6 Must-Read Novels Set In Puerto Rico

6 Must-Read Novels Set In Puerto Rico

Learn about the island, its culture, and people with these 6 must-read novels set in Puerto Rico.

1. The Rum Diary by Hunter S. Thompson

“Begun in 1959 by a twenty-two-year-old Hunter S. Thompson, The Rum Diary is a brilliantly tangled love story of jealousy, treachery, and violent alcoholic lust in the Caribbean boomtown that was San Juan, Puerto Rico, in the late 1950s. The narrator, freelance journalist Paul Kemp, irresistibly drawn to a sexy, mysterious woman, is soon thrust into a world where corruption and get-rich-quick schemes rule, and anything (including murder) is permissible.”

2. The Puerto Rico Pearl: An Ainsley Walker Gemstone Travel Mystery by J. A. Jernay

“It’s hurricane season. An airplane en route to the States has just been forced to land on the island of Puerto Rico—and onboard is AINSLEY WALKER. Stranded in torrential rain, she is guided by another passenger towards a rickety plantation house in the island’s tropical interior, where she meets an elderly woman who has lost a precious family heirloom. It’s a pearl brooch that had once belonged to an actual pirate of the Caribbean—and the spinster needs Ainsley to find it … fast. Soon she finds herself on another runaway adventure—one that propels Ainsley from wealthy art museums to abandoned sugar mills, from colonial-era cities to buried pirate chests on abandoned naval bases. Along the way, she discovers joy, pain, friendship, danger, the limits of her endurance—and the fact that things are never quite as they seem.”

3. Don’t Let Me Die in Disneyland by J.A. Marzán

“The smart, some might say smartass, Eddie Loperena explains as honestly as a Harvard lawyer can the appearance of his having committed a crime in this picaresque memoir of his Newyorican life in ‘the country I was offered.’”

4. The House on the Lagoon by Rosario Ferré

“Caught up in his wife’s efforts to write a novel about the history of their families, Quintin Mendizabal sparks a heated rivalry between Isabel and himself when they have different perspectives on the same story.”

5. Our Lady of the Night  by Mayra Santos-Febres

“The epic story of the complex, sensual, tragic, and remarkable life of a legendary Puerto Rican madam.”

6. Simone by Eduardo Lalo

“A tale of alienation, love, suspense, imagination, and literature set on the streets of San Juan, Puerto Rico, Simone tells the story of a self-educated Chinese immigrant student courting (and stalking) a disillusioned, unnamed writer who is struggling to make a name for himself in a place that is not exactly a hotbed of literary fame. By turns solipsistic and political, romantic and dark, Simone begins with the writer’s frustrated, satiric observations on his native city and the banal life of the university where he teaches—forces utterly at odds with the sensuality of his writing. But, as mysterious messages and literary clues begin to appear—scrawled on sidewalks and walls, inside volumes set out in bookstores, left on his answering machine and under his windshield wiper—Simone progresses into a cat-and-mouse game between the writer and his mystery stalker. When the eponymous Simone’s identity is at last revealed, the writer finds in the life of this Chinese immigrant a plight not unlike his own. Traumatized and lonely, the pair moves towards bittersweet collaborations in passion, grief, and art.”


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