5 Novels to read before you visit the wonders of Peru
“I was in Peru and visited a building near Lima built by the Incas. It was low in height, with no windows at all, but all the way in the back there was air movement. And I couldn’t figure out how they’d done it; it was incredible.” Frank Gehry
There are as many reasons to visit Peru with all its ranges and choices of experiences from the images of Incas, llamas, and deep, dark jungles. Each can conjure up a magical picture, but there are many more things for you to discover in this diverse and fascinating country. And the best place to begin your journey is to start with some good books by Peru’s renowned authors.
Novels by Mario Vargas Llosa
The winner of the Nobel Prize in 2010 weaves trails about Peruvian society and culture.
Aunt Julia and the Scriptwriter
Mario Vargas Llosa’s brilliant, multilayered novel is set in the Lima, Peru, of the author’s youth, where a young student named Marito is toiling away in the news department of a local radio station. His young life is disrupted by two arrivals.
The first is his aunt Julia, recently divorced and thirteen years older, with whom he begins a secret affair. The second is a manic radio scriptwriter named Pedro Camacho, whose racy, vituperative soap operas are holding the city’s listeners in thrall. Pedro chooses young Marito to be his confidant as he slowly goes insane.
Death in the Andes
In a remote Andean village, three men have disappeared. Peruvian Army corporal Lituma and his deputy Tomás have been dispatched to investigate, and to guard the town from the Shining Path guerrillas they assume are responsible. But the townspeople do not trust the officers, and they have their own ideas about what forces claimed the bodies of the missing men. To pass the time, and to cope with their homesickness, Tomás entertains Lituma nightly with the sensuous, surreal tale of his precarious love affair with a wayward prostitute. His stories are intermingled with the ongoing mystery of the missing men.
Death in the Andes is an atmospheric suspense story and a political allegory, a panoramic view of contemporary Peru from one of the world’s great novelists.
At a small gallery in Florence, a Peruvian writer happens upon a photograph of a tribal storyteller deep in the jungles of the Amazon. He is overcome with the eerie sense that he knows this man…that the storyteller is not an Indian at all but an old school friend, Saul Zuratas. As recollections of Zuratas flow through his mind, the writer begins to imagine Zuratas’s transformation from a modern to a central member of the unacculturated Machiguenga tribe. Weaving the mysteries of identity, storytelling, and truth, Vargas Llosa has created a spellbinding tale of one man’s journey from the modern world to our origins, abandoning one in order to find meaning in both.
Lost City Radio by Daniel Alarcon
For ten years, Norma has been the on-air voice of consolation and hope for the Indians in the mountains and the poor from the barrios—a people broken by war’s violence. As the host of Lost City Radio, she reads the names of those who have disappeared—those whom the furiously expanding city has swallowed. Through her efforts lovers are reunited and the lost are found. But in the aftermath of the decadelong bloody civil conflict, her own life is about to forever change—thanks to the arrival of a young boy from the jungle who provides a cryptic clue to the fate of Norma’s vanished husband.
One River by Wade Davis
The story of two generations of scientific explorers in South America—Richard Evans Schultes and his protégé Wade Davis—an epic tale of adventure and a compelling work of natural history.
In 1941, Professor Richard Evan Schultes took a leave from Harvard and disappeared into the Amazon, where he spent the next twelve years mapping uncharted rivers and living among dozens of Indian tribes. In the 1970s, he sent two prize students, Tim Plowman and Wade Davis, to follow in his footsteps and unveil the botanical secrets of coca, the notorious source of cocaine, and a sacred plant known to the Inca as the Divine Leaf of Immortality.
Wonders of the ancients:
Macchu Picchu is truly incredible but there’s much more to Peru.
Like the Nazca Lines, which are 100 times cooler than Stonehenge.
And you’ll constantly stumble into places that are frozen in time
Wonders of Nature’s Inspiration:
Inspirational and Majestic views
Wonders of unique and enticing fruits:
Then there’s the fruit of Peru like lucuma, which is regularly eaten as an ice cream.
Or chirimoya, a fruit that can taste like a banana, strawberry, pineapple or all three.
and aguaje — a fruit that tastes like butter.