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segunda-feira, 8 de março de 2010
1759) Latin American writers: quietly, and gradually, disappearing...
Writing after the “boom”
Saying farewell to Latin America's literary giants
The Economist, Feb 8th 2010
ONE by one the writers who made up the Latin American literary “boom” of the 1960s and 1970s are passing into history. The latest to die, on January 31st, at the age of 75 and after a long battle with cancer, was Tomás Eloy Martínez, an Argentine best-known for his exploration of the dark heart of Peronism, his country’s hegemonic political movement, in novels such as “Santa Evita”. Last year it was the turn of Mario Benedetti, an Uruguayan poet.
Gabriel García Marquéz (aged 82), the most popular of them all, has written nothing of substance for at least 15 years apart from a nostalgic (and self-indulgent) memoir of his own childhood published in 2003. Having survived his own battle with cancer, he was spotted in his customary haunts in the Colombian city of Cartagena during the Hay Festival in the last week of January. (The British literary jamboree has established a highly successful offshoot in Cartagena, a Spanish colonial jewel by the Caribbean). The other surviving giants of the “boom”, Mexico’s Carlos Fuentes and Peru’s Mario Vargas Llosa, remain far more productive. Mr Fuentes (aged 81) continues to turn out a novel almost every year and is still a compelling conversationalist.
Mr Vargas Llosa (73) is producing some of the finest writing of a long, varied and fecund career. Along with Britain’s Ian McEwan, Mr Vargas Llosa was the star of the show at the Hay Festival. During a packed event in Cartagena’s glorious belle epoque theatre, he revealed that is making the final corrections to a novel about Roger Casement, the Anglo-Irish diplomat and early human-rights campaigner executed by the British as an alleged traitor during the first world war. He said the novel would probably be called “El Sueño del Celta” (“The Dream of the Celt”).
Many of the writers of the “boom” were associated with “magical realism”, a style which exaggerated the colourful absurdity of Latin American life and politics. Their themes were often the struggle against dictatorship and for national identity. In Cartagena Mr Vargas Llosa celebrated the diversity of the new generation of Latin American writers. He is surely right to see this as a sign of social progress, of the deepening democracy and relative prosperity that many countries in the region now enjoy.