Literary Criticism

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Central American Fiction in the 21st Century

Jeffrey Browitt is associate professor of Latin American Studies at the University of Technology Sydney. He is the author of numerous scholarly articles and books on Latin American literary and cultural studies (detailed on the press website). Cicatrices is a companion volume to Contemporary Central American Fiction: Gender, Subjectivity and Affect (2017) -- “Browitt delivers a complex and impassioned reading of texts that should be of outmost interest to students and critics of Central American literature” (Magdalena Perkowska, Associate Professor Spanish and Latin American Studies, Graduate Center, Hunter College CUNY)

Cicatrices offers an understanding of the current mood in Central American fiction as writers attempt to come to terms with a collapsing social, political and economic landscape dominated by forced migration, drug trafficking, corruption and the struggle to establish fully democratic societies. Writers adopt various narrative strategies to account for this in fictional form, most typically the crime novel cum critical realism and the political thriller, but also a kind of impressionist realism as well as auto-fiction and fictional testimony. Thematic unity is provided by displacement in all its guises and the inability to leave behind a problematic past that bleeds into the present – scars that won’t heal. This fiction speaks of existential crisis in a context of social precarity and lack of opportunity, a legacy of civil war and neoliberal adjustment, as Central Americans seek fulfillment through migration and nomadism. Whether external or internal, self-imposed or forced, migration brings in train mal-adaptation to new worlds and a poetics of loss and solitude. An atmosphere of survival, exhaustion, dissipation and decay (in both a physical and a moral sense) dominates, but also rays of hope – a sober reckoning the morning after.

Cicatrices is a mix of young and older, male and female, authors of novels and short stories, spread across five Central American countries: Guatemala, Nicaragua, El Salvador, Costa Rica and Honduras. Cicatrices is an essential collection for any reader wishing to get a sense of the direction and quality of current Central American fiction as it engages with the problems of the region.

Hardback ISBN: 978-1-84519-974-6
Hardback Price: £50.00 / $64.95
Release Date: October 2019
Page Extent / Format: 220 pp. 229 x 152 mm
Illustrated: No


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