In recent years the English-speaking world has at last begun to recognize the enormous diversity and value of contemporary Latin American literature. But while the works of writers like Borges, Garcia Marquez, Allende, Vargas Llosa, Galeano and Asturias are now widely translated, until this book there have been few attempts to give this vast body of writing a critical context. Aimed at the general reader and student, as well as those already familiar with the continent's literature, Journeys through the Labyrinth provides an accessible overview of the main writers, works and movements in twentieth-century Latin American fiction, while giving detailed attention to key texts. In analysing the history of modern Latin American literature, Gerald Martin focuses in particular on the complex shift which occurred between the first great wave of social realist fiction after the First World War and the emergence of so-called 'magical realism' after the Second, a movement which culminated in the 'boom' of the New Novel in the 1960s and '70s. Martin plots his own, illuminating route through this literary—historical labyrinth. He argues that most critical interpretations have under-estimated the enduring power of Latin American literature's dominant themes: because of the continent's history of resistance to colonialism, authoritarianism, and patriarchy, the much-quoted 'quest for identity' and the struggle for liberation are both part of the same enterprise. It is above all Gerald Martin's own careful considerations of the interplay of history and literature, politics and imagination, which make this pioneering study so valuable.