This novel, published in 1993 during the worst years of social upheaval in contemporary Peru (the years of Sendero Luminoso [Shining Path] and the economic crisis caused by hyperinflation), responds to these conflicts that have subsumed reality through the creation of an all-encompassing utopia. Edgardo Rivera Martínez’s text starts off by addressing the utopian quality of Jauja since colonial times, taking into account Fernando Ainsa’s reflections on utopia as a consistent strategy with which to confront contemporary reality alongside Ernst Bloch’s theorizing of the need to convert utopia into a viable project. Rivera Martínez’s novel thus can be read as a possible solution to the alienation of both life and culture of those who confront an historical reality that has traditionally been seen as hostile such as that between the Andean world and the Western tradition. The author relays these ideas through the tale of a summer in the life of Claudio Alaya, an adolescent who spends his days reading the Iliad and Antigone, and interpreting the reality of both Jauja and his own family in light of the conflicts between Agamemnon and Helen of Troy and the rest of the characters of classical mythology, as well as learning how to play the organ and the piano. Of note here is how the author creates a permanent consciousness of the margins of two cultural traditions, and thus one less of overcoming the traditional discord between the Western and the Andean.


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pp. 525-546
Launched on MUSE
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