This article is about the literary movement. For the book, see McOndo (book).
McOndo, an exotic place of exotic people: Continental Latin America.

McOndo is a Latin American literary movement that breaks from the dominant Magical Realism (Realismo mágico) mode of narration, and counters it with the strong, ideologic associations of the cultural and narrative languages of the mass communications media,[1] and with the modernity of urban living; the experience of town versus country, of McOndo vs. Macondo.[2] The literature of McOndo presents urban Latin (American) life in “the City”, an experience the opposite of the rural, “natural world” of Macondo, the archetypal “Latin American Country” presented in the literature of Magical Realism.[2] Philosophically, the McOndo vs. Macondo intellectual opposition is to the latter's literary perpetuation of Latin America as an exotic place of exotic people, which presents the reader with “reductionist essential-isms that everyone in Latin America wears a sombrero and lives on trees”. Because not everyone wears huaraches and sports a machete in contemporary Latinoamėrica, McOndo literature shows it to be a place of many countries, peoples, and cultures, not the monolithic, “Spanish-speaking worlds” of the banana republic and the dictator novel that preceded modernization.[3]

The realistic narratives of McOndo literature refer and allude to the popular cultures of the U.S. and of Latin America as lived in the cities and suburbs of contemporary Hispanoamėrica — thus the gritty, hard boiled depictions of poverty and crime, of the local economic consequences of globalization, of social class differences, of sex, gender, and of sexual orientation. Despite McOndo literature often being about the social consequences of political economy, the narrative mode usually is less overtly political than that of magical realist literature. The American academic Edmundo Paz-Soldán said that McOndo narrators “move with ease in a world of fast food and fast culture . . . they are the first generation of writers more influenced by mass media than by literary tradition.”[4] Although initially associated with the Mexican “Literatura de la generación del crack” (the Literature of the Crack Generation), which arose in the mid–1990s in counter-reaction to the literary Latin American Boom (1960s–70s),[5] the writers of the McOndo literary movement tell the contemporary experiences of being a Latin American man and a Latin American woman in an urban (and suburban) world that is culturally dominated by the pop culture of the United States.[6]



A beige, boxy computer with a small black and white screen showing a window and desktop with icons.
McOndo: La computadora Macintosh 128K represented the 21st century, as arrived.



In the history of Latin American literature, in the late 1960s, from the fictional place-name Macondo — the rural locale of the novel One Hundred Years of Solitude (1967), by Gabriel García Márquez — derived the terms Macondismo and Macondo, which denoted a magical realist literary movement and a narrative genre. In time, the popularity of stories occurred in rural Macondo began to creatively limit Latin American writers who wrote about urban life in the Latin American city. To free themselves from the creative limitations imposed by the literary and financial success of the Latin American Boom and Macondismo, the McOndo writers reneged the Boom and denounced el Realismo mágico (Magical Realism) as a cultural caricature; and, in counter-reaction, they published literature that realistically presented the experiences of being a Latin American man and a Latin American woman in an urban-suburban world that is culturally dominated by the popular culture of the United States.[7]


In the late 1990s, the Chilean writers Alberto Fuguet and Sergio Gómez published the short-story anthology McOndo (1996), the title of which conflated “McDonald’s” with Macondo, the real with the fictional;[7] Fuguet’s coinage, McOndo denotes a “a world of McDonald’s, Macintoshes and condos”.[8] In comprehending literature about the Latin American experience without magical-realist narrative technique, the book title McOndo evolved into the McOndo literary-movement name.[7][9][9] The etymologic and typographic evolution of the term, from “McOndo” to McOndo to McOndo, from short-story narrative to book-title to literary movement, derived from McOndo as a pun of Macondo. Although pronounced alike, the terms are ideologically unalike, because McOndo literature counters the narrative mode of Macondismo — which required every Latin American novelist to locate stories in the colourful tropical jungle locales where reality and magic occur naturally and equally.[10] Hence, the phonic and typographic resemblances of “McOndo” to “McDonald’s” (the global consumer business), narratively denote and connote the totality of the urban and popular cultures as the existential context of the social effects of consumerism upon the peoples of Latin America in the course their national and societal modernizations.[11]


McOndo: the Plaza de Armas of Santiago de Chile.

