Latin American boom

Latin American boom. Literary and editorial phenomenon that emerged in the 60s and 70s of the 20th century in Latin America . In that period, a group of young authors broke the traditional framework of literature, with magical realism as a common denominator and with a rich narrative that shook the foundations of Europe .


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  • 1 Background to the movement
  • 2 Origins
  • 3 Features
  • 4 Key authors
  • 5 Cultural impact
  • 6 Sources

Background to the movement

The historical antecedents of the Boom are closely linked to the political tension experienced during the 1960s and 1970s . The political climate strongly influenced by the Cold War , served as a prelude for the writers of the Latin American boom and gave way to a current of ideas and ideologies that defined the context of what would later be known as the Latin American boom.

The Cuban Revolution of 1959 and the frustrated attempts of the United States to invade the Bay of Pigs , are considered as the opening of this cycle.


Critics mostly agree that the boom began sometime in 1960, disagreement occurs when considering the first novel of the boom. Some name Rayuela , by Julio Cortázar , although on the other hand, others name La ciudad y los perros by Vargas Llosa.

The Argentine writer and journalist Luisa Valenzuela, in the documentary El Boom Latinoamericano, the Globalization of Latin American Literature , pointed out that the literary critic Emir Rodríguez Monegal was the one who put together the entire structure and coined the word boom for the first time to bring everyone together these Latin American writers, who were actually friends with each other.


They deal with time in a non-linear way, often use more than one perspective or narrative voice, and have a large number of words (the printing of new words or phrases), puns, and even profanity. Linguistically confident, she uses the vernacular, no excuses.

Other notable characteristics of the Latin American boom are the treatment of settings, both rural and urban, internationalism, the emphasis on both history and politics, as well as national identity, knowledge of the hemisphere around the world, as well as issues economic and ideological; the controversies, and the opportunity. The Latin American Boom literature breaks down the barriers between the fantastic and the mundane, transforming this mix into a new reality. Many novels that correspond to the time of the Latin American Boom, do not have chronological order of the events that occur in it.

Key authors

  • Gabriel García Márquez( 1927 ): One of the fundamentals in the emergence of the movement; creator of magical realism and author of numerous works that are within this genre, among which one hundred years of solitude stands out .
  • Julio Cortázar( 1914 – 1984 ): He is one of the most open Latin American authors ever. With special gifts for the story and poetic prose. He also offered an extremely novel River Plate novel, different from what was proposed by the authors of the “boom” but undoubtedly just as relevant.
  • José Donoso( 1924 – 1996 ): He found himself absolutely linked to other writers of the “boom”, however later he separated from this group. His most outstanding works were undoubtedly El obscene bird of the night and Casa de campo .
  • Mario Vargas Llosa(1936): He is considered the youngest author of this movement. In his works you can see a clear description of Peruvian society and an attempt to get closer to the humanity of people to understand the different historical and cultural events. Among his works, those that inevitably place him within the Latin American “boom” are The City and the Dogs , The Green House and Conversation in the Cathedral .
  • Carlos Fuentes: Not only did he write some of the most important novels of the time, he was also a critic and publicist in Latin America. He said that “the so-called Boom, in reality, is the result of four centuries, literary, reached a moment of urgency in which fiction became the way to organize the lessons of the past.”

«With the greats of the boom we cannot feel more than gratitude: it was they who opened the doors of the world and of the readers to us. They took away idiot or underdeveloped complexes from us. They showed us completely new literary paths, and not to follow along the same path, but to seek new outlets at any crossroads. ”

Hector Abad Faciolince

Cultural impact

The boom as a literary movement generated an immediate impact on the cultural world of the time, stimulating worldwide interest in Latin American literature. The publishing market greatly influenced the importance of the impact generated by this movement in the rest of the world, since translation and good advertising marketing played an important role in the success of writers and their works.

The significance of the impact generated by the boom is perceived in the structure of current literature, as well as in what many consider the birth of Magic Realism. The boom influenced and gave rise to other later movements, whose preponderance is still perceived in current literary currents in Latin America. Among the literary currents that emerged from the boom, the post-boom can be highlighted.


by Abdullah Sam
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