Fiction Map of the World- Peru

by Travelbag on 19 February 2015, 12:02PM

Today we delve into the culture of the beautiful country that is Peru. Home to ancient cultures reaching back to the days of the Inca Empires, Peru is a intriguing country that contains complex terrains of vast Amazonian jungles to breathtaking glacial peaks. Described as a traveller’s dream it is no wonder why Peru attracts so many tourists every year. So before you set off on your travels to witness wonder of the world, Machu Picchu, delve into our Peru Fiction Map to discover the artistic talents that helped define this country.

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Essential Holiday Reading

During your down time in Peru, a number one choice of reading would be Nobel Prize winning author Mario Vargas Llosa’s, ‘Aunt Julia and the Scriptwriter’ (1977). Vargas Llosa is by far the best-known Peruvian novelist, whose books have been widely translated. This novel, his most internationally acclaimed work, is a loosely based account of his first marriage. Set in the 1950s, Vargas Llosa tells us of a 19-year-old aspiring writer who falls in love with his uncle’s sister-in-law of 32. This layered narrative was named one of the books of the year in the New York Times with it hilariously depicting the rise and fall of romantic involvement and the mischievous actions they carry out.

Notable Peruvian Books

After guerilla warfare caused government repression in the 1980s and 90s, Peru has seen an increase in political literature. The most notable read for the education of this fallout would be by award winning author, Santiago Roncaglio with his gripping novel ‘Red April’. This powerful, violence provoking text is about a prosecutor investigating a strange murder in Ayacucho. ‘Red April’ reflects on the countries unsettling past of corruption and unrest, creating a story with dramatic turns and twists that all lead to an engrossing climax.

‘The Conquest of the Incas’ by John Hemming is considered a must read if you’re looking for a lesson in Peru’s history. Hemming’s account highlights the desolation of a civilisation and Pizzaro’s conquest of Peru in the 1530s. Another notable work is Dervla Murphy's, ‘Eight Legs in the Andes’. Although not a Peru native, this travelogue tells a fascinating story about a journey through traditional Peru through the eyes of an Irish woman and her young daughter.

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Notable Peruvian Authors

As mentioned above, the author Mario Vargas Llosa is arguably the most successful Peruvian writer who has many highly regarded books you should look into that are absolute page-turners. Author Jose Maria Arguedas is another home-grown great that led the country’s political ideology, shinning a light on the clash between governing civilisation and the traditional indigenous minorities in several insightful novels. In keeping with broadening your political knowledge, writers such as Ricardo Palma, Cesar Vallejo and Ciro Alegria all tell tales that illustrate the struggles that shaped the country.

Notable Peruvian Films

With its birth in Iquitos in 1932, it was not until enhancements in technology from foreign arrivals that the first all-talking Peruvian picture was released in 1936 titled ‘Buscando Olvido’. Peru’s biggest worldwide success story was ‘The Milk Sorrow’ a film that addresses the fears of abused women in modern Peru. The movie notably won a Golden Bear award in 2009 and achieved the first Academy Award nomination in the country’s history. If however it’s something more light-hearted that you’re seeking then ‘Asu Mare’ may be the film for you. A box office hit, this adaptation of a stand up comedy starring Carlos Alcantara, tells his funny story of how his life and career. ‘Madeinusa’ follows a 14-year-old girl growing up in the Cordillera Blanca Mountain Range and interestingly portrays the traumas of post-civil war in Peru. 

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Essential Holiday Listening

One simple must-hear artist is the ‘Peruvian Songbird’, Yma Sumac. Known for her astonishing four-plus octave vocal range, Sumac from Ichocán, Peru, impressed audiences worldwide being one of the most famous advocates of the exotica music. She fully embraced the Incan heritage, typically wore flamboyant jewellery and clothes fitting of the exotic style. You may recognise her music from several film soundtracks over the years. Her song ‘Ataypura’ featured in ‘The Big Lebowski’ and a song titled ‘Gopher Mambo’ more famously appeared in many films including ‘Confessions of a Dangerious Mind’ and ‘Spy Games’; it even was used in an act in Cirque Du Soleil. Sumac's unbelievable vocal range that stretched from baritone to high soprano was heard at concerts she held across the globe with significant album releases such as ‘Mambo!’ (1954) and ‘Fuego del Ande’ (1959), that perfectly capture Peru’s musical culture. 

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Notable Peruvian Musicians

Peru boasts a rich musical legacy founded by influences passed down by Inca leaders, Spanish settlers and Africans. Music and dance exist in the heart of Peruvian culture, inspiring new stylistic creation in all avenues of the nation. There truly is no better way to get a more authentic experience of Peru then to witness the Zampoña pan-flutes, Cajon percussion boxes and of course the national instrument, the Charango guitar all combining in traditional performance. 

Three artists to truly widen your Peruvian musical knowledge are Susana Baca, Chabuca Granda and Immortal Technique. The two-time Latin Grammy award winning artist Baca was a pioneer in Afro-Peruvian music and her 2002 album ‘Lamento Negro’ also received a nomination for the Best World Music Album. Chabuca Granda offers a traditional experience with renditions of beautiful waltz and afro-Peruvian rhythms that inspire the inner romantic. Start your peaceful listening off with her most famous track, ‘La Flor De La Canela.’ The curve ball option for the modern music enthusiast is the hip-hop artist Immortal Technique. Selling hundreds of thousands of copies, his passionate views on political issues have made him a national favourite. 

Click here to read more about Peru.


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