In search of books penned south of the Rio Grande? Mexican authors have composed some of the most profound, intelligent, and heartfelt works of literature of all time, but, unfortunately, many of these writers still go unnoticed by the mainstream.
Jump-start your Latino-focused reading by picking up one of these nine books by a Mexican author:
1. Books Slide 01
Mexican novelist Carlos Fuentes, a recipient of The Miguel de Cervantes Prize as well as Belisario Domínguez Medal of Honor, penned The Death of Artemio Cruz in 1962. The novel follows the titular character, a corrupt politician, journalist and tycoon, as he lies on his deathbed. As he slowly fades away, Cruz recalls the defining moments of his life, including his time as a soldier in the Mexican Revolution.
The Death of Artemio Cruz by Carlos Fuentes, $11.15, Amazon
2. Books Slide 02
Octavio Paz — perhaps the best-known Mexican writer — won the Nobel Prize In Literature for his contribution to Latin American literature. The Labryinth Of Solitude, a book-length essay, offers a profound look at the culture, the people, the politics, and the character of Mexico.
The Labryinth Of Solitude, $14.03, Amazon
3. Books Slide 03
Mexican writer Juan Rulfo composed Pedro Páramo in 1955. The work went on to inspire countless writers, including Gabriel Garcia Marquez, the Noble Prize winning author of Love In The Time of Cholera. Marquez credits the novel for laying the groundwork for his acclaimed novel, 100 Years of Solitude.
Pedro Páramo by Juan Rulfo, $11.59, Amazon
4. Books Slide 04
Known for his fictional tales about the Mexican Revolution, Mariano Azuela penned his most popular work, The Underdogs, about an illiterate Indian who joins the rebels to save his family during the Revolution of 1910. The Underdogs provides a deeply moving snapshot of the destruction and disallusionment of war, especially among the working class.
The Underdogs by Mariano Azuela, $9.98, Amazon
5. Books Slide 05
Juan José Arreola was among the first Mexican authors to introduce elements of magical realism into his work. The genre, which became a defining aspect of Latin American literature, can be best seen in his most famous work, a book of experimental short stories called Confabulario And Other Inventions. Through a series of 97 tales, Arreola uses magical realism to tackle broader issues of humanity.
Confabulario And Other Inventions by Juan Jose Arreola, $10, Amazon
6. Books Slide 06
Perhaps one of the most famous Mexican authors, Laura Esquivel has become renowned worldwide for her magical realism romance Like Water For Chocolate. Set in the year 2200, The Law of Love tackles issues of love, karma, reincarnation and more. When astroanalyst Azucena Martinez meets her "twin soul," she sets in motion a series of events that will have impacts upon the entire Earth.
The Law of Love by Laura Esquivel, $3.93, Amazon
7. Books Slide 07
Juan Pablo Villalobos' debut novel, Down The Rabbit Hole, follows a seven-year-old named Tochtli — the son of a drug lord on the verge of taking over a powerful cartel. Tochtli describes his bizarre surroundings, his upbringing in a luxury hideout, and the sordid underbelly of the drug trade in Mexico.
Down The Rabbit Hole by Juan Pablo Villalobos, $8.06, Amazon
8. Books Slide 08
Elena Poniatowski was born in France to a French-born mother of Mexican origin. She moved to Mexico with her family in 1942, and quickly learned to speak Spanish from the servants and those on the streets. Her best known work, Massacre in Mexico, offers a gripping look at the Night of Tlatelolco — a brutal encounter when the police massacred nearly 300 students and civilians who had gathered to protest the government and upcoming 1968 Olympic Games. The work is a must-read, especially in light of the case of the 43 missing (believed murdered) students from Ayotzinapa.
Massacre in Mexico by Elena Poniatowska, $19.98, Amazon
9. Books Slide 09
Fans of mystery will appreciate the challenge of Paco Ignacio Taibo's Four Hands. The novel follows two detectives who case down an elaborate conspiracy plot. Shifts in perspective and gaps in time will leave readers guessing until the very end.
Four Hands by Paco Ignacio Taibo, $3.74, Amazon