Monday, June 27, 2005

Puerto Rican Novelist Enrique Laguerre Dies

Through the REFORMA discussion list, I got an article that reports the death of Puerto Rican writer Enrique Laguerre, who was nominated for the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1999. He died on June 16th, and he was 99 years old. The people of Puerto Rico had led a letter writing campaign at one point to the Nobel Committee to get Laguerre nominated. El Nuevo Dia features a special report on the author, in Spanish. All I know that this is a sad day for letters as well as for Puerto Rico and its people, including myself. Laguerre was a novelist, playwright, college professor, poet and literary critic. In 1975, he received the National Literature Prize from the Instituto de Cultura Puertorrique~na. (They have a section on the author as well). Among his works are La Llamarada (1935), La Resaca (1949), and El Laberinto (1959). I had the opportunity to present a paper on his novel El Laberinto, a novel about an immigrant's labyrinthine travel through New York and then the Dominican Republic, when I was working on my first master's degree. Anyone who is interested in immigration studies should be reading this novel. Overall, he published 15 novels that portray and trace the history of Puerto Rico from the 18th century to the present day.

REFORMA cited a short article out of, but unfortunately the actual article did not appear to be available when I looked it up. I would urge readers to look over El Nuevo Dia's coverage if they are able to read Spanish (heck, run parts of it through a translator if you have to). I tried locating a report in English for readers, but I can't seem to locate one at the moment. Laguerre's work was often read in schools as part of the curriculum. I wrote that paper for a class in Latin American literature mostly seeking to write about a unique author, and I found a most interesting writer with an excellent vision of Puerto Rico and the challenges the island faces. I always wanted to revise that essay for submission, a discussion of the labyrinth imagery in his novel, maybe now it would be a good time. He deserves to have his work studied in more depth, likely more than someone like me could do. Then again, Don Enrique was a humble man, and a writer of the people whose works constantly depicted people of humble backgrounds. I feel kind of awful I did not find out until today, but I do admit I have not kept up with news back from my little island as much as I would like to since coming to live in the States. As I type this note, my eyes are watering, and I am sure many other Puerto Ricans away from their little island are in sorrow as well with the loss of a great man and humanist. I am finding that words are failing me, so I am going to stop for now and look over the coverage. Descanse en paz, Don Enrique (Rest in peace, Don Enrique).

Update note (3:05p): English speakers can get a quick entry on Enrique Laguerre from an article in Wikipedia here.


imagefx said...

Hi, I am looking for the English translation of Laguerre's La LLamarada, The Blaze or Sudden Blaze. I have searched the internet but was not successful in finding a seller. Can someone please pinpoint me in the right direction?

Angel, librarian and educator said...

The internet may pretty much be your best bet since many of those works are out of print. I did a quick check on Alibris, and they had a couple of Laguerre translations (not La Llamarada though).