The number of popular stories of Latin American authors that we can find is quite large. Many of them contributed to increasing the number of the list, but not all of them have become as prominent as others.
We have taken the time to collect a collection of the 10 best-known Latin American short stories for your enjoyment. From themes such as suspense and terror to stories that explain the origin of the rainbow in a peculiar way.
- 1 Best Latin American Popular Stories You Should Know
- 1.1 1. The feather pillow – Horacio Quiroga
- 1.2 2. One of these days – Gabriel Garcia Marquez
- 1.3 3. The rattlesnake – Gustavo Díaz Solís
- 1.4 4. The Fortune Teller – Jorge Luis Borges
- 1.5 5. The Giraffe – Juan Jose Arreola
- 1.6 6. The bat – Eduardo Galeano
- 1.7 7. David’s Sling – Augusto Monterroso
- 1.8 8. Lower the jib – Ana María Shua
- 1.9 9. Instructions to cry – Julio Cortázar
- 1.10 10. The Dinosaur – Augusto Monterroso
Best Latin American Popular Stories You Should Know
Some of the stories you will find here are considered classics of Latin American literature. So you have probably already heard of them or have read it before.
Without further delay, let’s find out what each of these classic Latin American tales is about.
1. The feather pillow – Horacio Quiroga
“The feather pillow” is possibly the best-known story of the Uruguayan writer Horacio Quiroga. The story tells the story of a newlywed couple who, shortly after starting to live together, the wife falls ill. The woman’s diagnosis is anemia, so her husband takes care of her while she stays in bed on a feather pillow.
Due to the illness, the wife hallucinates and worsens until she dies. This story of suspense and terror comes to an end when they realize that the reason for her illness and death was inside the cushion.
2. One of these days – Gabriel Garcia Marquez
Gabriel García Márquez was a great writer of Colombian nationality. In this story, we are introduced to a dentist who attends to a mayor of the city where he resides. The mayor is a character who has abused his power and has mistreated the town, and now he is suffering from an infected tooth.
The main theme of the story is the rivalry and confrontation between the two characters and the brief truce that occurs between them. The dentist, seeing the pain in the mayor’s eyes, decides to extract the tooth, but without anesthesia due to the infection.
3. The rattlesnake – Gustavo Díaz Solís
The crotalo is a story written by the Venezuelan writer Gustavo Díaz Solís. The whole story takes place from the perspective of a snake that is moving through the garden of a house where a family of 3 (mother, father, and son) is.
Later in the tale, the snake arrives at the crib where the couple’s child is. She watches him and tries to attack, but fails. The baby is scandalized and the woman arrives in the room, where the snake admires her ankles and in order to feed itself wants to sink its venomous fangs into her.
4. The Fortune Teller – Jorge Luis Borges
This is a short story by Jorge Luis Borges, an Argentine writer. It is one of the most popular short stories that the author has written. It narrates the situation in which a person who wants to get a doctorate as a fortune teller finds himself, and to do so he must pass a test.
The examining wizard asks the other character if he will fail or if not, he will pass the exam. To answer this trick question, the candidate must predict her own future, which makes the situation tense within the story.
5. The Giraffe – Juan Jose Arreola
“The Giraffe” is a short story by award-winning Mexican writer Juan José Arreola. It tells the story of how God created the giraffe, how each of his body parts manages to work against the adversities of nature.
Its long neck allows it to reach high up in the trees for food, and its heart is so strong that it manages to bring blood to every part of its body against the force of gravity. And despite his abilities from time to time, he turns his face to the ground to drink water, as donkeys do.
6. The bat – Eduardo Galeano
Eduardo Galeano, an Uruguayan writer and author of this story, was one of the most influential in Latin American writing. “The bat” is a children’s story that describes how the protagonist, the animal of the title, flies to the heavens to ask God to give him feathers to cover himself from the cold. God grants his request and adorns him with the best feathers of different colors.
When flying, it left a trail of colors behind it, which is interpreted as the creation of the rainbow. This caused the bat’s vanity to grow and make fun of the other birds. The latter, angry, ask God to return their feathers for the behavior of the bat. Being naked, he now flies fast and at night only the bat, to hide his shame.
7. David’s Sling – Augusto Monterroso
Honduras was the country that saw the birth of the writer Augusto Monterroso, considered one of the greatest representatives of the short story. “David’s Slingshot” describes him as a boy who had excellent marksmanship using a slingshot and shooting pebbles at birds.
His parents, realizing it, decide to talk to him so that he stops doing such a thing, they convince him in such a way that the boy then limits himself to just shooting the children with the stones. Over time, this action takes his life. He fought in World War II and was decorated for killing thirty-six men. But he was sentenced to death for letting a carrier pigeon escape.
8. Lower the jib – Ana María Shua
Ana María Shua is an Argentine writer, one of the few writers who has micro-stories among her works. “Lower the jib” is one of those micro-stories. It tells how during a storm, the captain of a ship and his deputy shout orders in order to counteract the effects of the typhoon.
The funny thing is that the words they use to give the orders are unknown to the sailors, so the fuss that occurs is not to comply with the orders, but rather to look for a dictionary that makes them understand.
9. Instructions to cry – Julio Cortázar
Julio Cortázar is one of the greatest representatives of Latin American literature, not only from Argentina, his country of birth. This story, “Instructions for Crying” explains in detail what happens while we cry.
Although the topic is about “how to cry”, he does it in a mocking tone. The reading takes a humorous path for the simple fact that she is giving instructions on how to cry correctly, and how to know when we have stopped crying.
10. The Dinosaur – Augusto Monterroso
This short story by Augusto Monterroso can give you one of two sensations. Either you don’t find interest in what he tells or you start to go round and round in order to understand it. We have someone who either before going to sleep, or during sleep, or at some other time has encountered a dinosaur, and when he wakes up, the prehistoric animal is still there.
The way they let it be known that the dinosaur is still there provides a sense of menace. As if the character in the story still finds it hard to believe that the animal has remained in the same place it was prior to the dream. It is a short story capable of awakening our imagination to give meaning to what we are reading.
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