By the 1980s, Latin American novelists were progressing past Magical Realism; yet, the McOndo Movement did not coalesce as literature and constitute itself until the middle of the 1990s.[12] In 1994, the Chilean novelist Alberto Fuguet participated in an international writing workshop at the University of Iowa,[12] where he submitted for publication a short story to the Iowa Review magazine; he expected prompt acceptance, translation (to English), and publication, because Latin American writers then were an intellectual vogue in trendy U.S. mainstream culture.[8][12] Yet, upon reading the novelist Fuguet's submitted short story, the Iowa Review editor, taken aback by the realism and no magic, dismissed it as “not Latin American enough . . . [because] the story could have taken place right here, in [North] America.”[12][12] Two years later, in 1996, in retort to the American editorial rebuffing of realist fiction from and about Latin America, Alberto Fuguet and Sergio Gómez in Spain published McOndo (1996) a short-story anthology of contemporary Latin American literature.[13][14] The McOndo anthology comprised 17 stories by Latin American and peninsular Spanish writers, all men whose literary careers began in the 1990s, all of the generation born in the late 1950s.[13][13] The McOndo writers ideologically distanced themselves from Magical Realism because they said it inaccurately represented contemporary Latin America — which, in the 1990s, comprised “shopping malls, cable television, suburbs, and pollution” — because literature had progressed beyond the banana republic Latin America of the dictator novel and Magical Realism; the culture of the 19th and 20th centuries.[13]

The McOndos present the cultural effects and consequences upon Latin American societies of global commerce's erasure of cultural demarcations (among nations and countries), and the consequent cultural homogenization.[13] In an essay, Fuguet criticized the creative limitations that are the “picturesque locale and exotic characters” that publishers grew to expect of Latin American writers — because of the folkloric Macondo stereotype. Citing the Cuban writer Reinaldo Arenas, the literary world (publishers and critics) expected Latin American novelists to tackle only two themes: (i) economic underdevelopment and (ii) cultural exoticism. Hence Fuguet concludes that, despite pretty people and pretty scenery, the contemporary Latin American city–world he (Fuguet) inhabits, is too complicated for Magical Realism to grasp and narrate.[8] In the event, Sergio Gómez and Fuguet’s publication of the McOndo (1996) anthology served a two-fold end: (i) the Fuguet “Introduction” as literary manifesto, and (ii) the supporting anthology of contemporary urban Latin American fiction; the Latin experience of town versus country.[7]

The Crack Generation: Jorge Volpi, Revuelta magazine, 2005 Guadalajara Book Fair, in Mexico.
The Crack Generation: Ignacio Padilla, Revuelta magazine, 2005 Guadalajara Book Fair, in Mexico.

Meanwhile, in Mexico City, during the mid–1990s, simultaneous to McOndo coalescing as a literary movement, La generación del crack (The Crack GenerationJorge Volpi, Ignacio Padilla, Eloy Urroz, Pedro Ángel Palou, and Ricardo Chávez-Castañeda) presented Mexican realist literature flouting the Magical Realism strictures of the Latin American Boom; their ideologic advocacy emphasised that every writer find a voice, not a genre.[7] Their initial publication was the Manifiesto Crack (Crack Manifesto, 1996) published a month earlier than the McOndo (1996) short-story anthology; the literary manifestos proved ideologically sympathetic.[5] Nonetheless, despite shared ideologic antipathy to Magical Realism, McOndo and The Crack Movement were unalike; Edmundo Paz-Soldán observed that McOndo is “a moment in the celebration of the creative mixture of high- and popular- culture”,[15] whilst The Crack Movement has “proposed a sort of élitist re-establishment of values.”[5][16] Literary-world gossip postulates that the anti–magical militancy of McOndo and The Crack Movement derives more from commercial jealousy than from artistic divergence;[17] nonetheless, the criticism might have been ideologically motivated by the international success that allowed magic realist fiction to establish the exotic Macondo as the universal image of Latin America; hence, who controls the novel market controls the cultural image of Latinoamérica that the globalized world perceives.[18][18]

