Some claim that if one does not understand One hundred year of solitude one does not understand Latin America. I have read that book twice - and think about it often. The truth is I don't understand it as well as I wish even though I have lived in Latin America most of my life. Latin America is complex.
There is something very profound in the claim about One hundred years of solitude. What is it? To drop the boom boldly: most of us in LA come from a bizarre sexual encounter between Spaniard conquerors and indigenous women. This is not a new story, a lot of us are aware of this. But I often think in the historical effects of that on the development of social and economic institutions. Specially on enforcement mechanisms of institutions.
Two years ago I read Díaz's The brief wondrous life of Oscar Wao (see a review in the NYT). He writes about foku which is a curse that runs trough some families, which at the end of the day makes them unhappy. This is what I think is linked to the bizarre sexual encounter.
Today the New Yorker published a fantastic story by Junot Díaz, "Miss Lora." Like anything Días writes, it is wonderful. It made me think about foku, the bizarre encounter, and the enforcement of institutions.
Fortunately things are changing . . .