Those who study and teach at South Ural State University do not have a problem of keeping themselves busy in the self-isolation: thanks to a unique Electronic SUSU platform, students can "attend classes" according to the schedule. Studies develop you in terms of your profession, but how to improve your general cultural level when all the museums, libraries, theatres and cinema theatres are closed?
We knew the answer to this question already back in our school days: reading works of literature both helps you develop and provides entertainment. That is why the Department of the Russian Language and Literature of the Institute of Media, Social Sciences and Humanities has prepared a "World Bestsellers" materials series from which all those in self-isolation could learn about the works of the world literature that every educated person must read.
There are many lists recommending the best masterpieces from the world literature repertoire. But the list suggested by the Department of the Russian Language and Literature of the Institute of Media, Social Sciences and Humanities includes the books, which will not only expand your reader's competences, but will also support you emotionally. The presented books provide descriptions of the complex psychology of the characters and have a psychotherapeutic effect on the reader. Today, when the whole world needs to remember what it is like to enjoy life, this seems to be of special importance.
The literature of Latin America, which gifted the world with a constellation of outstanding authors and poets, as well as with six Nobel Prize Winners, is inimitable, colourful and inconceivably fascinating.
No self-respecting reader should ignore the brightest works by the authors from various countries of South America and Mesoamerica, united under the term of "Latin-American literature". And if you got a free moment and suddenly feel an irresistible desire to immerse into this enchanting world filled with legends and tales, aromas and flavours of national cuisine, passionate and dizzying love and existential solitude, heroic wars and battles, tropical mysteries and historical collisions, and much more, then the Department of the Russian Language and Literature of South Ural State University can suggest several bestsellers you must turn your attention to.
Few people know that the title of the popular song No One Writes to the Colonel by the Russian Bi-2 band from Brother 2 iconic movie was borrowed from a novel of the same name by a Colombian novelist Gabriel García Márquez (1927—2014) awarded the 1982 Nobel Prize in Literature. The novel is a casual, but at the same time, intense narration about a colonel, a hero of the civil war in Colombia, which resulted in the independence of Panama. For many years the colonel is suffering in impoverishment while, to no avail, expecting for a letter from the capital city regarding the pension he has to be paid as the war veteran:
The postmaster didn't raise his head.
'Nothing for the colonel,' he said.
The colonel felt ashamed.
'I wasn't expecting anything,' he lied. He turned to the doctor with an entirely
childish look. 'No one writes to me.'
But the true fame and worldwide recognition came to Gabriel García Márquez after the release of his novel One Hundred Years of Solitude, which is a gem of the new Latin-American novels and those written in the style of "magical realism". The past, the present and the future of the town of Macondo and its founders, the Buendía Family, is closely intertwined with the magical events (ascension of Remedios the Beauty), historical reality (civil wars, banana campaign), and autobiographical details (Aracataca, the home village of Márquez, was the Macondo's prototype):
"...for it was foreseen that the city of mirrors (or mirages) would be wiped out by the wind and exiled from the memory of men at the precise moment when Aureliano Babilonia would finish deciphering the parchments, and that everything written on them was unrepeatable since time immemorial and forever more, because races condemned to one hundred years of solitude did not have a second opportunity on earth."
This novel was translated into 35 languages and is considered to be the most important work of literature written in Spanish, after Don Quixote novel by Miguel de Cervantes.
Another significant representative of the Latin-American literature is the Brazilian writer Jorge Amado (1912—2001), the author of about 30 novels, with the most famous ones being Gabriela, Clove and Cinnamon; Dona Flor and Her Two Husbands; Tereza Batista: Home from the Wars, and others.
The Russian audience, thanks to the popular Soviet-times movie The Sandpit Generals, as well as to the song March of the Fishermen performed by Neschastny Sluchai band (literally "Unfortunate Accident"), knows mostly the early novel by this author titled Captains of the Sands, which was published in 1937. The novel, which in its plot is similar to a story for children by G. Belykh and L. Panteleyev titled The Republic of ShKID, narrates about a gang of underage orphans, who lived on theft and robbery in Bahia, a state in Brazil, in the 1930s:
"There was about a hundred of them (no one knew for sure their exact numbers), and almost half of them spent the nights in the tattered former port warehouse. Ragged, dirty, half-starved, daring, swearing now and again, with ever-present cigarette butts between their teeth, they were the true masters of the city, the ones who knew it up and down and loved it wholeheartedly, they were the poets who praised it."
The contemporary Argentine writer Federico Andahazi (born 1963) became world-famous thanks to his scandalous novel The Anatomist, narrating about an extraordinary discovery by a certain well-known anatomist and healer, who lived in the Middle Ages, in the times of the Inquisition. The novel City of Heretics is as intriguing and provocative; here the author makes a controversial attempt to interpret the origin of the great Christian relic, the Shroud of Turin.
"The pilgrims, who were looking at this person on the fabric with tears in their eyes, could not know that they were mourning over the most brutal and purposeless torments ever suffered in Lirey."
We would like to end this news piece with the words by the great Gabriel García Márquez, who was eternally in love with his country, literature and life:
"We are entering the era of Latin America, the world's major generator of creative imagination — the most precious raw material, which the new world is so much in need of. One hundred of its portrayals could become a great premonition of a continent yet to be discovered, where happiness will triumph over death, where there will be peace eternal and more time, health, hot food, passionate rumba, and more of all the very best for everyone. In a few words: more love."