Hispanic Heritage Month: Dreamlike Stories, Real Experiences

We’re nearing the end of Hispanic Heritage Month, and we hope that you’ve been enjoying yourselves. We’re excited for the start of the UNG Reads events for Bless Me, Ultima (found here), and even more excited about these book recommendations. If you haven’t satisfied your love of Latino Lit yet, here are four more books, each with dreamlike writing, that we promise you’ll love.

The Private Lives of Trees — Alejandro Zambra

Every night, Julián tells a story about friendly trees to his stepdaughter, Daniela, before she goes to sleep, and every Sunday, he works on his own novel about his bonsai tree. The Private Lives of Trees captures the story of one night. On this night, Julián nervously waits for his wife, Verónica, to come home from her art class. As the night wears on, the air of uncertainty becomes heavier, with the audience as clueless and unsure about life as Julián is. But The Private Lives of Trees is gentle, with every sentence clearly crafted with care. The contrast makes for a bittersweet narration, the feelings of worry and love and loneliness a reminder of something we all know.

The Tango Singer — Tomás Eloy Martinez

Bruno Cadogan, an American graduate who specializes in Borges, arrives in Buenos Aires to begin his search of an elusive tango singer named Julio Martel, who’s voice is rumored to overshadow the famous Carlos Gardel. Julio has never been recorded, and his performances are unannounced and are located at seemingly arbitrary places. Cadogan hears of the famous Borges story “The Aleph,” and he finds himself drawn into the mystery and legends of the singer’s life. Martel’s performances aren’t as random as first believed and, in fact, are the keys to the city’s past that Cadogan has been searching for.

The Red Umbrella — Christina Diaz Gonzalez

Lucía Álvarez lives a carefree life; she dreams of her first crush and parties, but when soldiers invadeher Cuban town, everything changes. Her neighbors suddenly disappear, her friends treat her as though they were strangers, their freedom is stripped away, and Lucía’s family is being watched. As the Revolution becomes more oppressive, Lucía’s parents make a grave decision: to send her and her younger brother to the United States on their own. They’re part of Operation Pedro Pan—a exodus of more than 14,000 unaccompanied children, sent to the U.S. to escape Fidel Castro. Based on the experiences of her parents, Gonzalez shows the struggles and challenges that occur when you’re exposed to a whole new country, language, and culture.

The Weight of Feathers — Anna-Marie McLemore

For twenty years, the Paloma family and the Corbeau family have been enemies. Both families are traveling performers in competing shows: the Palomas swim in mermaid exhibitions underwater, while the Corbeaus perform tightrope acts in treetops, among the birds. Lace Paloma knows that the Corbeaus are pure magia negra, from the devil himself. Even accidentally touching a member of the other family is enough to be exiled. But disaster always ignores the rules, and it is Cluck Corbeau who saves Lace’s life. Peppered with French and Spanish, The Weight of Feathers reads like a dreamlike fairytale that any romantic reader will love.

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