Yawar Fiesta

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by José María Arguedas

Translated by Frances Horning Barraclough

Paperback, 200 pages

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Description

Yawar Fiesta describes the social relations between Indians, mestizos, and whites in the Peruvian highland town of Puquio in the early twentieth century. Each group’s reaction to the national government’s attempt to suppress the traditional Indian-style bullfight reflects their attitude toward social change more generally. Included with the text of the novel is Arguedas’ anthropological essay “Puquio: A Culture in the Process of Change,” written eighteen years after Yawar Fiesta. The article emphasizes the social changes in the village that resulted from the road construction described in the novel. José María Arguedas is one of the few Latin American authors who loved and described his natural surroundings, and he ranks among the greatest writers of any time and place. He saw the beauty of the Peruvian landscape, as well as the grimness of social conditions in the Andes, through the eyes of the Indians who are a part of it. While Arguedas’ poetry was published in Quechua, he invented a language for his novels in which he used native syntax with Spanish vocabulary, making translation into other languages extremely difficult. Frances Horning Barraclough has met the challenge and produced an excellent work that remains faithful to the author’s use of language to reflect the lived experience of Peruvian Indians.