the Riveras come to America with a single dream: that in this country of great opportunity and resources, Maribel can get better. When Mayor Toro, whose family is from Panama, sees Maribel in a Dollar Tree store, it is love at first sight. It's also the beginning of a friendship between the Rivera and Toro families, whose web of guilt and love and responsibility is at this novel's core.
Hernández, Daisy / A Cup of Water under My Bed: A Memoir --- CT275.H5862453 A3 2014
It's 1980. Ronald Reagan has been elected president, John Lennon has been shot, and a little girl in New Jersey has been hauled off to English classes. Her teachers and parents and tias are expecting her to become white—like the Italians. This is the opening to A cup of water under my bed, the memoir of one Colombian-Cuban daughter's rebellions and negotiations with the women who raised her and the world that wanted to fit her into a cubbyhole. From language acquisition to coming out as bisexual to arriving as a reporting intern at the New York Times as the paper is rocked by its biggest plagiarism scandal, Daisy Hernández chronicles what the women in her community taught her about race, sex, money, and love. This is a memoir about the private nexus of sexuality, immigration, race and class issues, but it is ultimately a daughter's cuento of how to take the lessons from home and shape them into a new, queer life
Hijuelos, Oscar / Twain & Stanley Enter Paradise --- PS3558.I376 T85 2015
Chronicles the sojourn of journalist-explorer Henry Stanley; his wife, the painter Dorothy Tennant; and Mark Twain, Stanley's longtime friend, as they head for Cuba in search of Stanley's father.
Luiselli, Valeria / The Story of My Teeth --- PQ7298.422.U37 H5713 2015
Highway is a late-in-life world traveler, yarn spinner, collector, and legendary auctioneer. His most precious possessions are the teeth of the "notorious infamous" like Plato, Petrarch, and Virginia Woolf.
Moreno Garcia, Silvia / Signal to Noise --- PR9199.4.M656174 S54 2015
Mexico City, 1988: Long before iTunes or MP3s, you said "I love you" with a mixtape. Meche, awkward and fifteen, has two equally unhip friends, Sebastian and Daniela, and a whole lot of vinyl records to keep her company. When she discovers how to cast spells using music, the future looks brighter for the trio. The three friends will piece together their broken families, change their status as non-entities, and maybe even find love. Mexico City, 2009: Two decades after abandoning the metropolis, Meche returns for her estranged father's funeral. It's hard enough to cope with her family, but then she runs into Sebastian, reviving memories from her childhood she thought she buried a long time ago. What really happened back then? What precipitated the bitter falling out with her father? Is there any magic left?
Neuman, Andrés / Talking to Ourselves --- PQ6664.E478 H3213 2014
One trip. Two love stories. Three voices. Lito is ten years old and is almost sure he can change the weather when he concentrates very hard. His father, Mario, anxious to create a memory that will last for his son's lifetime, takes him on a road trip in a truck called Pedro. But Lito doesn't know that this might be their last trip: Mario is seriously ill. Together, father and son embark on travels that take them through strange geographies, ones that seem to unite the borders of Spanish-speaking world. In the meantime, Lito's mother Elena looks for support in books, undertaking an adventure of her own that will challenge her moral limits.
Pron, Patricio / My Father's Ghost Is Climbing in the Rain --- PQ7798.26.R58 E8713 2013
A young writer returns to his native Argentina to uncover a mystery surrounding his dying father's obsession with the disappearance of a local man, which he ties to the country's dark political past and his family's underground resistance activities.
Rey Rosa, Rodrigo / Severina --- PQ7499.2.R38 S4813 2014
The monotonous life of a male bookseller is shaken by a consummate female book thief named Severina. As though in an obsessive dream with blurred lines between the rational and irrational, the bookseller delves deeper and deeper into the mysterious circumstances that surround this woman and her relationship with her mentor whom she introduces as her grandfather. The seller hopes that somehow a list of the books she steals will help him to understand the enigma of her life.
Ryan, Pam Munoz / Echo: A Novel --- PZ7.R9553 Ec 2015 (Youth Collection, 2nd floor)
Lost in the Black Forest, Otto meets three mysterious sisters and finds himself entwined in a prophecy, a promise, and a harmonica--and decades later three children, Friedrich in Germany, Mike in Pennsylvania, and Ivy in California find themselves caught up in the same thread of destiny in the darkest days of the twentieth century, struggling to keep their families intact, and tied together by the music of the same harmonica.
Sacheri, Eduardo / Papers in the Wind --- PQ7798.29.A314 P3613 2014
When Alejandro "Mono" dies of cancer, his brother and two closest friends, a tight-knit group since childhood, are left to figure out how to take care of his young daughter, Guadalupe. They want to give her all the love they felt for Mono and secure her future, but there isn't a single peso left in the bank. Mono invested all of his money in a promising soccer player whose promise hasn't panned out, and the three hundred thousand dollars Mono spent on his transfer is soon to be lost for good....
Ramírez, Sergio / Divine Punishment --- PQ7519.2.R25 C3713 2015
Sergio Ramriez transforms the most celebrated criminal trial in Nicaraguan history—the murders in 1933 of three high society women by a Casanova named Castaneda—into an examination of Nicaraguan society on the brink of the first Somosa dictatorship, where passion, money, sex, gossip, political intrigue and judicial corruption all merge.
Rodríguez Milanés, Cecilia / Oye What I'm Gonna Tell You: Stories --- PS3618.O359 O94 2015
When is your culture bad for you? That is the question that weaves its way through this collection chronicling the lives of Cuban Americans from WWII-era Havana to contemporary times in "el norte." Whether they inhabit blue collar neighborhoods in the northeast, the increasingly Latino-populated south, or Florida, the characters that populate this book—many of whom are the children and grandchildren of exiles, who have been raised in traditional Cuban homes but whose only homeland has been the United States—must decide what to take and what to leave from their upbringing.
Torres-Padilla, Jose L. / The Accidental Native --- PS3620.O62 A64 2013
After Rennie buries his parents in their native Puerto Rico, he discovers that his birthmother is someone else, and that woman convinces him to move to Puerto Rico, a place he knows only through his parents’ recollections.
Urrea, Luis Alberto / The Water Museum: Stories --- PS3571.R74 A6 2015
A short story collection that examines the borders between nations and between people, including the Edgar-winning Amapola and his now classic Bid farewell to her many horses.
Vargas Llosa, Mario / The Discreet Hero --- PQ8498.32.A65 H4713 2015
The Discreet Hero follows two fascinating characters whose lives are destined to intersect: neat, endearing Felícito Yanaqué, a small businessman in Piura, Peru, who finds himself the victim of blackmail; and Ismael Carrera, a successful owner of an insurance company in Lima, who cooks up a plan to avenge himself against the two lazy sons who want him dead.
Vásquez, Juan Gabriel / Reputations --- PQ8180.32.A797 R4713 2016
An influential political cartoonist is paid an unexpected visit by a young woman who upends his sense of personal history and forces him to reevaluate his life, work, and position in the world.
Zambra, Alejandro / Ways of Going Home --- PQ8098.36.A43 F6713 2013
The writer son of a quiet sympathizer with the Pinochet regime reflects on the progress of his novel, in which an unnamed boy from a Chilean suburb witnesses an earthquake and meets an older girl who asks him to spy on her uncle.