Posted by: Diana Ferraro | 15 April 2010

Alejo Carpentier

One of the great names in Latin American literature, and probably the top name of Cuban Literature with José Lezama Lima and Guillermo Cabrera Infante, Alejo Carpentier was born in Switzerland in 1904 and died in France in 1980.

A stylist, a deep observer of Caribbean culture, history and myths, and a musicologist, Carpentier has left some remarkable novels such as El reino de este mundo (The Kingdom of This World) and Los pasos perdidos (The Lost Steps), both translated and available in English. He was maybe the first Latin American writer to perceive the links with the magical world  that were hidden in the Americas soul, as a particularly mix of Spanish Catholic beliefs in wonders intertwined with African  and Native indians inheritance. His mixed French and Cuban culture helped him to create  an extremely refined version of Spanish language and confirmed Cubans as the unquestionable best born writers in Latin America because of the mastery and richness of language. As an expert in music, Carpentier was also particularly connected to the sound and rhythm of a language which in Cuba cannot be but part of the music embedded in people. I need to mention here also Nicolás Guillén, the Cuban poet who represents the supreme connection between Cuban sounds and words.  As part of the large treasure of Cuban literature,  Carpentier’s work is worth reading.

My favorite Carpentier novel is El Siglo de las Luces (The Century of Lights) a masterpiece and a must read for all interested in Latin America’s profound history and soul.

A great link to his bio and works, at Cuba Literaria:

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