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Suggested Reading for Chile - Activity Info. - Chile

Exile and social and political turmoil are common themes in Chilean literature. Pinochet's dictatorship often lurks in literary plots and character backgrounds, and magic realism is a widely practiced genre in Chilean literature.


Below is a list of Chilean writers and their most notable work:

Culled from her five books, Selected Poems of Gabriela Mistral, University of New Mexico Press, 2003, is a generous anthology of and great introduction to the beloved poet's free-verse. Sharp translations expose powerful poems whose themes range from the Chilean landscape to grief and loss.

Pablo Neruda's The Essential Neruda: Selected Poems, City Lights Publishers, 2004, is a high-quality introduction to the acclaimed poet, with contributing translations from renowned poets and scholars. This definitive collection includes the Nobel Prize-winning poet's most essential works: love poems, historical epics, and political manifestos.

Isabela Allende's best-selling debut novel, The House of the Spirits, Knopf, 1985, made her a literary star. Described in reviews as “extraordinary, astonishing and mesmerizing,” the book makes use of magic realism, telling the story of a family whose members toil and endure through tumultuous times.

Exiled during the Pinochet years, award-winning writer Luis SepĂşlveda's The Old Man Who Read Love Stories, Harvest Books, 1995, is an endearing morality tale set in Amazonian Ecuador, while The Story of a Seagull and the Cat Who Taught Her to Fly, Scholastic Paperbacks, 2006, which has sold more than a million copies worldwide, deals with life, death, and following your true calling.

Roberto Bolaño's The Savage Detectives, Picador, 2008, was perceived to be a masterpiece, until the English publication of the epic 2666, Picador, 2009, arrived. Published posthumously, Bolaños haunting, voluminous story of violence, death and dislocation is considered a landmark novel, and wound up on year-end best-of lists and landed several top fiction awards.

The dramatic plot of Marcela Serrano's Antigua and My Life Before, Anchor, 2001 is suffused with political and feminist struggles. Serrano's first English-translate book follows—out-of-sequence—the lives of two women who've been friends since grade school.

José Donoso, who spent the Pinochet years in exile, was a member of the Latin American literary boom of the '60s and '70s. His novel Curfew, Grove Press, 1994, explores sexuality and psychology in his homeland while displaying his trademark touches of black humor and magic realism.

Antonio Skármeta's Burning Patience (widely available as The Postman (Il Postino), W.W. Norton & Co., 2008) was the inspiration for an Oscar-nominated Italian film. Skármeta spent the Pinochet years in Argentina and Germany, and this passionate tale—set before the dictatorship—follows the friendship between a fictional postman and Pablo Neruda.

There are many other books written by non-Chilean authors that cover Chile's history, politics, environment. Below are but a few:

Pamela Constable and Arturo Valenzuela´s A Nation of Enemies: Chile under Pinochet, W. W. Norton & Co., 1993, is a meticulously documented deliberation on the 1973 coup, Pinochet's rule, and the transition to democracy.

Jürgen Rottmann, one of the pre-eminent biologists in Chile, wrote Bosques de Chile: Chile’s Woodlands, IGES, 1988. Published in Spanish and English, and filled with photos, this book is an in-depth study of Chile's forests.

Activity Info.

Here are some related tips to help plan your trip to Chile: Hiking, Mountain Biking and Cycling, Climbing, Skiing and Snowboarding, Wine tours, Around CuricĂł, CuricĂł activities, Plaza de Armas, Museums in Chile and Horse Riding in Chile.

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