Best American Literature of all time
Julio Cortázar (1963)
Pablo Neruda said that those who do not read this great Argentinean author are suffering from “a serious invisible disease”. This ludic, meandering and multiple-ended “counter-novel” is about lovers who refuse to make arrangements.
Gabriel García Márquez (1967)
Dreamily exploring Colombian myths and history through the magical, multigenerational story of the Buendía family by the late Gabriel García Márquez. Writing in the New York Times Book Review, William Kennedy declared that the novel should be required reading for the human race. Print out the family tree before you start or you’ll get lost.
Graham Greene (1940)
In Greene’s masterpiece, a nameless Roman Catholic whiskey priest goes on the run in 1930s Mexico during the Red Shirts’ persecution of the clergy. As he exchanges sacred rites for sanctuary, the vultures look down on him with “shabby indifference”.
Ernesto Che Guevara (published 1993)
Leaving Argentina for a lark on a sputtering motorbike, the young Marxist revolutionary returns as a man with a mission. He becomes, in his daughter’s words: “increasingly sensitive to the complex indigenous world of Latin America”.
The Labyrinth of Solitude
Octavio Paz (1950)
“Solitude is the profoundest fact of the human condition, ” writes the Mexican poet in this celebrated collection of essays. “Man is nostalgia and a search for communion. Therefore, when he is aware of himself he is aware of his lack of another, that is, of his solitude.”
Isabel Allende (1982)
Beginning life as a letter to her dying, 100-year-old grandfather, the Peruvian-born novelist’s debut is a history of Chile told as a family saga through the female line. “At five, ” she has said, “I was already a feminist but nobody used the word in Chile yet.”
Paulo Coelho (1988)
Holding the Guinness World Record for the most translated book by a living author, this Brazilian-born author’s allegorical novel follows a youthful Andalusian shepherd’s journey to Egypt. When you want something badly enough, he is told, then you can make it happen.
Roberto Bolaño (1998)
Born in Santiago in 1953 – “the year that Stalin and Dylan Thomas died, ” he wrote – dyslexic Bolaño lived a fractured, wanderer’s life, which may have fed into his playful, non-linear fiction. The poet-hero of his masterpiece is called Ulises.