At a glance, Latin American literature can seem dominated by magical realism, the genre synonymous with Gabriel García Márquez and his momentous novel, 100 Years of Solutide. Venezuela never had its major author of the Latin “boom” period, but that doesn’t mean the country lacks literary traditions worthy of export.
One of Venezuela’s many under-appreciated authors, Adriano González León (pictured here), passed away earlier this month. He was best known for his book, País Portátil (Portable Country), which was published in 1968 and made into a feature film in 1979.
The tale of one rural family, País Portatil narrates the political and economic crisis of the 1960s in Venezuela. The struggle of each generation to overcome obstacles and stand up for their rights is an underlying theme – no surprise, for González is known for railing against the dictatorship of General Marcos Pérez Jiménez.
País Portátil is the best-known work by Adriano González León, but he hated the thought that his long career would be defined by only that book. González also wrote Viejo (Old Man), a novel that came out in 1995 and made an impression on at least one reader; Gabriel García Márquez once commented that he wished he had written it.
Others have called González’s writing “a different way of looking at the world” by combining poetry and prose in a unique style. He also used memory as a literary device to “create a dialogue between the present and the past.”
Like Latin American writers of his generation, González had a cross-over career as a politician; he served as Cultural Attache to the Venezuelan Embassy in Spain during the 1990s.