Spanish language learners in this time of COVID-19 may have more time in their hands to read. Some may yearn to read a good novel in Spanish but their proficiency level may not be quite there yet. But, there is value in reading English translation of great Spanish novels. Although the language is not original, the culture depicted in the books is. One will gain a better appreciation of the culture and the setting from the translated novels.
Before one goes to pick up a Spanish novel, the remaining issue can be the unfamiliarity with the Spanish literature landscape. Reading a novel is an investment of precious time and money, and readers want to make sure that the novel is worth it.
This Guardian post recommends 10 modern novels that are set in Latin America locations, from the plains of Venezuela (‘Doña Bárbara’ by Rómulo Gallegos) to Cartagena of Colombia (‘Love in the Time of Cholera’ by Gabriel García Márquez) to the southern tip of Argentina (‘Tierra del Fuego’ by Sylvia Iparraguirre).
Two of the novels in the Guardian list were written by Nobel laureates in literature, namely ‘The Green House’ by Mario Vargas Llosa, and ‘Love in the Time of Cholera’ by Gabriel García Márquez. Another book by García Márquez was featured in my earlier post.