Best Latin and Latin American books 2019

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Latinidad is not a monolith. While there are some key issues that impact many members of our communities – such as immigration, racism, xenophobia, poverty, or criminalization – part of the joy of being Latino lies in being Latino. great variety and diversity of expressions and experiences. Reflecting on the books published in 2019, the differences and similarities that make up Latin multiculturalism are evident.

From serious memoirs that deal with violence and sanity to sweet romances that will take you away from the world to essays and poems that imagine a new way forward, books by Latin American and Latin American authors in 2019 offer a little something for everyone. Here are some of our favorite titles of the year.

1

Ordinary girls by Jaquira Diaz

Jaquira Díaz’s childhood was filled with tumult and violence. In Ordinary girls, the Puerto Rican-born, Miami Beach-raised writer shares a memoir about his childhood with an activist and drug-trafficker father and a mother with undiagnosed schizophrenia. As a teenager, Díaz had to deal with abuse, drug addiction, depression and suicidal thoughts, but she regained her sense of self when she discovered her tribe: the “ordinary girls”. “We were the wild girls who loved music and dancing. Black and dark girls, poor and gay. Girls who loved each other, ”she wrote.

2

Be a recorder by Carmen Gimenez Smith

Finalist for this year’s National Book Awards in Poetry, Be a recorder does exactly that: it records. It lists border walls, motherhood, homosexuality and xenophobic violence. In doing so, he reaffirms Carmen Gimenez Smith as a chronicler of our time, a voice to be heard and as herself, completely and totally. These are poems for understanding things, but it’s also about standing firm and claiming space – with just the right mix of uncertainty and confidence to get you ready for 2020.

3

My time among the whites by Jennine Capo Crucet

Jennine Capó Crucet has written two books on various aspects of her life. How to leave Hialeah is a collection of short stories based on the Cuban Miami-Dade she grew up in, and Make your home among strangers is a novel about a young girl leaving South Florida for a prestigious university. His last title, My time among the whites, is not fiction but rather a collection of essays that examines whiteness as it operates in places like Miami as well as in posh college towns. It also examines how Capó Crucet herself fits into these spaces. In October, the book made national headlines after white students at Georgia Southern University were offended by a talk Capó Crucet gave at the institution. engraved copies on the campus.

4

With fire up by Elizabeth Acevedo

As The poet X used oral poetry to give voice to its protagonist and shape its story, With fire on the highs Emoni finds her voice thanks to an almost magical connection to the food she prepares for others. Elizabeth Acevedo tells us the story of a single teenage mother who tries to find a balance between living with her “buela”, navigating high school and figuring out how to raise a daughter while pursuing her own big dreams.

5

In the dream house by Carmen Maria Machado

Just like Carmen Maria Machado’s first book, His body and other parts, was made up of fairy tales and Law and Order: SVU so-called oblique references, In the dream house is a memoir of a psychologically abusive relationship shared through lenses of ever-changing genres. However, the book also poses a few more meta-questions to its author and reader, using second-person storytelling: how can you write the story of an abusive homosexual relationship if you’ve never read it before. about this before? How can you even recognize such a relationship, even if you are there, if you don’t have the tongue? Machado’s book is a shining ax towards silence.

6

dark constellations by Pola Oloixarac and translated by Roy Kesey

that of Pola Oloixarac dark constellations takes place on three tracks: a historical fictional account of a Victorian scientist in search of a hallucinogen; a coming of age to contemporary adulthood in the Internet age; and a speculative fiction in the near future on the creation of the Argentinian ministry of genetics, a project to follow each of its citizens. The novel asks questions about exploration and colonization, big data and the curve of an individual life, while being strange and ambitious.

7

Sal and Gabi break the universe by Carlos Hernandez

After Sal’s mother dies, he realizes he has a new power: he can make things materialize – or rather, he can attract things and people from a universe into it. Among them is his Mami Muerta, as Sal calls him. It is both a useful and problematic talent. After Sal met Gabi, the editor of the school newspaper, in the principal’s office after such an alternate universe shenanigans, they set out to improve people’s lives with Sal’s powers. What they don’t realize, however, is that Sal’s ability may actually make matters worse by weakening the boundaries between multiverse. Overall, Carlos Hernandez Sal and Gabi break the universe is a really fun read at the college level.

