While we wait for the world to normalise, we turn to our travel dreams to sustain us. With our eyes on South America, here are our recommendations for 3 novels that’ll spark your interest and inspire you to plan for future travels.


Dona Flor and Her Two Husbands

Set in the Brazilian state of Bahia during the 1940s, Jorge Amado’s classic novel Dona Flor and Her Two Husbands draws on a basis of Afro-Brazilian folklore and rituals for its fantastic and mystical story. It begins with the sudden death of Vadinho, the gambling, partying, two-timing husband of the titular Dona Flor. After a time the mournful widow meets and marries Teodoro, a kind, considerate man who is a pillar of the community and the exact opposite of her first husband. But when Vadinho’s ghost appears, Dona Flor is torn between the irresistible attraction she feels for the ghost and her desire to be a good and faithful wife to Teodoro.

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Artificial Respiration

Part epistolary novel, part fictional memoir, part detective novel, Artificial Respiration by the Argentine writer Ricardo Piglia has been universally acclaimed. The book is set in Argentina and divided into two parts. The first follows the lives of four characters across four generations, spanning from the middle of the nineteenth century into the 1970s. The second sees two characters engaged in extensive discussions of literary theories.

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The House of the Spirits

We couldn’t make this list without mentioning Isabel Allende’s debut novel The House of the Spirits. The book was an instant bestseller when it was first published in 1982, is taught in classrooms around the world, and has been adapted into a Hollywood movie, two plays, and a television series which is still in production. A classic example of magical realism, the novel follows the Trueba family through four generations in an ever-changing post-colonial Chile - although the country is never explicitly named.

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