Latin American Boom

“Latin American Boom: A term for the recognition and publication of Latin American fiction in Europe, the U.S., and Latin America during the 1960s. The ‘boom’ writers were innovative and experimental and yet also accessible, and included Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Carlos Fuentes, Mario Vargas Llosa, Jose Donoso, and Julio Cortazar. Guillermo Cabrera Infante is often considered part of the group. The reasons for the boom include attention and the awarding of prizes by publishers in Spain to Latin American authors; the Cuban Revolution (1959), which focused attention on the Americas; the exhaustion of the Nouveau Roman style and a renewed interest in vibrant storytelling; and the conjunction of imaginative work that engaged political and historical themes. Paradoxically, the fame of book writers has obscured the recognition of pre-boom writers like Onetti, Pinera, Lezama Lima, Lispector, Arguedas, and Arreola, while post-boom writers have found it hard to crack the commercial market, given the starlike promotion of the boom novelists. Notable exceptions are Isabel Allende and writers whose work has been made into successful U.S. films, plays, or musicals, such as Manuel Puig.”

Excerpted from: Murphy, Bruce, ed. Benet’s Reader’s Encyclopedia, Fourth Edition. New York: Harper Collins, 1996.

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