Around the same time that American Dirt (in case you don’t know: that’s an infamous “immigration thriller” by a white author who misrepresents Mexican culture and stereotypes immigrants) started hitting Bestseller lists, I picked up Dominicana by Angie Cruz, a story about a young woman marrying an older man because of her family’s dream to move to the US, a shortlisted book to the Women’s Prize for Fiction. It was incredibly frustrating.
I am tired of seeing Latinx books that get attention and international readership for displaying Latinx pain, and portraying the US as a safe haven, land of freedom, the happiest ending any Latin American could wish for – and it’s even worse that American Dirt is not even written by a Latinx author, whereas in Dominicana at least the writing was really good and sensitive, even if I disliked the book.
So I thought it would be a good idea to come up with a list of Latinx books I recommend instead!
It was not that easy to come up with this list, because most of the Latinx books I read are in Portuguese and not many are translated into English, so I spent more time looking into translated-to-English books as well. I originally wanted to post this months ago.
When I write “Translated” in the list below, I mean: this was originally written in Portuguese/Spanish and there is a translation into English available.
I also have already a post on some recommendations of Brazilian books and one focused on my project of reading more Latinx books:
My Favorite Brazilian Books Translated to English + 1 Written in English
Reading Latinx Books Project with @cbookrambling
Without further ado, here are 15 books I recommend:
Latinx Books Recommendations
One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez / Colombian, Classical Fiction, Magical Realism, Translated
Starting with a well-known and beloved one! This beautiful family saga is peppered with magical realism and is so gorgeously written, so full of sorrow, loneliness and broken people, it’s easy to lose yourself into the story, although it’s perhaps not as easy to keep the characters apart, whose names are very similar. Still, this is one of my favorite classics!
Gods of Jade and Shadow by Silvia Moreno-Garcia / Review / Mexican, Fantasy
This reads very much like a fairy tale; it’s set in Mexico, where Mayan gods still exist and is full of adventure and a romance subplot. Moreno-Garcia has a few books out, including one thriller with sharks and an upcoming Gothic horror. She writes such interesting stories!
In the Dream House: A Memoir by Carmen Maria Machado / Review / American-Cuban, Memoir
This is a fantastic memoir, uniquely told in several chapters, each in a different style from a different fictional genre. It’s the perfect book for fiction readers who want to broaden their reading with some non-fiction and are worried about boring writing. It tells the author’s real experience with an abusive Sapphic relationship and it’s brilliant. Continue reading