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In Search Of Identity: Three Of 2013's Best Translated Novels

by Juan Vidal
Dec 22, 2013

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I tend to like my heroes strong and capable; not self-important, yet with a certain brand of assurance. But in literature, as in life, profound truths often come to us not through confidence but through wrestling — through the quest for who we are and what we hope to become. Three newly-translated novels star not exceptionally robust heroes but unexceptional, aimless ones, each exploring the inward struggles that make us human.

These three international voices offer no barrage of answers. Instead, they remind us of the importance, and the power, of simply asking the questions.

The canon of Latin American literature — or rather, literature produced by Latin Americans — has long been a provocative one, as diverse as it is rich. These three works are among the most exciting to be translated to English this year. They are reminders that countries like Mexico, Chile and Argentina are producing fiction without borders: stories that speak to the uncertain hero in all of us. The world is taking notice.

Juan Vidal is a writer and cultural critic from Miami. He tweets at @itsjuanlove.

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