As a literary movement, McOndo then included like ideologies of literature and technique with which to communicate the experience of being Latin American in McOndo.[19] Yet, the McOndos are quasi-apolitical, unlike the mid–twentieth-century Magical Realist novelists, for whom political discourse was the raison d’être of being a public intellectual.[20] Nevertheless, the twenty-first-century modernity of McOndo orients it away from utopian Left-wing ideology (national identity, imperialism, colonialism, et cetera) to the turn-of-the-twentieth-century politics that include “a global, mixed, diverse, urban, twenty-first-century-Latin America, bursting on TV; and apparent in music, art, fashion, film, and journalism; hectic and unmanageable.”[20][21] In the 21st century, contemporary Latin America is an historico–cultural hybrid of the 19th and 21st centuries (cf. dictator novel, banana republic).[21] In the event, the writers of the McOndo (1996) short-story anthology took their discrete literary paths; Alberto Fuguet noted that “divergence, for certain, was expected, for McOndo was not a deal, nor a treaty, nor a sect.”[7][21] Later, some McOndos reneged their literary militancy against Magical Realism; Edmundo Paz Soldán observed that “today, it is very clear, for many of us, that it is naïve to renounce such a wonderful tradition of political engagement on the part of the Latin American writer”.[22]


The thematic substance of McOndo is based upon its literary predecessors, yet its representations of the experience of being a Latin American man and a Latin American woman in an urban (city–suburban) world pervaded by U.S. pop culture, are in direct opposition to the politically-metaphoric, rural narratives used as political discourse by the Latin American Boom generation of writers, especially the magical-realists. Moreover, some novelists left their patrias (fatherlands), for the detached (foreign) perspective unavailable in the homeland.[8] Resultantly, as exiles are wont to do, they idealized their patrias and wrote pithy novels of a land that should have been — yet always was there . . . in the exiled writer's memory; thus the well-crafted fiction did not portray the contemporary national reality that had displaced the country (patria) he departed.[8]

Unlike the magical realist writers, the McOndos wrote “here-and-now!” fiction, about the 21st-century world they inhabit, and which surrounds them, and the homogenizing cultural-identity messages of pervasive mass communications media; to be Latin in an Anglo culture.[8] Because contemporary Latin America is a cultural conflation of the 19th and 21st centuries, the McOndos substantive and technical divergence from Magical Realism (style, narrative mode, etc.) voided their predecessor traditions.[8] Alberto Fuguet explains, “I feel [that] the great literary theme of ‘Latin American identity’ (who are we?) must now take a back seat to the theme of ‘personal identity’ (who am I?).”[8] Whilst rejecting the resultant stereotype “Latin American Literature” derived from Magical Realism, the McOndos nonetheless respect the man; “I’m a really big fan of Márquez, but, what I really hate is the software he created, that other people use . . . they turn [narrative fiction] into more of an aesthetic [exercise] instead of an ideology. Anybody who begins to copy One Hundred Years of Solitude turns it into kitsch.” [23]

Global commerce

McOndo: The industrialised production philosophy of the McDonald’s Corp. reduced Latin American cultures to national kitsch.

As novelistic dialogue, book-title, and literary movement name, McOndo evokes the McDonalds corporate name, and the Macondo place name, (the locale of One Hundred Years of Solitude, 1967). Each variant term has a contemporary cultural denotation for consumerism, for “banana republic”, and for dictator novel literature; each denotes the cultural distortion of Hispanophone societies, by commercial globalization and the psychological flattening that U.S. English-language pop culture impinges upon the cultures native to Latin America; nevertheless, this Anglo cultural hegemony is not exclusive to Latin American literatures, but also occurs in Europe, e.g. the Spanish science fiction film Abre los ojos (Open Your Eyes, 1997), by Alejandro Amenábar.

McOndo literature partly arose to counter the world's uncritical perception of Magical Realism as the definitive literature from and about the societies and cultures of the Latin American countries, especially the novels of Colombian writer Gabriel García Márquez. McOndo novels and short stories transcend such rural limitations by examining, analysing, and comprehending the power dynamics among the Anglophone U.S. and the Hispanophone countries where “American” cultural hegemony maintains its politico-economic hegemony — by importing, to the subject countries, the political economy concept and business-practice of the McJob.

McOndo fiction reports this contemporary, lived urban experience of such an economically unidirectional, Gringo business–Latin labour “work relationship”; of what it is to be a Latin American man and a Latin American woman employed in a McJob in an unmagical city in an unmagical country pervaded with foreign consumerism and its irreconcilable discontents. Furthermore, unlike Magical Realism fiction, McOndo fiction reports the social consequences, at home (in Latinoamérica) and abroad (in el Norte) of this Anglo–Latin relationship; the exemplar book is the McOndo (1996) short-story anthology.

