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  • From Africa to Malambo:The Narratives of Lucía Charún-Illescas
  • Emmanuel Harris II

Malambo (1950), Lucía Charún-Illescas's first novel, is arguably the most accessible Afro-Peruvian work available today. The novel has already been translated into Italian (Giunti Gruppo Editoriale 2000, and English, Swan Isle Press 2004). Luciá Charún-Illescas, originally from Lima, currently resides in Hamburg, Germany, where she is active in writing and serving as an unofficial ambassador of her native land, especially for Afro-Peruvians. Incorporating a variety of narrative and stylistic techniques, the novel is historical fiction that demonstrates, reaffirms, and celebrates the African connections in the Black Diaspora in Peru, while underscoring the indisputable connections of these peoples with the cohabiting ethnic and racial communities.

The town of Malambo existed on the outskirts of Lima, in a region inhabited primarily by blacks and indigenous people. Established on the banks of the Rímac river, it was one of the most important black enclaves in the history of Lima. Charún-Illescas's Malambo takes place around the late-sixteenth to the mid-seventeenth century at a time when Peru was still the center of Spanish vice-regal rule and Lima, in particular, was the center of the Spanish American Inquisition. She creates a work that celebrates the African Diaspora in order to emphasize and provide a rebirth to a new and more profound understanding of the African presence in Perú. In the selection that follows we observe Tomasón, a semi-free slave, painter, and griot figure, who forms the center of the novel. He meets and eventually takes in an escaped slave, Francisco Parra, and his daughter, Pancha, who masters traditional African medicinal remedies using herbs and roots.

Though the setting of the novel is Peru, vast connections can be made with the history of the African Diaspora at the time of the slave trade. African ancestored cultures and communities that rose from the Black Atlantic demonstrate that the histories of black folk are indivisibly intertwined. In Malambo we witness the connections between the Spanish, the Portuguese, the blacks, mestizos and mulattos, the indigenous, Jews and Christians, and the rich and the poor. Charún-Illescas's Malambo is a unique and unforgettable contemporary work of historical fiction that is wrought with passion and intrigue. Her story is a contemporary novel written by a woman of African descent that grants primacy to Afro-Latino perspectives. Likewise the events of the narrative show the often negated, marginalized, or even forgotten connections found in communities throughout the Americas. [End Page 256]

Emmanuel Harris II
University of North Carolina, Wilmington
  • De África a Malambo:Las narrativas de Lucía Charún-Illescas
  • Emmanuel Harris II

Malambo (2001), la primera novela de Lucía Charún-Illescas (n. 1950), es probablemente la obra afroperuana más accesible hoy día. La novela ya ha sido traducida al italiano (Giunti Gruppo Editoriale 2000, e inglés, Swan Isle Press 2004). Lucía Charún-Illescas, originalmente de Lima y ganadora de varios premios literarios nacionales e internacionales, actualmente vive en Hamburgo, Alemania donde concientemente escribe y sirve como embajadora no oficial de su tierra natal y especialmente de los afroperuanos. Incorporando una variedad de técnicas narrativas y estilísticas, la novela es ficción histórica que demuestra, reafirma y celebra las conexiones en la diáspora negra del Perú, mientras subraya las afiliaciones innegables de esta gente con las comunidades étnicas y raciales cohabitantes.

El pueblo de Malambo existía en las afueras de Lima, en una región poblada mayormente por negros e indígenas. Fundado en las orillas del río Rímac, es uno de los más importantes núcleos negros en la historia de Lima. La novela Malambo toma lugar aproximadamente a los finales del siglo dieciséis hasta la mitad del siglo diecisiete en una época en la que el Perú todavía era el centro de la Inquisición española en las Américas. La obra celebra la diáspora africana para enfatizar y proveer un renacimiento para un nuevo y aún más profundo entendimiento de la presencia negra en...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1080-6512
Print ISSN
0161-2492
Pages
pp. 256-469
Launched on MUSE
2011-05-19
Open Access
No
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