A selection of TripFiction’s Top Reads 2020
Five great books set in Peru
16th July 2019
Five great books set in PERU.
Peru is the latest stop on our ‘Great books set in….’ series.
‘If no man could become rich in Peru, no man could become poor‘ – William Prescott, The Conquest of Peru (1847).
Here are 5 books that are set in, or relate closely to, this remarkable South American country.
Andres suspects his wife has left him—again. Then he learns that the unthinkable has happened: she’s been kidnapped. Too much time and too many secrets have come between Andres and Marabela, but now that she’s gone, he’ll do anything to get her back. Or will he?
As Marabela slips farther away, Andres must decide whether they still have something worth fighting for, and exactly what he’ll give up to bring her home. And unfortunately, the decision isn’t entirely up to him, or up to the private mediator who moves into the family home to negotiate with the terrorists holding Marabela. Andres struggles to maintain the illusion of control while simultaneously scrambling to collect his wife’s ransom, tending to the needs of his two young children, and reconnecting with an old friend who may hold the key to his past and his wife’s future.
Set in Lima, Peru, in a time of civil and political unrest, this evocative page-turner is a perfect marriage of domestic drama and suspense.
John Segovia is many things – American, corpulent, shambolic, and obsessed with the history of South America. This history is what drew him to the city of Piura in the coastal desert of Peru, where every grain of sand teems with stories of Incas and conquistadors. Here, where past and present intermesh, he thought he’d finally found a life for himself. He met Pilar and he married her: they had a baby girl. But John is now a widower – and a killer remains at large.
A foreigner in a riotous, mythic city, John must somehow learn to be a father to his infant daughter, to cope with the visceral trauma of loss, and to suppress a voracious desire for impossible revenge. His story features an extraordinary cast of characters (a one-eyed nanny, a collective of monk-like vigilantes, the conquistadors themselves): it travels centuries within sentences, encompasses slapstick and heartbreak, and takes John from bordellos to bat-infested cinemas and ancient burial grounds in his attempts to ‘beat back death’.
Winner of the Independent Foreign Fiction Prize 2011
Red April evokes Holy Week during a cruel, bloody, and terrifying time in Peru’s history, shocking for its corrosive mix of assassination, bribery, intrigue, torture, and enforced disappearance – a war between grim, ideologically driven terrorism and morally bankrupt government counterinsurgence.
Mother-haunted, wife-abandoned, literature-loving, quietly eccentric Felix Chacaltana Saldivar is a hapless, by-the-book, unambitious prosecutor living in Lima. Until now he has lived a life in which nothing exceptionally good or bad has ever happened to him. But, inexplicably, he has been put in charge of a bizarre and horrible murder investigation. As it unfolds by propulsive twists and turns – full of paradoxes and surprises – Saldivar is compelled to confront what happens to a man and society when death becomes the only certainty.
Remarkable for its self-assured and nimble clarity of style, Red April is at once riveting and profound.
In an isolated community in the Peruvian Andes, a series of mysterious disappearances has occurred. Army corporal Lituma and his deputy Tomás believe the Shining Path guerrillas are responsible, but the townspeople have their own ideas about the forces that claimed the bodies of the missing men. This riveting novel is filled with unforgettable characters, among them disenfranchised Indians, eccentric local folk, and a couple performing strange cannibalistic sacrifices. As the investigation progresses, Tomás entertains Lituma with the surreal tale of a precarious love affair.
Death in the Andes is both a fascinating detective novel and an insightful political allegory. Mario Vargas Llosa offers a panoramic view of Peruvian society, from the recent social upheaval to the cultural influences in its past.
Andina is the cuisine of the Andes of Peru. Welcome to one of the most contemporary yet ancient cuisines in the world. Featuring over 110 delicious and unfussy recipes accompanied by fascinating stories, dazzling photography and beautiful paintings, Andina is the first ever book to capture the food and scenery of the Andes and the spirit of its people and traditions.
Andina also signifies a dish, an ingredient or a lady from the Andes. Martin Morales’s grandmother was an andina and here he pays homage to her and all the women chefs (picanteras) who have shaped this soulful and traditional cuisine, which is at the heart of Peruvian food.
For the last 15 years, Martin has travelled throughout the Peruvian Andes to collect simple, traditional recipes, magical stories and culinary inspiration. With dishes dating back thousands of years, alongside new creations by Martin Morales and his team of chefs who run the award-winning Andina restaurants, Andina’s recipes have big flavours, vibrant colour and are simple to cook at home. From light, raw dishes to hearty stews and soups; cheeky bites to exquisite roasts; and sweet, aromatic desserts to comforting hot drinks, Andina presents authentic, nutritious all-day and all-year-round food made with seasonal ingredients.
Andrew for the TripFiction Team
Which titles would you add to the list? Remember there are nearly 20 to choose from in the Peru listings on TripFiction…! Each will transport you to some excellent fiction, travelogues or memoirs set in this intriguing country. Or you may have your own favourites you would like to add. Please leave your thoughts in the Comments box below.
Other posts in our ‘Ten/five great books set in…’ series that might interest you, and look out for more ‘great books‘ posts set in other South American countries:
Do come and join team TripFiction on Social Media: