BBAW: Forgotten Treasures

Today’s Book Blogger Appreciation Week topic: … we likely have a book we wish would get more attention by book bloggers, whether it’s a forgotten classic or under marketed contemporary fiction. This is your chance to tell the community why they should consider reading this book!


There are so many books that I want to discuss.  But I will limit my list to two.  My first ‘forgotten treasure’ is Pedro Paramo by the Mexican author Juan Rulfo. Really, the book is hardly forgotten; it’s considered a masterpeice of Spanish literature.  It tells the story of Juan Preciado’s return to Cormala to reclaim his family’s land and to find his estranged father.  Narrated by a chorus of voices, Pedro Paramo is one of the most memorable, haunting and scary books that I’ve ever read. Many consider it as the first Latin American book to use magical realism as a literary device.

The second ‘forgotten treasure’ is Living, Loving and Lying Awake at Night, a collection of short stories, by the South African writer Sindiwe Magona.  The stories detail the lives of African and mixed-race women under apartheid in South Africa.  An important and powerful collection, with a section ‘Women at Work, that focuses on domestic workers.

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27 comments

  1. My daughter had to read Pedro Paramo in high school; it was part of the IB curriculum at her school. My son and I read it together back in 2007–and loved it. I keep meaning to read the other Rulfo book, but, story of my life, other books keep taking priority since I’m so easily led astray by other readers’ recommendations.

    The university library here has the Magona. I’ll see if I can lay my hands on it tomorrow.

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    • Nana, you are more with it than you realize :). But, if it helps then do print it out and keep the list with you at all times. Now, I have to get to the Legon Bookshop.

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    • I dare say that you will enjoy it. I found the chorus of voices quite scary. A very memorable book and well-written also. He didn’t write a lot of books – there is just one other book in addition to Pedro Paramo. yet, despite that he’s made a substantial contribution to Latin American literature.

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  2. Great food for thought! Will check out this week. Glad you could make it back online for the festivities this week. Email me your shipping address? You won a copy of Vilnius Poker from Nonsuch Book. Congrats!

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    • I do agree about trying other genres. I’ve recently decided to read more fantasy. I’m starting with short stories and then will move on to novels depending on my experience.

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  3. I loved Pedro Paramo when I read it about 2 years ago. It came highly recommended from another fellow magic-realism lover. It didn’t disappoint.

    I’m a fan of Africa-lit, especially from the Portuguese-speaking countries. Do you know Conceição Lima (São Tomé and Príncipe), Mia Couto and Paulina Chiziane (Mozambique) and Pepetela (Angola)?

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    • In fact, Marquez thinks highly of the book. I came across it when I was looking to read other authors who had inspired Marquez. He frequently mentions Rulfo and Faulkner.

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  4. African lit. is one of the blank spots on my literary map, so I’ll have to remedy that a little over the next year. Good to have an expert on hand 🙂

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  5. My current library only as Pedro Paramo in Spanish, but my new library (as of next month) has it in English too! Yay: it sounds like my kind of book, and I love that cover.

    Unfortunately, neither has the South African one. I get so frustrated over the smallness of public libraries’ collections of African lit in general. Hmph.

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    • Eva, it’s not just public libraries. Sadly, getting one’s hands on some African lit, wherever one is can be quite difficult. Yes, I do think that you will enjoy Pedro Paramo.

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