To the world, McOndo writers present the contemporary Latin America that no longer is “Macondo” the exotic land of exotic people presented in the literature of Magical Realism. Despite some remaining banana republic dictatorship façades, the McOndo writer accepts the de facto geopolitical reality of the integration of continental Latin America as a subordinate unitary economy of the globalized economic order. As an artist, then, his or her moral responsibility is communicating to the “globalized world” that the “new” (contemporary) Latin America is McOndo, not Macondo, and that its cultures are hybrid cultures — of headphones and baseball caps, not sombreros and machetes. Many McOndo writers, U.S.A. city-born men and women (chicano, hispanic, Latino, et al.), did not live the rural idyls of magical realist fiction, hence, they see Macondo realistically, not romantically, and write about urban life.

The city and urban space

McOndo fiction shows the connections and relations among the mass communications media, Latin personal identity, and the consequences of their representation or non-representation of urban space; the City is an image that molds the viewer. From said connections derive politically engaged stories of lived experience and created Latino and Latina identities; thus the coinage Urban space denotes and connotes the physical and virtual locales of a life of mistaken identity that cities have become for Latin Americans.

In McOndo narratives, cities and city life are realistically portrayed as places and circumstances rendered virtual (“non-places”) by the technologies of the Internet, cellular telephones, and cable television; virtual space has supplanted physical space in the city.[24] To wit, the writer Ana María Amar Sánchez said that cities have become interchangeable, homogeneously indistinguishable from each other, especially when seen from a distance, whilst riding in a speeding automobile travelling a highway en route to a shopping center; seen so, the city appears virtual, an image in the screen of a computer or a television set.[4]

Unlike Magical Realism, most McOndo stories occur in cities, not the rural world of Macondo; realism, not metaphor, is the mode. McOndo shows the contemporary, 21st-century Latin America of Spanglish hybrid tongues, McDonald’s hamburguesas, and computadoras Mactintosh, that have up-dated the romanticised banana republic worlds of the Latin American Literary Boom of the 1960s and 1970s.

Sex and sexual orientation

In accordance with the contemporary world in which it takes place, the McOndo literary movement addresses the themes of sex and sexuality in a rather modern and unapologetic way. Sex scenes tend to be described and explained realistically and are so detailed in some cases that they reach the point of coming off as vulgar. Sex is not a theme that is unnecessarily romanticized. Furthermore, consistent with McOndo's contemporary and postmodern foundations, gender roles and homosexuality are not ignored as relevant themes in modern society. While these roles and definitions are not shown or explained concretely, they are introduced and portrayed as real contemporary issues that also deal with the conflicts of identity that are ever present in modern Latin America.

In the book Rosario Tijerras by Jorge Franco, sex is one of the most prominent themes. Various sexual acts are described quite graphically and in such vast and descriptive detail; acts of prostitution, graphic and disturbing rape, pedophilia, as well as the sharing of sexual partners. Franco's attention to detail and ability to create such graphic sex scenes makes his novel the perfect example of sex and sexuality as a theme in McOndo literature.

Crime and violence

McOndo: La violencia, the death of Pablo Escobar, by Fernando Botero.

McOndo realism plainly depicts the violent nature of Latin American cultures, thus, crime and criminals are reported, but not judged. Characters wield and use pistols and knives, are violent and practice or suffer rape and murder; direct description communicates Latin urban reality that oblique Macondo metaphor does not. In the article “Breaking Free — Colombian Writers Get Personal”, Andrea Montejo said: “Indeed, the violence that has, for several decades, shaken the country’s major cities, is at the heart of such best-selling novels as [Fernando] Vallejo’s La Virgen de los sicarios [Our Lady of the Assassins, 1993], and [Jorge] Franco’s Rosario Tijeras [1999]. Although very different in their stylistic approaches, both portray the harsh reality of an underworld riddled with drug lords, merciless hit men, and the over-abundance of easy money — all of which have come to be associated with Colombian literature. The latest batch of writers is well aware of their country’s reality, but they have refrained from portraying it in similar terms”.[25]

In the Macondo rural Latin America, violence is occasional, not normal, thus, it could be romanticised; in the McOndo urban Latin America, violence is normal, not occasional — especially in the Mexican and Colombian varieties of McOndo literature. Colombia’s history of rich criminals yielded rich novels describing the psychologic and sociologic foundations of the criminal underworld born from a static, hierarchic society; the social impetus of class and caste. Such works include the Pablo Escobar rags-to-riches biography Pablo Escobar: auge y caída de un narcotraficante, (Pablo Escobar: Rise and Fall of a Narcotrafficker, 2002), by Alonso Salazár, about the best-known Colombian drugs lord of the cocaine world of the 1980s; and Rosario Tijeras, by Jorge Franco, about a woman who progresses from being a criminal’s girlfriend to being an accomplished sicaria (assassin), whereby, she establishes her social, sexual, and economic equality in the sexist, macho drugs underworld of Medellín in the 1980s.

