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5 Latin American authors to follow in 2016


New publications, cult authors and promising pens to swell the list of books to be read.

This year comes loaded with interesting publications. And for a while now, Latin American literature, if such a collective entity exists, has shown a notorious variety of styles, voices and tones. With no other criteria than awe and the search for something different, we recommend some books and authors from our continent, some established and others lesser known or on the cusp.

1. Ricardo Piglia

The first recommendation, perhaps for the noble character and persistence of the project, but also as essential reading, is Los diarios de Emilio Renzi (años de formación), by Argentina’s Ricardo Piglia, published by Anagrama. At the age of 74, the Adrogué-born writer is already a respected one, and this new publication confirms a myth: the 327 notebooks that comprise 50 years of writing, without which, according to Piglia, he would not have been able to write anything. With a brilliant career, the Argentine writer had penned such novels as Artificial Respiration, Burnt Money, the short story collection The Invasion (published and awarded prizes as Jaulario in 1967 by Casa de las Américas), Assumed Name; and the essays Brief Forms and The Last Reader, among more than 15 titles. Furthermore, this is the first part of a trilogy that is yet to appear and comprises Los años felices, slated to appear in 2016, and Un día en la vida, scheduled for 2017 publication.

Here is the trailer for 327 cuadernos, a documentary by Andrés di Tella:

2. Cristián Geisse

In second place, an author who is practically unknown outside of Chile, and even little known at home: Cristián Geisse (Vicuña, 1977), a cult writer among Chilean readers, recently published Ñache, a collection of stories, with Bordelibre ediciones. Ñache, or ñachi, is a cuisine of Mapuche origin prepared with the fresh blood of a lamb, seasoned with onion, garlic and coriander. It could be said that his writing is plagued with colloquial references that make a Chilean public identify with him and that is partly his aim, having kept himself sidelined from the Spanish or multinational publishing monopoly, and at the moment he could be considered one of the finest Chilean writers. Among his books is the trilogy En el regazo de Belcebú. An invitation to read him is also an invitation to peruse the catalogs of independent publishers of the Americas.

3. Liliana Colanzi

The winner of the most recent Aura Estrada Prize, Liliana Colanzi (Santa Cruz, Bolivia, 1981), is our third recommendation. With just two books published, Vacaciones permanentes (El Cuervo, 2011) and La Ola (Montacerdos, 2013), she has written journalism for media such as Americas Quarterly and El Boomeran(g), among others. Here are two links to some of her stories:

4. Ezequiel Alemián

Ezequiel Alemián (1968) is an Argentine poet and cultural journalist whose work is consolidating as some of the most dissonant, even with himself, within Argentine literature (“the heavyweight stuff,” as Bolaño called it). The well-known and exquisite publishing house Mansalva, founded by the poet Francisco Garamona, in 2014 published his Una introducción, featuring 11 stories by this quasi-objectivist poet. Among his poetry collections, worth mentioning are: La devastación, La ruptura, Siete poemas, and Quisiera ser un animal. In prose, as well as that already mentioned, there is El síndrome de Bessalko and Intentaré ser breve; and the illustrated books El Talibán, El tratado contra el método de Paul Feyerabend, etc. We do not yet know if 2016 will bring us any new publications by Alemián, but all that he has written so far is worthy of note. Although it can be difficult to procure, Argentine bookstores will ship copies. In addition to his career as a writer, he was also the editor and founder of Spiral Jetty, a publishing company that produced several of the most attractive texts by poets from that land where excellent writers abound.

5. César Aira

And finally, we wanted to recommend something somewhat out of fashion, and which is perhaps the best way to read a book, when it has been put to the test by many readings, when it comes to us by chance, or by mistake (a happy mistake), and it changes the way we read, and not only literature but reality. For such effect, any book by César Aira, a strong candidate for the Nobel prize (although that means nothing in literature); any book that he publishes in 2016 would be the perfect bolt hole, both for a reader steeped in reading or an occasional one.

Bonus Track: Bruno Lloret

And as a bonus track, one pointer: Nancy, the debut novel by Chilean Bruno Lloret, a writer who, at the tender age of 25, is already emerging as a singular author. We are awaiting a second book, and which has been more or less announced by the author.

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