8

Space invaders by Nona Fernandez

A short story built around the events of Nona Fernández’s real childhood, Space invaders takes the story of a girl, Estrella Gonzales Jepsen, and tells it in fragmentary form, like pixel clusters in an 80s game. Similar to those pixels, the book blends into a picture of Augusto Pinochet’s regime in Chile and how history and violence creep into childhood memories.

9

Dominican by Angie Cruz

that of Angie Cruz Dominican tells the story of Ana, who in 1964, at just 15, was married to Juan, 32. It is not a marriage based on love but rather on a promise: the assurance of helping all his family to immigrate to the United States from an increasingly unstable Dominican Republic. When Ana arrives in New York with her new husband, her life does not stretch. Instead, it shrinks down to the size of the apartment she shares with her abusive partner. But when Juan returns to the Caribbean island to protect the family’s investments after the fall of former dictator Rafael Trujillo, Ana’s world is again allowed to develop: she learns English from the nuns of across the street and explore New York City with its younger, freer spirited. brother-in-law. The whole novel is a magnificent display of possibilities in Ana’s life and an inevitable return to the difficult choices that immigration imposes on women and girls.

ten

House of Other’s Pain: Chronicle of a Small Genocide by Julián Herbert

Over three days in 1911, 300 men, women and children of Chinese descent were murdered in Torreon, Mexico. House of the Pain of Others, written by Julián Herbert, is a chronicle of an often hidden event of the Mexican Revolution and a larger story about xenophobia, immigrant communities and the ways in which history is made and remembered. The story slides around different genres: journalism, memory, and history, which turns out to be the perfect form for a story so slippery it continues to ripple to this day.

11

From our land to our land: essays, travels and imaginations of a native writer of Xicanx by Luis J. Rodriguez

Luis J. Rodriguez has had a long career as a writer, activist and politician, mainly in California. His latest book, From our land to our land, is a collection of essays that responds to the division and xenophobia of our time with his experiences and identities as a descendant of Raramuri, former gang member, father and Xicanx activist. Her book offers a new way forward: rooted in the earth and drawing on the myths of our ancestors to imagine a future where healing is possible.

12

Sabrina & Corina by Kali Fajardo-Anstine

Finalist for the National Book Award in fiction, Sabrina & Corina by Kali Fajardo-Anstine is a collection of short stories that follows the two women in the title, who are cousins, and the women of their community. The book deals with the challenges and fierce love between Latin women of native Colorado descent. In the beautiful literary beginnings of Fajardo-Anstine, an unwavering love for the landscape sings through its pages.

13

The friend zone by Abby Jimenez

With The friend zone, Abby Jimenez delivers a fun and sweet romance that deals with issues of reproductive rights and women’s health in a sensitive and serious way. When Kristen meets firefighter Josh, she is almost instantly struck. However, her uterine fibroids, benign tumors that start in the womb, prevent her from getting serious with Josh, who dreams of a big family. Kristen knows she has to keep him in her friends zone, no matter how much he loves her or how much she might love him back. It’s a sweet, slow romance.

14

The truth is by NoNieqa Ramos

In NoNieqa Ramos’ The truth is, its protagonist Verdad De La Reyna has landed. Her best friend died in a white supremacist shootout that Verdad witnessed, and she faces pressure from her mother and her father’s absence. In the middle of that backdrop arrives Danny, a cute transgender guy she falls in love with. As Verdad works through her grief and examines her own internalized queerphobia and transphobia, she faces her mother’s disapproval of her relationship with Danny and must find out what the truth is.

15

Lima: Limon by Natalie Scenters-Zapico

A la lima y al limón / tu no tienes quien te quiera / a la lima y al limón / te vas a quedar soltera ”, Natalie Scenters-Zapico writes in Lima :: Limon. The poetry book takes an old form, the sonnet, and reuses it for the writer’s own uses: contemplations of machismo, feminicide, xenophobia and more. Woven throughout the text, the sonnets provide a centering force from which other poems and other meditations emerge. It is a book of difficult comparisons and, as the title suggests, more complicated analogies than it first appears.


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