Poverty, caste, and social class

The realistic presentation of the disparity between the rich and the poor of a society, and realistic depictions of poverty are fundamental to the McOndo literature that shows how the introduction of high technology gadgets and contemporary public infrastructure to the poor societies of Latin America result in a greater contrast between First-world wealth and Third-world poverty. Paz-Soldán explained that “In Bolivia there exist small islands of modernity in the middle of a great pre-modern ocean. The collision between tradition and modernity interests me.”[26] These traits of contemporary Latin American life are directly related to the globalization caused, in great part, by economic, political, and social influence of the U.S. In every way, this emphasis on the separation of wealth [from social responsibility] is perhaps one of the most important characteristics of life in contemporary Latin America.” Hence, mass poverty, which is a fundamental political matter in every country of the Third World, is a common theme in the McOndo literature that shows Latin American cities as decrepit, and composed of cramped barrios of houses, huts, and shacks. (See: the novel Rosario Tijerras).

Quotidian life

The short stories in the McOndo anthology depict the daily lives of the urban Latin American characters.[14] The theme of la vida cotidiana, quotidian life, is true to realism, and the perspectives of the literature about contemporary Latin American life depict a urban McOndo, not rural Macondo. The world of the 21st-century Latin American lacks legends and magic, McOndo narrates the world of high technology, computers, and global business franchises.[8]

Notable writers

Writers of the McOndo literary movement include: Alberto Fuguet, Giannina Braschi, Edmundo Paz-Soldán, Hernán Rivera Letelier, Jorge Franco, Pedro Juan Gutiérrez, Pia Barros, Sergio Gomez

Among the most prominent and distinguished is the Chilean writer Alberto Fuguet who won the Premio de Novela Dashiell Hammett. Fuguet is also credited for the creation of the term McOndo which began as a play on the name of Macondo, a town from Gabriel Garcia Marquez's novel One Hundred Years of Solitude. But the term became known as a relief to the Macondoism that required all aspiring Latin American writers to set their tales in tropical jungles where the magical and real happily coexist.



McOndo by Alberto Fuguet and Sergio Gomez, is an anthology of short stories of new Latin American literature which was first published in Spain in 1996.[14] The authors distance themselves from the magical realism genre claiming that it is no longer representative of the situation of modern Latin America and that as they do not live in the same world as the likes of Gabriel García Márquez they should not be expected to write on the same material.[8]

Cortos by Alberto Fuguet examines the complexity of the cultural exchange between north and south in an emotionally charged narrative. “It is a collection of stories which discuss the American phenomenon at its height with characters who search to reinvent themselves as well as find their own identity in their battle against a quarrelsome reality.”[27]

Peliculas de Mi Vida also by Alberto Fuguet “is a novel about cinema and about how the movies that we see become part of who we are”[28] The main character, Beltrán Soler, is on a plane ride home when all of a sudden fifty films that were greatly influential to him in adolescence and childhood come to his mind. He reconstructs his history with memories of the movies and the events and people surrounding the cinema and realizes how much these films have come to impact who he is.

The urban trilogy "Empire of Dreams" by Giannina Braschi vehemently attacks Magic Realism as a literary dementia that propagates negative stereotypes of the Latin American people. The lead character of the mock novela, "The Intimate Diary of Solitude" is Mariquita Samper, a Macy's makeup artist, who shoots to kill the narrator of "One Hundred Years of Solitude" for exploiting intimacy and solitude.

"Yo-Yo Boing!" by Giannina Braschi chronicles with a violent tempo and sardonic wit the day-to-day realities of millions of Latin American immigrants living in New York, which is portrayed as the Darwinist capitol of Latin America. The novel unfolds as a hybrid structurally and linguistically; it is written in a mesh and flow of Spanish, English, and Spanglish.

