Tuesday, January 4, 2011

THE MOTORCYCLE DIARIES BY ERNESTO 'CHE' GUEVE

Have you seen the film? Are you in love with Gael Garcia Bernal as much as I am? Turns out the young Che Guevera was a) really intelligent and a brilliant writer b) quite the looker and charmer and c) hilarious.

Self Portrait by Ernesto Guevara, 1951
The book is a compilation of the notes which Ernesto made on a trip upon 'La Poderosa 2' (the mighty one) aka a beloved but pretty much useless motorbike belonging to his friend and co-pilot Alberto.

Both are educated - Guevara taking a break from his medicine degree and Alberto being a graduated biochemist although dressed in rags they're often mistaken for being homeless tramps travelling the continent for work - no one that they met could understand their want for travelling just for travels sake.

It is full of drunken escapades; sticky situations; heart breaking tales; and is written in such beautiful prose that although the film version is very much a true portrayal of the book - the prose is something to be admired.

According to his wikipedia page Guevara was described as 'fairly intellectual for a Latino' in a file by the CIA.  This book I feel is so powerful when you know the change which he eventually made to the continent and the world.  Especially when you can see the people who although he only spent a few hours with - had such a profound effect on his beliefs and understanding of the world. And the towns and cities full of ancient artefacts which became the spiritual home of this eternal traveller.

'In every typical scene, the town's very breath evokes the time before Spanish colonization.  But the people before us are not the same proud race that repeatedly rose against the Inca rule, forcing them to maintain a permanent army on their borders; these people who watch us walk through the streets of the town a defeated race.  Their stares are tame, almost fearful, and completely indifferent to the outside world.  Some give the impression they go on living only because it's a habit they cannot shake.'




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Bree said...

I am such a bookwhore! Ha I just finished writing a post for later in the week about books! I usually buy them used, so they're cheaper, but I'm constantly reading. The one you mentioned sounds interesting, I might check it out!

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