A Multifaceted Spanish Writer: 6 Books by Carol Zardetto
Carol Zardetto books are an enjoyable exploration of Guatemala’s past and present culture. The writing style of Zardetto is all over the place, as her refusals to be labeled and her exploration of all kinds of genres—from novel to short stories, with essays, script-writing, and even a libretto for an opera—can attest.
Read this article to learn more about Carol Zardetto books, her life, and the benefits of reading literature in Spanish. If you love Latin American literature and want to improve your Spanish, you can’t miss this post.
Benefits of Reading Literature in Spanish
You can learn Spanish in a wide array of methods. You can focus on speaking or listening activities. You can get a grammar book and learn all the Spanish grammar rules. You can also learn Spanish through a mobile application, by playing games, or by reading literature in Spanish. A balanced approach that mixes all of these options might be the best way to go.
Research has shown that reading literature in Spanish has many benefits for learners of the language. Perhaps one of the easiest to grasp is the fact that it keeps students motivated. Literature is storytelling at its best, and following a good story will always be more attractive than sitting in the classroom learning grammar rules by rote.
Literature goes the farthest! Reading in Spanish gives you exposure to those same grammar rules applied to real-life situations alongside a native level of fluency. What’s more, you learn idiomatic expressions and get familiar with the application of the language in different contexts.
Carol Zardetto Biography
Carol Zardetto is a Guatemalan novelist, journalist, play-writer, and script-writer. She belongs to the generation of authors who grew up during the years of Guatemala’s civil war, and she reflects that experience in her works.
In 2004, Zardetto’s first book, “With Absolute Passion” (Con Pasión Absoluta) won the Mario Monteforte Toledo Central American Novel Award. In 2010, she wrote the script for La Flor del Café documentary, which won a nomination for best documentary at the Ícaro Film Festival.
Zardetto writes about the situation in modern Guatemala, and has explored the topic of racism in her native country. She has also written about other Latin American countries such as Cuba. She’s a multifaceted author and one of Guatemala’s finest intellectuals.
6 Best Carol Zardetto Books
The following is a list of the best Carol Zardetto books you can read to practice your Spanish and learn more about the fascinating Latin American culture.
1. With Absolute Passion (Con pasión absoluta)
Con pasión absoluta is Zardetto’s first novel and it is still the best of Carol Zardetto books. In it, the author tells the story of a girl who grew up in the Civil War Guatemala and eventually left the country to settle in Vancouver.
The story has several elements of Zardetto’s own life, as she also grew up in Guatemala during those years and lived in Vancouver at some point in her life. The novel is an attempt to reconcile her own personal past with that of her country.
This novel received high acclaim from the critics when published in 2004, and launched Zardetto’s fruitful and productive literary career.
2. The Crazy Man’s Speech: Tarot Stories (El discurso del loco: Cuentos del Tarot)
Among Carol Zardetto books, this one might be one of her most ambitious works. What started as a purely ludic experience, as confessed by the author herself, El discurso del loco became a self-exploratory book using the tarot as an excuse to discuss a diversity of topics.
The book contains 21 short stories—one story for each one of the tarot cards—from where Zardetto launches her imagination into characters from all kinds of worlds, including a Chinese emperor, an indigenous employee, a 16th century young man who somehow met Rabelais.
A kaleidoscopic book that may be a good introduction to Zardetto’s work, due to its short story format.
3. When the Rolling Stones Arrived in Havana (Cuando los Rolling Stones llegaron a La Habana)
Another book in which Zardetto feeds her work from her own personal experience. Here, she tells the story of a trip to Cuba to film a documentary there, in a sort of travel journal, mixed with novel, and essay genres.
The Rolling Stones are always there in the background, as a dream or a pretext, but have nothing to do with the main story. The theme here is the situation in Cuba, portrayed without prejudice, just like a documentary itself.
A very personal work in which you can read Zardetto’s own take on one of Latin America’s biggest taboos: the Cuban revolution.
4. The City of Minotaurs (La ciudad de los minotauros)
New York is the city of minotaurs, a place that welcomes everyone and devours many. In this case, the city is benevolent, facilitates love, and raises questions about one’s own past.
Felipe is a Guatemalan man living in the East Village when he meets a woman and embarks on a path into self-discovery that will eventually take him back to Guatemala to find his own identity.
One of the most recent Carol Zardetto books, La ciudad de los minotauros is a complex work that showcases the author’s cosmopolitanism and multicultural approach.
5. The Trip of the Fragmented Woman (El viaje de la mujer fragmentada)
In this case, Zardetto uses her legal background to write a book whose goal is to help prevent the violence against women, which is still a huge problem in Latin America.
On the pages of El viaje de la mujer fragmentada, you learn about real cases of violence against women and the legal options available for women to fight against it.
Although not strictly a literary work, if you love Carol Zardetto books, you’re going to enjoy its text, where she shows her most committed side.
6. Guatemalan Stories (Cuentos guatemaltecos)
Granted, this isn’t one of Carol Zardetto books, or at least not only from her. This collection of Guatemalan stories includes some of the best Guatemalan writers alive, Carol Zardetto, Eduardo Halfon, and Dante Liano, among others.
This book is a true gem of Guatemalan literature and a very enjoyable reading. Exploring a wide variety of themes that go from exile, violence, and the indigenous identity of the country, Cuentos guatemaltecos is a fascinating window into the Guatemalan way of life.
Read Spanish, Learn Spanish!
Reading Carol Zardetto books helps you to learn Spanish, gets you closer to Guatemalan culture, and gives you a glimpse into Latin America. Understanding the culture and history of a Spanish-speaking country such as Guatemala, makes it easier for you to visit it and to communicate with the locals.
Sign up for a free class with one of our certified, native Spanish teachers from Guatemala. They teach over 24,000 actively enrolled students every month and have been doing it for more than 10 years. You can start speaking in Spanish about Guatemala’s literature and Carol Zardetto books today!
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