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Kokotovic, Misha

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Kokotovic, Misha. - The Colonial Divide in Peruvian Narrative: Social Conflict and Transculturation. Sussex Libraries of Study, Latin American series, Sussex Academic Press, BrightonBN2 5SP. 2005.ISBN 1845190297.

For anyone wondering about the “relevance” of Peruvian narrative, this is a wonderful book. The title suggests that we might be about to read a text heavy with modernist jargon. The reverse is true. Misha Kokotovic writes exceptionally clearly and you do not have to have mastered the semantics of post-colonial discourse to enjoy this history and critique of Peruvian literature, in which the year 1941 comes across as “a key date” when both Broad and Alien is the World by Ciro Alegría and Yawar Fiesta by José María Arguedas are published. Observing in Chapter 1 the difference in narrative form and language between these two works Kokotovic goes on, in the following chapter, to plot the plot from development theory to Pachacutiy in Arguedas’s anthropology and fiction of the 1950’s. The interplay between feudalism, capitalism, indigenous culture and class struggle is dealt with in Chapter 3, whilst the analysis in the next chapter of the “urban narrative” treats the transformation of “white settler” cities by Andean migrants. It is a particularly valuable contribution. Peru ’s most prolific author and the subject of cultural heterogeneity and neo-liberal modernity is left to the final chapter which carries the provocative title “Mario Vargas Llosa writes of(f) the Native”. An epilogue brings us pretty much up-to-date. Altogether a rich source of material and references and a “must-read” for Arguedianists and post-Arguedianists alike.





Journal of Peruvian Studies

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