No overdose of magical realism in this Latin American’s works | mumbai | Hindustan Times
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No overdose of magical realism in this Latin American’s works

mumbai Updated: Oct 31, 2009 01:22 IST
Dhamini Ratnam

The modern generation of Latin American authors is more concerned with the effects of living in an Americanised world than their literary predecessors writing under the spectre of American neo imperialism in the 70s and 80s, said Peruvian fiction writer Jorge Eduardo Benavides at a talk in the city.

Benavides migrated to Tenerife Island in 1991. In doing so, he was following a pattern of migration to Spain that had already been set into place by his literary predecessors like Chilean Antonio Skarmeta and Argentine Mempo Giardinelli escaping military dictatorships in the 70s and 80s.

However, while his predecessors found a ready readership and support in Spain, Benavides and his contemporaries, who migrated voluntarily in the 90s faced the classic immigrant’s situation of displacement and poverty.

Nevertheless, “We still think of not just going to Spain, but going home to Spain,” said the author with a law degree, who spent the first few years of in Tenerife working in a construction site and as a dishwasher.

Several Latin American countries, including Peru, have deep historical ties with Spain that date back to the colonisation era of the 15th and 16th centuries.

The current crop of Latin American writers negotiates life in “the Mc Mundo” or the Mc (Donald) World said Benavides, who had been invited to speak at the YB Chavan Centre by the Department of French, University of Mumbai and the PEN All India Centre.

“Magic realism has little significance in my writing,” he added, referring to the literary trope practised by Latin American authors like Isabel Allende and Gaberiel Garcia Marquez in the 60s to depict the politically fraught times in the South American continent through fantastical metaphors.

Benavides published his first collection of short stories called Cuentario y otros relatos (Cuentario and other stories) in 1989 and his first novel, Los Años Inútiles (Useless Years) in 2002. His latest novel La Paz de Los Vencidos (The Peace of the Defeated) was published earlier this year.