Two Important Books By Latina Authors To Read During Latinx History Month
Latinx Heritage Month is the time of year when we go out of our way to celebrate the important contributions Latinos have made to American culture. One of the most noteworthy areas that Latinos have influenced is literature.
From Junot Díaz to Rudolfo Anaya, Latino authors have made invaluable contributions to the American literary canon. It’s unfortunate, then, that Latinos have been both marginalized and underestimated in the publishing industry — and Latinas even more so.
The deck is stacked against Latina authors, as they deal with the one-two punch of racism and sexism from a white male-dominated publishing industry. But now, after years of being sidelined, Latina authors are finally starting to get the recognition they deserve.
Two authors in particular — Zoraida Córdova and Patricia Engel — have been getting attention for the powerful and timely work they have been creating.
Their most recent books, The Inheritance of Orquídea Divina and Infinite Country, both explore the themes of family, identity, and heritage. If you are looking for books by Latina authors to read this Latinx Heritage month, look no further.
A multigenerational tale of ancestral magic, The Inheritance of Orquídea Divina follows the unforgettable Montoya family from New York City, to Ecuador, to a magical place in the middle of nowhere called Four Rivers. In true Latinx tradition, Zoraida Córdova relies on magical realism to tell the story of Montoya matriarch Orquídea Divina and the dangerous inheritance she leaves behind for her progeny.
Córdova has said that the goal of The Inheritance of Orquídea Divina was for the reader to leave with a renewed sense of self-acceptance.
“When you read this book and you go through the journeys with these characters you learn that you should embrace every good, bad and in-between thing about yourself,” she told Simon & Schuster.
Like Inheritance, Infinite Country by Author Patricia Engel also explores the ties that bind family members across time, space, and borders.
An epic tale of love, family, and sacrifice, Infinite Country follows three generations of a mixed-status, Colombian-American family as they navigate life in two different countries.
Patricia Engel, herself a dual citizen and daughter of Colombian immigrants, felt compelled to write this story about a family torn apart by arbitrary borders because it is one that she sees all around her, but is rarely illustrated in American literature. “The story of this family is a common one,” Engel told Simon & Schuster. “It’s the reality of so many people I know and love, but it’s one I never saw in any novel, so I knew it needed to be written.” Hailed by everyone from Reese Witherspoon to Oprah Winfrey as one of the most important books of the year, Infinite Country truly encapsulates the heartbreak and complexity of undocumented life in America.
So if you’re looking to delve deeper into Latino stories this Latinx Heritage Month, The Inheritance of Orquídea Divina and Infinite Country are the perfect books by Latina authors to do so with. Get your reading on!
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