"United States of Banana" by Giannina Braschi foretells the disintegration of the United States due to obsessive capitalism: “Puerto Rico will be the first half-and-half banana republic state incorporated that will secede from the union. Then will come Liberty Island, then Mississippi Burning, Texas BBQ, Kentucky Fried Chicken—all of them—New York Yankees, Jersey Devils—you name it—will want to break apart—and demand a separation—a divorce. Things will not go well for the banana republic when the shackles and chains of [democracy]] break loose and unleash the dogs of war. Separation—divorce—disintegration of subject matters that don’t matter anymore—only verbs—actions. Americans will walk like chickens with their heads cut off.”

Rosario Tijeras, by Jorge Franco, commences with the shooting of protagonist Rosario Tijeras, herself; the narrator is Antonio. From Rosario's bedside in hospital, he narrates her story: Rosario's friendship with him (Antonio); her love story with Emilio; and her life as a sicaria (contract killer). This novel about the violence of 1980s Medellín, Colombia, is “an important addition to literature in the Latin American social realist tradition, and the author’s fluid and vibrant prose will surely capture readers of all backgrounds.” [29]

El Rey de la Habana by Pedro Juan Gutierrez “is the story of a young adolescent who lets loose on the streets of La Habana in the 90s.”[30] In the style of ‘dirty realism’, the novel discusses such topics as poverty and prostitution, and depicts people who have hit rock bottom who have nowhere to turn. “It is the voice for those without a voice.”[30]

Pablo Escobar by Alonso Salazar delves into the life of Pablo Escobar through unpublished testimonials of family, friends and enemies. It depicts how Colombia became an empire of drug trafficking and focuses specifically on Escobar, both hated and adored for his past.

Critical studies

Latin American Literature and Mass Media, by Edmundo Paz-Soldán and Debra A. Castillo, is an article anthology in four parts: “Revisions“, “Mass Culture“, ”Narrative Strategies in our Fin de siglo”, and “The Digital Wor(l)d”, that “examines Latin American literature in the context of a complementary audiovisual culture dominated by mass media, such as photography, film, and the Internet.” [31]

Cuerpos Errantes: Literatura Latina y Latinoamericana en Estados Unidos, by Loustau Laura Rosa, studies the narrative systems of Latin American literature and Latina literature in the U.S., concentrating upon the novels and poems of Giannina Braschi. The subject is the displacement of people, and the consequent process of continual construction, deconstruction, and reconstruction of one’s identity — cultural, national, writer’s, that occurs upon crossing either a physical or a metaphoric border; the themes are geographic, national, linguistic, psychologic, textual, corporal, historical, and cultural displacements. Loustau Laura Rosa’s pithy précis is: “In this project we study the narrative and poetic systems, as if they are cultural representations, of Latin American [literature] and Latina literature in the United States.”[32]

De Macondo a McOndo, by Diana Polversich, documents Latin American literature from after the Latin American Literary Boom of the 1960s and 1970s, to the rise of neo-liberalism. Describing, in context, the literary genres that explicitly discussed controversial topics, such as homosexuality in a macho culture, and the dirty realism of McOndo, the contemporary Latin American world.[33]

Puerta al tiempo: literatura latinoamericana del siglo XX, by Maricruz Castro Ricalde is a panorama of Latin American literature of the 20th century, comprising authors such as María Luisa Bombal, Nicolás Guillén, Alejo Carpentier, Gabriel García Márquez, Julio Cortázar, Rubén Darío, Pablo Neruda, and Jorge Luis Borges, providing context via stylistic and thematic diversity.[34]


Magical Neoliberalism and I am not a magic realist by Alberto Fuguet are both commentaries by the author on the modernization of Latin American and Latina culture today as well as on the departure from magical realism to Mcondo that has occurred - greatly due to his steps into publicizing the changing attitudes of Latin American authors. He states that "The quaint, folkloric sensibility of magical realism has given way to a gritty, urban frenetic-ism in fiction, music, and film."[35]

Macondo y otros mitos by Diana Polversich is a short commentary and criticism of the McOndo movement and some of its well known authors such as Fuguet.

Graphic novels

Road story : una novela gráfica by Gonzalo Martínez and Alberto Fuguet is part of a larger volume of short stories by Fuguet. It is a graphic interpretation of the story of a Chilean man trying to find himself in the middle of the barren landscapes of the border between the US and Mexico. It was published in 1961 in [Santiago, Chile][36]


A few notable movies that are related to the movement are: Before Night Falls directed by Julian Schnabel, Our Lady of the Assassins directed by Barbet Schroeder and Rosario Tijeras directed by Emilio Maille and based on the book of the same title by Jorge Franco. Although not directly associated with the movement, films such as Alejandro González Iñárritu`s Amores perros and Alfonso Cuarón`s Y tu mamá también are thought to encapsulate the McOndo sensibility.


