10 Significant Works of 21st Century Spanish Literature
If you’re a Spanish literature enthusiast, then you’ve probably heard of authors like Gabriel García Márquez and Isabel Allende. While these famous Spanish authors wrote their names into history in the 20th century, up-and-coming writers continue to create modern new works.
With a plethora of current Spanish literature at your fingertips online, it’s time to dive into some of the most significant and thought-provoking stories of our own time. Who knows, the current Spanish author you’re reading just might be the next Pablo Neruda!
Keep reading to discover 10 works from this century so you can practice your Spanish with the most current language, settings, and plots.
What is 21st Century Spanish Literature?
We’re just 21 years into the 21st century, and the 2000s have already brought about exponential growth in technology leaving no corner untouched. Technology continues to impact every aspect of our lives—even literature!
Spanish literature of the 21st century includes both prose and poetry. Many of the works questions the purpose and nature of art in the current context of information technology.
Generación Mutante (“Afterpop”) led the creation of this new literature hybrid. This generation is made up of a group of Spanish writers born between 1960 and 1976. Afterpop gets its name from the surplus of pop culture among the Spanish youth of the early 21st century. This group is full of nonconformists who share common themes about the power of image and the media.
10 Significant Works of 21st Century Spanish Literature
Get cozy in your favorite reading chair with these high-quality works of 21st century Spanish literature.
2666 is the last novel by Spanish author Roberto Bolaño. It was released in 2004, a year after his death. This story revolves around an elusive German author and the unsolved and ongoing murders of women in Santa Teresa, a violent city inspired by Ciudad Juárez and its epidemic of female homicides.
Other settings and themes include the Eastern Front in World War II, the academic world, mental illness, journalism, and the breakdown of relationships and careers. 2666 explores 20th-century degeneration through a wide array of characters, locations, time periods, and stories within stories.
The original Spanish edition is over 1,100 pages long. The story is divided into five parts filled with multiple storylines.
Author: Roberto Bolaño
2.Divorcio en el aire (Divorce Is in the Air)
This novel by Gonzalo Torné centers around Joan-Marc’s goal to save his failing marriage. However, Joan-Marc eventually finds out that some things in life are irreversible. When faced with an unchangeable past and a collapsing future, Joan Marc uncovers who he really is.
Dive into the human psyche and its fragile identity through these relatable pages. Discover a character that is almost neutral in his dilemma, very real, and completely human.
3.La catedral del mar (Cathedral of the Sea)
Cathedral of the Sea is a 2006 historical novel by Spanish author Ildefonso Falcones. The action takes place in 14th century Barcelona during the construction of Santa Maria del Mar and the Spanish inquisition.
A young man named Arnau falls in love with a forbidden woman. After being betrayed, he gets sent to the Inquisitor. The Inquisitor turns out to be an old friend of Arnau, but will that be enough to save him?
If you love the story, be sure to also check out the recent Netflix drama based on the book!
4. La Fiesta del Chivo (The Feast of the Goat)
Peruvian author Mario Vargas Llosa’s The Feast of the Goat is set in the Dominican Republic and portrays the assassination of Dominican dictator Rafael Trujillo. The author tells the story from two different times: the assasination occurs in May 1961, while the aftermath perspective is set 35 years later in 1996.
The story follows three intertwined storylines. A woman returns to the Dominican Republic to aid her ailing father. Meanwhile, Trujillo’s storyline focuses on the day of his assasination and gives insight into the regime. The last storyline depicts the assassins along with their ultimate fate.
Explore the Dominican Republic’s past and present political and social environment through this captivating read.
5. Sangre en el ojo (Seeing Red)
This autobiographical novel details author Lina Meruane’s true story of progressive blindness with a fictional twist. Meruane is losing more than just her sight. This journey will challenge her partner, her self-love, and even her identity. Will Meruane’s illness motivate her to choose the right path?
6. Las cosas que perdimos en el fuego (Things We Lost in the Fire)
This collection of short stories is an international bestseller. Get sucked into a spine-chilling and political reappraisal of the horror genre. Mariana Enríquez offers a new view of reality through her distortion of everyday life. From haunted houses to murders this reality-changing book will leave you with a new perspective.
7. Tu rostro mañana (Your face tomorrow)
The protagonist narrator—Jacques, Jaime, or Jacobo Deza—discovers that in the more or less pacified Western world, there is a need for betrayal and violence that is inoculated into us like a poison.
This gripping tale, told with the mastery by Javier Maríasof, one of the best contemporary novelists, is profound and daring.
8. Señales que precederán al fin del mundo (Signs Preceding the End of the World)
Follow Makina on her quest to find her lost brother in this original work of Mexican fiction by Yuri Herrera. Finding her missing sibling take more than putting up flyers. Young Makina must descend the nine steps of pre-Columbian mythology and face the place of the Lords of Death. Herrera creates a new reality that addresses life’s inseparability from death.
Where to find it? Click here for the English version or here for Spanish.
9. El viajero del siglo (Traveler of the Century)
Enjoy an incisive, ingenious, and ambitious story through El viajero del siglo. This historical fiction novel by Andrés Neuman follows a traveler named Hans as he gives up his nomadic life. After meeting Sophie, Hans is changed forever. Dive into fictional 19th-century Europe that will leave you with insights into present day.
10. La sombra del viento (The Shadow of the Wind)
A best-seller by Carlos Ruiz Zafón, The Shadow of the Wind centers on Barcelona in 1945. The city is still recovering from the Spanish Civil War and Daniel is reeling from the loss of his mother. But after uncovering a mysterious book, Daniel goes on a literature search and discovers one of Barcelona’s darkest secrets that just might be meant to stay hidden.
What’s Your Favorite Piece of Spanish Literature?
What other modern Spanish literature have you discovered? If you’re still searching for your first Spanish read, be sure to check out our Spanish literature recommendations. Whether you’re looking for advanced books for adults, bilingual books, or fun stories for your young student, Homeschool Spanish Academy has something for everyone. Leave me a comment about your favorite piece of Spanish literature and what you plan to read next!
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