Did you know these famous books were initially written in Spanish?

You probably didn’t know that many of the most famous and best-selling books of recent times were written by Spanish-speaking writers. Most of them were translated into English but were originally published in Spanish.

Many readers need to pay more attention to this fact, not considering that the books they are reading were written in another language; therefore, what they read is a translation of what the author originally wrote.

Spanish is not only one of the most widely spoken languages in the world (more and more people are taking a spanish course to learn the language), but it is also one of the most widely read languages.

Spanish has a vibrant, diverse and vast literature, as there are texts in this language written in all parts of the world. Several of the most famous writers are from Latin America or Spain.

Reading a book that has been translated is not the same as reading it in its original language since part of the essence is lost in the translation process. That is why many reading fanatics have opted to take Spanish lessons to read the original version of their favourite titles.

This article will show which successful books were initially written in Spanish and later translated into English. Let’s get started!

“The Time of the Hero”

This book written by Mario Vargas Llosa is titled in Spanish “La ciudad y los perros”. Mario Vargas Llosa is a Peruvian-born writer and is considered one of the most prestigious novelists of recent times. He has won many awards, including a Cervantes Prize and the Nobel Prize for Literature.

This book was the one that catapulted him to fame; it is a story that criticises the Peruvian military service through satire, based on his experience in the military school. Thousands of copies were publicly burned, as it was condemned for propaganda against the country. Of course, this angered the school and the army service, so the book was banned.

This book is as interesting as the story behind it, as with most banned books.

“Love in the Time of Cholera”

This love story, written by Gabriel García Marquez and published in 1985, was initially titled in Spanish “El amor en los tiempos del cólera”. Gabriel García Marquez was a Colombian writer and a great exponent of the Latin American literary boom, along with Carlos Fuentes and Mario Vargas Llosa. Winner of a Nobel Prize in Literature for his novels that mix fantasy with reality; also recognised as one of magical realism’s most essential writers.

This particular literary work takes place in the 1800s in the Caribbean and is a love story that takes the reader through loss and reunion.

“Like Water for Chocolate”

A novel was written by Laura Esquivel, whose original name in Spanish is “Como agua para chocolate”. Born in Mexico, Laura Esquivel is a writer (and also a politician) who has become an internationally recognised author thanks to this novel that has not only been translated into English but also into 29 other languages.

Laura uses magical realism in most of her works. In the case of the famous “Como agua para chocolate” from 1989, she wanted to highlight the critical role that the kitchen plays in a home, in the dynamics of a family and promotes the changes and internal evolution of each character. In 1992, Alfonso Arau (Laura’s husband) decided to take this novel to the movies. The film was very successful in several countries.

“The house of the spirits”

This novel written by Isabel Allende is originally titled in Spanish “La casa de los espíritus”. Isabel was born in Peru and is considered one of the most widely-read authors in the Spanish language. Her works are among the best sellers worldwide and have been translated into more than 40 languages. Today she is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters and has also won several literary awards, such as the National Literature Prize of Chile.

The House of the Spirits was the first novel within the genre of magical realism, published by the writer in 1982 and was a resounding success. It tells the story of the Trueba family, through four generations, in Chile. From the early 1900s until 1970, through different political and social movements during Chile’s post-colonial era. The novel covers themes that are part of life itself, such as love, death, family, social classes, politics and revolution, with the addition of fantastic elements such as ghosts.

“The shadow of the wind”

The novel written by Carlos Ruiz Zafón, whose Spanish title is “La somba del viento”, is a romantic thriller set in the city of Barcelona.

The writer is originally from Spain, born in Barcelona, and has managed to position himself among the most recognised worldwide writers thanks to the resounding success of this novel, which has won many awards and occupies a place in the list of the best 100 Spanish language books of the last 25 years.

“The shadow of the wind” has sold more than 15 million copies, becoming a bestseller, and is the first part of a saga of 4 novels.

“The House of Bernarda Alba”

It is a play written by Federico García Lorca in 1936 about a woman, Bernarda Alba, who is widowed for the second time at the age of sixty and decides to live in mourning for the years to come. The play deals with themes such as the role of women in a very traditional, religious and violent society in Spain in the early 1900s. It highlights other pieces, such as fear, refusal to discover intimacy, and religious fanaticism.

Federico García Lorca was born in 1898 in Spain, and at the age 38, he was shot during the Spanish Civil War. He wrote numerous plays and poems, considered one of the most influential playwrights of Spanish theatre and one of the most popular and effective poets in Spanish literature during the 20th century.

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