We promised we’d come back to you with some more great reads for holidays to South and Central America – so here are some more of our favourite books for travellers to Peru, Chile and Mexico. We’d love to hear about your favourites too, so do let us know.
My invented country, by Isabel Allende
My Invented Country is a memoir in which truth is most definitely stranger than fiction. Exploring the events of her life and those of the country (Chile) in which she lived until the assassination of her father’s cousin, President Salvador Allende, in Pinochet’s military coup, Allende takes us on a highly personal tour through her homeland, bringing it to life. This is where her grandfather saw the devil on a bus, recognizing him because of his “green cloven hooves like a billy goat,” and her great aunt sprouted wings. It is a place of love charms, ghosts, and continual family feuds. Her experiences make for unforgettable, often hilarious reading that help bring Chile to life for a traveller.
Inca-Kola, by Matthew Parris
Inca-Kola is the funny, absorbing account of Matthew Parris’s fourth trip to Peru, on a bizarre holiday which takes him among
bandits, prostitutes, peasants and riots. He and his three companions seem to head into trouble, not away from it, and he describes the troubles, curiosities and wonders they meet with the spell-binding fascination of a traveller relating adventures over the campfire. The Times comments ‘A backpacker’s classic: atmospheric, touching, instructive and compulsively readable’.
A Trip to the Light Fantastic: Travels with a Mexican Circus, by Katie Hickman
Evocative and entertaining, A Trip to the Light Fantastic dives into the lives of a troupe of Mexican circus performers. Hickman’s unforgettable account of her epic year-long journey through an extraordinary and beautiful country has power and richness. She went to Mexico looking for magic and she found it in the circus with nights filled with glitter, sequins and illusion. Gradually adjusting to the tough ways of the circus’s nomadic lifestyle she soon becomes pulled into this hypnotic new world. Hickman’s unforgettable account of her epic year-long journey through an extraordinary and bizarrely beautiful country has
all the power and richness of a novel
Popol Vu: The Definitive Edition of the Mayan Book of the Dawn of Life and the glories of gods and kings, translated by Dennis Tedlock
If you’d going to visit some Mayan ruins and would like to know more about the Mayan way of life this is the book for you. Researched and written by a man who became an apprentice to a present-day priest of Mayan ancestry, Popol Vuh is viewed as the most important text in the native languages of the Americas. Originally written in Mayan hieroglyphs, it was translated into the Roman alphabet in the sixteenth century. It begins with the deeds of Mayan gods in the darkness of a primeval sea and ends with the radiant splendour of the Mayan lords who founded the Quiché kingdom in the Guatemalan highlands. It gets five stars from reviewers on Amazon and the Los Angeles Times said ‘The volume is required reading for everyone seriously interested in Native American literature or in Meso-American cultural history.’