Close to achieve its 200th anniversary of independence, Peru has inspired stories from close to 500 years in the past. But here we won’t recommend you to go to historical libraries and dust off big books written in old fashioned languages and calligraphies. On the contrary “modern classics” that are very popular, but also very well documented, are very enjoyable and not just the pocket bestsellers kind of reading. Of course fiction is also featured.
Movies and documentaries are available in all kinds of languages as well, some with translations or subtitles, covering all types of subjects, from exploration and survival, to culinary stories, also portraying derivations from real life.
These are some of our recommendations:
The following five books were magnificently written by foreign authors, and some have made it to the big screen or TV,
The lost city of the Incas, 1948 by Hiram Bingham
The Kon Tiki expedition, 1948 by Thor Heyerdahl -also as an Oscar awarded documentary by the same protagonist (1950) and a celebrated recent movie (2012)
Touching the void, 1988 by Joe Simpson -also as a recreation documentary (2013)
The Last days of the Incas, 2007 by Kim Macquarrie
Cradle of Gold, 2012 by Christopher Heaney
On the other side, Julio Ramón Ribeyro, an awarded peruvian storyteller with several short stories worth reading like the following ones:
Marginal Voices: Selected Stories
Silvio in the Rose Garden
Chronicle of San Gabriel
Cesar Vallejo was also an acclaimed writer known by his poetry of whom you can find books compiling his work.
Deep rivers (1958) and Yawar Fiesta (1941) by José María Arguedas are only two of his many portraits of the cultural minorities of Peru.
Not to say about Mario Vargas Llosa´s literature. The Dream of the Celt (2010) is the novel that gave him a Nobel but others are:
The Feast of the Goat, 2000
The War of the End of the World, 1981
Conversation in the Cathedral, 1969
The Green House, 1966
The Time of the Hero, 1963 (known as “La ciudad y los perros” in Spanish it’s also a movie, 1985)
Now talking about films only, we recommend:
Aguirre, the wrath of God, 1972 (German production)
Fitzcarraldo, 1982 (German production)
Captain Pantoja, and the special services, 2000 (Peruvian production based on Vargas Llosa’s book “Pantaleón y las visitadoras”, 1973)
The motorcycle diaries, 2004
The milk of sorrow, 2009 (Peruvian production)
I bought a rainforest, 2014 (BBC series – 3 episodes)
Last month, the premiere of a first of its kind peruvian documentary inspired by the Pacific Ocean, that has even made it to the commercial billboard has created big expectations, and it is totally recommended (available as “Pacificum” will be soon at Netflix and other similar services)
Also a very successful story is the one portraying our food ambassador Gaston Acurio, in the documentary, Finding Gaston (2014).
The list goes on and on but here we concentrated on the most accessible titles for the public abroad. If you have any suggestions please let us know and write us at english @ responsibletravelperu.com
Or if your plan is to recreate some of these adventures feel free to complete our brief questionnaire and we will be happy to make it true. See you soon!
Photo credit: Ezio Macchione
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