Deep Rivers



Los ríos profundos (Deep Rivers), by José Marí­a Arguedas, narrates the learning process of Ernesto, a fourteen-year-old boy, who has to face the injustices of the adult world in which he must choose a future. Ernesto is the son of a wandering lawyer, always persecuted by political enemies. He finds protection in an indigenous community until his father takes him and moves him from town to town. Finally, he takes him to a boarding school in Abancay, in a religious college. From that moment he describes memories of the past- of the various indigenous villages- and stages of his life in school, whose atmosphere is grim and often disgusting. The development of the argument goes through the evocation of the pre-boarding period until his awareness as an adult. Ernesto must choose between the Landowners and the Andean world. The ambivalent personality of the protagonist, his real belonging to the class of the whites and his identification with the indigenous culture, make the story one of the most heartbreaking withing Latin American Literature. The author’s style makes excellent use of language and intertwines the two worlds by translating and aesthetically recreating the peculiar speech of the Indian into Spanish. This, in turn, demonstrates the skill of Arguedas as a skilled narrator and justifies its place of reference among the most important Latin American writers.

Deep Rivers is the third novel by the Peruvian writer José Marí­a Arguedas. Published by Editorial Losada in Buenos Aires (1958), it received the National Prize for the Promotion of Culture «Ricardo Palma» in Peru and was a finalist in the United States for the William Faulkner Prize (1963).