In Latin American literature, the realistic representation of urban (city–suburban) life, and of popular culture began in the 1960s, with La Onda, a Mexican literary movement whose writers realistically presented 20th-century life in the City — where most Mexicans lived an worked — because pastoral (rural) Mexico was past, gone with the wind of industrial modernization; its influence upon McOndo was stylistic.[12]

Hippies at the Woodstock Festival, 1969.

La Onda was a literary consequence of the introduction of Anglophone Rock Music to the culturally conservative, socially rigid Mexican society of the 1960s.[37] In the event, the cultural (generational) non-conformity inherent to the music of bands and singers such as The Doors, The Rolling Stones, The Beatles, Jimi Hendrix, and Janis Joplin, gave form (thought and action) to the cultural, societal, and generational discontents of Mexican young people — from every Mexican social class — to openly rebel against limiting tradition.[38] Consequent to that great foreign-culture influence, the Mexican Middle class began to intellectually, then culturally, associate with the Hippie social movements of the U.S. and Europe.[39][40] Mexican artists subsequently developed a national counter culture, based upon an amalgamation of foreign and domestic rock music, literature, language, and fashion, an example of which was the rock concert Festival Rock y Ruedas de Avándaro (11 September 1971); a time that Prof. Eric Zolov said “was a new transnational and trans-cultural era”.[41][11]

The adolescent angst novels La Tumba (The Tomb, 1964) and De Perfil (Profile View, 1966), by José Agustín, stylistically announced a new generation of novelist, writing in the contemporary popular idiom of society, presenting stories of life as lived.[42] The styles of writing of La Onda provided Mexican young people with a literature pertinent to their Latin American cultural experience of life en la ciudad.[43] The writers were published under the library title Literatura de La Onda (Literature of The Wave), by the Joaquín Mortiz publishing house.[44]

La Onda literature focused upon the contemporary Mexican-identity cultural representations of 20th-century youth culture (language, music, fashion, etc.) produced by the mass communications media, and their cultural impact upon México and being mexicano, and being mexicana.[45] The fiction was provocatively written, meant to provoke a response, and literary critics obliged the writers, calling the literatura de La Onda anti-literary literature; nonetheless, it proved popular as an alternative literature to the national literary canon established by tradition.[11] Moreover, beyond fiction, the writers who were La Onda influenced the writers and journalists who established the Mexican new journalism, analogous to Hunter S. Thompson and Tom Wolfe in U.S. journalism.[46] Notable works from La Onda include Gazapo, by Gustavo Sainz, about the contradictory, volatile world of adolescence; and De Perfil (Profile View), by José Austín, about the life of an indifferent student, and the adolescence he endures.[47]

Despite being a literary precursor to McOndo, the La Onda literary movement was particular to its Mexican time, place, and purpose. Unlike McOndo literature, the initial “Life in the City” alternative literature of La Onda then progressed to blending High culture with Low culture in addressing the demands of Mexican national social movements seeking to eliminate the hierarchy created by modernity.[20] Whereas the McOndo literary movement focused its modernism to address the societal effects upon Latin America of the political economy of the amalgamation of culture (identity) and capitalism.[20]

Critics and supporters

The Chilean writer Ricardo Cuadros said that McOndo irreverence for Latin American literary tradition, its thematic–stylistic concentration upon the pop culture of the United States, and the literatures’ apolitical tone, are dismissive of the literary ideas, writing style, and narrative techniques of the generation of Latin American writers (García Márquez, Vargas Llosa, Carpentier, Fuentes, et al.) who lived under, opposed, and (occasionally) were repressed by dictators. In the New York Tines newspaper article, “New Era Succeeds Years of Solitude” Cuadros said that “Alberto Fuguet makes a caricature out of Latin American literature, which is very rich and complex, and which comes from a very painful literary process.”[23] That McOndo Movement literature is faulty for its preoccupation with the Self, rather than with the contemporary 21st-century culture it superficially presents; thus styling McOndo originator Alberto Fuguet as a “sell-out to American culture, a spoiled product of globalization, and an irresponsible countryman.”[11][23]

