Journal of Romance Studies

From Cuchitambo to Otavalo to New York City

Border-crossing in Carlos Arcos’s Memorias de Andrés Chiliquinga

Journal of Romance Studies (2022), 22, (2), 257–276.

Abstract

This paper analyses Carlos Arcos’s novel Memorias de Andrés Chiliquinga (2013) from a transnational perspective. I propose that, by reimagining the indigenous hero of Jorge Icaza’s Huasipungo (1934) and placing him in New York City in the twenty-first century, Arcos delivers a novel that not only challenges the Ecuadorian literary tradition but also defies limited views about the Ecuadorian nation. I focus on the multiple borders the story identifies and crosses to argue that, in his travels, his multilingualism, and his blend of foreign and indigenous cultural traits, the contemporary Andrés Chiliquinga created by Arcos counters purity and homogeneity with mixture and hybridity. In doing so, he lays bare that a key part of what defines the ‘national’ in contemporary Ecuador is precisely its transnationality.

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Author details

Córdova, Luis A. Medina