Many readers have already discovered the magic of Garcia Marquez's One Hundred Years of Solitude and the allure of Allende's The House of the Spirits. By examining such popular works and introducing a host of lesser-known Latin American writers and their fiction, this volume helps readers navigate the rich and varied culture at the heart of Latin American literature. Going beyond the usual literary criticism, this book considers works of Latin American literature not only in terms of literary merit, but also with regard to their place in the literary heritage. It also examines the cultural messages we can learn from both historic and contemporary works. This volume, taken as a whole, provides a wealth of information with the depth and authority demanded for serious research. At the same time, the book is structured with chronological and topical organization, so that each chapter can be read and enjoyed independently. The analysis is written with clarity and accessibility for the nonspecialists, and all terms are defined, to help students and their teachers better appreciate the Latin American writers, their novels, and the cultures that shaped them. Ten teachers were consulted on the content to ensure that the works and authors covered met student needs and interests. A timeline of historical events, and further suggested readings lend further assistance to readers who want to research and fully understand the historical and cultural significance behind these literary works.