Friday, November 27, 2009

La Voragine -- The Vortex

Two weeks ago, I received an e-mail from an adoptive mother with a great question. "My teenage son was adopted from Colombia. I would like for him to know more about Colombia and be able to relate to other Colombians his age. Could you tell me what books Colombians read during high school and if there are English translations for the books?"

I thought it was a great idea. So, here is the first suggestion -- which just happens to relate to yesterday's post.

In 1924, Jose Eustasio Rivera wrote a book called "La Voragine," in English -- The Vortex.

The story is about the rubber barons and their mistreatment of the Indigenous population of the Amazon.

It is written in the 1st person is almost an autobiographical way. It is the story of Arturo Cova and Alicia (his love interest) and how they elope from Bogota for the Eastern jungle. It relates their experiences with the rubber barons and the massacre of San Fernando.

I confess that this is not a book that I have read --- yet ;) But, my husband was required to read it in High School. He recalls it as being sad and violent.

The book has been translated into English, but you can read it online in Spanish:
http://www.scribd.com/doc/2561599/La-voragine-de-Jose-Eustasio-Rivera

It was also adapted into a television series by RCN in the early 1990's.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Other books I can recommend for this discussion:

La Casa de las Dos Palmas
Cien Años de Soledad (Gabriel Garcia Marquez)
El Amor en los Tiempos del Colera ((Gabriel Garcia Marquez)
Maria (Jorge Isaacs)
Any Poetry Antology of Alvaro Mutis
Collection of poems of Porfirio Barba Jacob
La Marquesa de Yolombo (Tomas Carrasquilla)
Frutos de mi Tierra (Tomas Carrasquilla)
Any poetry collection of Leon DeGreiff
Poetry by Jose Asuncion Silva

Fernando Vallejo is a more contemporary author, but he is a great writer. La Virgen de Los Sicarios (dark, but good) is my favorite of his novels, and also Los Caminos a Roma.

As a disclaimer let me state, I am from Medellin, as are a lot of these authors. Not sure if my choices are due to my upbringing, but they are some of the best Colombian writers ever, so take it for what you will.

-Andres