I’ve been at this blog for a very long time now, and yet Guyana will be just my second South American country. Needless to say, I’m thrilled to be visiting! Especially since I know very little about Guyana; this will be a true learning experience. Knowledge is good! South America is even better!
(Edit: I’ve also tagged Guyana as a Caribbean country. The more I read, I learned that it’s part of CARICOM, the Caribbean single-market organization, and is more culturally tied to that part of the world, versus the continent on which it exists. Super cool!)
Map of Guyana (image in the Public Domain, via Wikimedia Commons)
Location of Guyana (image in the Public Domain, via Wikimedia Commons)
Flag of (image in the Public Domain, via Wikimedia Commons)
Short stories are, by their very nature, intense. No build-up, no long story arcs; you’re thrown into a slice of life and need to process it all on the fly. It’s a story-telling form that is not often my first choice as a reader, but Bolivia forced me out of my comfort zone. The book I chose for my first South American destination is a collection of short stories, The Fat Man from La Paz: Contemporary Fiction from Bolivia.
I’ll come right out with it and say that some of the selections made me uncomfortable. I seriously disliked a few of the characters I met, and was unsure at first of how to review the book as a whole. After thinking, and talking, about it for a few days, I realized that discomfort was something to pay attention to. It made me realize just how universally GOOD the writers are that were included in this compilation; every story managed to affect me on a pretty deep level. Rural life versus urban life, gender issues, corruption, war, family dramas…all are pretty universal topics, but I’m grateful for the chance to catch a glimpse of a uniquely Bolivian perspective.