About the McOndo (1996) short-story anthology, University of the Andes Prof. Ignacio Valente, said that the thematic substance of the Fuguet–Gómez compilation was neither expression nor commentary about contemporary Latin American life, but an imitation of American pop culture literature. Politically, the McOndo book-introduction has been identified as a political manifesto, the fascist and neo-liberal gripes of a (Latin) American-rich-boy implying that Latin American poverty and poor people had disappeared.[48] The Bolivian critic Centa Reck, faults the McOndo narrative style for replacing the Macondo jungle flora, fauna, and rural landscape, with the McOndo urban “wild jungle of cell phones, McDonald’s, shopping malls, drugs, and an unintelligible slang.”[23] Nevertheless, despite the global literary aspiration, the McOndos narratively incorporate the slang and jargon and argot of their subjects, the local colour of the metropolis with which the reader can identify.[48]

Contrariwise, Mexican novelist Carlos Fuentes, defends McOndo literature for its capturing the contemporary Latin America of today rather than yesterday; and that despite such narrative technique, the McOndos have not forgotten the past literature. In Empire of Dreams (1988), by Giannina Braschi, the novella “The Intimate Diary of Solitude” presents a lonely heroine, a department-store make-up artist, who shoots the man narrating the literary Latin American Boom — because she despises the commercialization of her solitude. The Chilean novel, The Movies of My Life (2003), by Aberto Fuguet, depicts a grim boarding school metaphor of Pinochet’s Chile — a disappeared pro-Salvador Allende cousin and a mean grandmother (in the style of Madame Defarge, A Tale of Two Cities, 1859), capture the societal terror of the military government régime of General Augusto Pinochet. University of Los Angeles Prof. Verónica Cortínez, said that McOndo is about free thematic exploration and stylistic expression: “The McOndo writers reject the idea that Latin American writers need to ascribe to certain topics, or ways of being.”[23]


  1. ^ Amar Sánchez, 2001, 207
  2. ^ a b De Castro, 2008, 106
  3. ^ Arias, 2005, 140
  4. ^ a b Amar Sánchez, 2001, 218
  5. ^ a b c De Castro, 2008, 105
  6. ^ Arias, 2005, 142
  7. ^ a b c d e f Fuguet, 2001, 70
  8. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Fuguet, 1997
  9. ^ a b Klemann
  10. ^ Barr, 2008
  11. ^ a b c d Ibid
  12. ^ a b c d e f Hidalgo, 2001, 1
  13. ^ a b c d e Hidalgo, 2001, 2
  14. ^ a b c Fuguet, 2001, 66
  15. ^ "un momento de celebración de la mezcla creativa entre la cultura alta y la popular" in De Castro, 2008, 106–07
  16. ^ "una suerte e elitista reestablecimiento de valores" Qtd. in De Castro, 2008, 107
  17. ^ De Castro, 2008, 108
  18. ^ a b De Castro, 2008, 109
  19. ^ Fuguet, 2001, 72
  20. ^ a b c d Hidalgo, 2001, 3
  21. ^ a b c Fuguet, 2001, 69
  22. ^ Arias, 2005, 141
  23. ^ a b c d e LaForte, 2003
  24. ^ Fuguet, 2004
  25. ^ Andrea Montejo, 2
  26. ^ Paz Soldan, 2006, 244
  27. ^ Fuguet, 2005
  28. ^ Fuguet, 2003
  29. ^ Carmen Opsina
  30. ^ a b La Editorial
  31. ^ Amar Sánchez
  32. ^ Loustau, 2002
  33. ^ Palaversich, 2005
  34. ^ Castro Ricalde, 2005
  35. ^ Fuguet, 2001
  36. ^ Fuguet, Alberto, 2007
  37. ^ Zolov, 1999, p. 113
  38. ^ Zolov 1999, 112.
  39. ^ Zolov, 1999, p. 102
  40. ^ Zolov, 1999, p. 104
  41. ^ Zolov 1999, 114.
  42. ^ Zolov, 1999, 113
  43. ^ Elena Poniatowska in Zolov, 1999, p. 113
  44. ^ Zolov, 1999, p. 159
  45. ^ Amar Sánchez, 2001, 209
  46. ^ Zolov, 1999, 159
  47. ^ Paz-Soldán and Castillo, 2001, 8
  48. ^ a b Fuguet, 2001, 71

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