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Fiction Map of the World - Chile

by Travelbag on 13 March 2015, 11:03AM

Today we visit South America’s natural beauty, Chile. Home to vast ancient forests, enchanting lakes and towering volcanic peaks, this country is simply a traveller’s paradise. Deeply rooted in Spanish culture, Chile has a rich political and artistic history. We take a look at the best creative works that this magnificent country has produced.


Essential Holiday Reading

As Chile is described as the country of poets, I see it only fitting to recommend their most famous poet, Pablo Neruda. Neruda was awarded the Nobel Prize for literature in 1971 due to the brilliance of his work. His books have been translated into many languages so readers around the world can enjoy his award-winning writing. Some of his work reflects his life long political activism however the poems ‘Twenty Love Poems and a Song Of Despair’ and ‘The Poetry of Pablo Neruda’ are his most famous reads that convey raw emotion based around a love and romance theme. 


Notable Chilean Authors

Chile’s most notable authors and poets include Nobel Prize winner and bank note figure Gabriela Mistral (Selected poems), Chile’s best selling novelist with 51 million worldwide sales Isabel Allende (La Casa de los Espiritus) and Roberto Bolano who is often considered as one of the country’s last great writers (2666). In more recent years poetry has greatly dominated the Chilean book world with authors such as Sergio, Badilla Castillo and Oscar Hahn emerging as the top innovative poets. Chile has also produced three winners of one of the most important Spanish language literature prizes (Miguel de Cervantes Prize). These winning authors include the novelist Jorge Edwards and the poets Nicanor Parra and Gonzalo Rojas. With such a fascinating history it is no wonder that Chilean literature continues to impress and speak to so people around the world. Its broad range of styles and subject matters offer something for everyone.

Notable Chilean Books

As you may know Chile experienced a testing time during the 70s and 80s where Augusto Pinochet’s dictatorship saw political and social events change the face of the country. It was a result of this difficult period that outstanding works were created due to the influence of the trials and tribulations of these times. If you would like to gain an insight into these years then the books written by Jose Donoso’s titled, ‘The Space Without Limits’ and ‘La Desesperanza’ as well as texts from Antonio Skarmeta such as ‘The days of the Rainbow’ are texts that refer to the tough reality they experienced. Other gripping reads include Roberto Bolano’s books, ‘The Savage Detectives’ a bizarre tale of a group of experimental Mexican poets and the epic ‘2666’, time magazines best book of 2008.  For something less serious and a lighter read, books by beloved storyteller Isabel Allende will not disappoint. Her 2002 page-turner, City of the Beasts, is an adventure novel for all ages that takes readers on a voyage of exploration and wonder in the Amazon.

Notable Chilean Films

The top US grossing film from Chile is titled ‘The Motorcycle Diaries’ (2004) which hit a massive $16.8M in box office sales. It is a fascinating dramatized tale about world famous figure, Che Guevara and the motorcycle road trip that he embarked on in his younger years, which as a result lead him to his life’s calling. Chilean cinemas success only came to fruition in the late 1990s after years of struggling within the industry. The first Chilean film to get nominated for an ‘Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film’ was ‘No’ (2012). In a thoughtful, easy to follow, funny and generally all round quality film, this picture follows the story of an ad executives campaign to defeat military dictator, Augusto Pinochet in Chile’s 1988 referendum. Other more modern triumphs of Chilean cinema include ‘The Maid’ (2009) and ‘Gloria’ (2013). If it’s something a bit more classical and old fashioned that you’re seeking then be sure to watch the action and crime drama ‘Jackal of Nahueltoro’. This 1969 film was a pioneer in the development in ‘New Chilean Cinema’ in the 1960s.


Essential Listening

The essential listening to recommend is something that is slightly different. This pick may not be regarded as the most popular one but for sheer undeniable talent, the artist of choice is pianist Claudio Arrau. Renowned throughout the world as one of the greatest pianists of the twentieth century, Arrau truly was a master of his profession and still stands as one of all time legends of piano today. He encouraged personal interpretation of his music, providing people with not only excitement but also a level of meaning and emotion. His amazing, spell binding sound is a must hear and if you’ve got time to watch one of his live performances then it will only further your appreciation of his glorious talent. His pieces ‘Minute’ (Waltz no. 6) and ‘Grande Valse’ (Waltz no. 5) not to mention his beautiful renditions of Beethoven will all leave you in awe of this inspiring Chilean musicians ability.


Notable Chilean Musicians

Music in Chile is such a diverse area it is hard to advise and single out certain artists to recommend due to the huge variety of popular genres.  Folk music has always been the backbone of the culture, which derived from the country’s Spanish roots. Artists such as ‘Los Cuatro Huasos’, ‘Raul de Ramon’ & ‘ Violeta Parra’ led the early scenes, using this traditional music to express the nations feelings and to reflect on their own life experiences in hopes of making a difference in Chile.

One artist who is still regarded as a legend to Chileans is artist, Victor Jara. A highly successful figure in the ‘Nueva Cancion’ movement, he produced arguably his finest albums ‘Pongo En Tus Manos Abiertas’ and ‘El Derecho De Vivir En Paz’ in the 1970s.

After the period of unrest in the country, music slowly started to rise back into the nations hearts with artists such as ‘Los Prisoneros’ leading a rock and new wave genre movement in the 1980s which is still going strong today. Start with their most popular hit, ‘Tren Al Sur’.

Other genres that are extremely popular in Chile are, Hip Hop (Ana Tijoux, Tiro de Gracia, Makiza), Chilean cumbia (Chico Trujillo, La Noche, Americo) and their most international successful style, Electronica (Ricardo Villabos, Nicolas Jaar, Jorge Gonzalez).

Click here to read more about Chile.
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