Beginning with the 1979 publication of Alejo Carpentier's El arpa y la sombra, the New Historical Novel has become the dominant genre within Latin American fiction. In this at-times tongue-in-cheek postmodern study, Seymour Menton explores why the New Historical Novel has achieved such popularity and offers discerning readings of numerous works.
Menton argues persuasively that the proximity of the Columbus Quincentennial triggered the rise of the New Historical Novel. After defining the historical novel in general, he identifies the distinguishing features of the New Historical Novel.
Individual chapters delve deeply into such major works as Mario Vargas Llosa's La guerra del fin del mundo, Abel Posse's Los perros del paraíso, Gabriel García Márquez's El general en su laberinto, and Carlos Fuentes' La campaña. A chapter on the Jewish Latin American novel focuses on several works that deserve greater recognition, such as Pedro Orgambide's Aventuras de Edmund Ziller en tierras del Nuevo Mundo, Moacyr Scliar's A estranha nação de Rafael Mendes, and Angelina Muñiz's Tierra adentro.