Alfredo Bryce in 2007
|Born||Alfredo Bryce Echenique
February 19, 1939
|Alma mater||National University of San Marcos|
|Notable works||A world for Julius (1972)
La vida exagerada de Martín Romaña (1981)
El huerto de mi amada(2002)
|Notable awards||National Prize for Literature (1972)
Order of the Sun
Planet Award (2002)
Pilar de Vega Martínez
Alfredo Bryce Echenique (born February 19, 1939) is a Peruvian writer born in Lima. He has written several books and short stories.
Bryce was born to an Anglo-Peruvian family of upper class, related to John Bryce Weddle, ancestor of the Marquesses of Milford-Haven and of the duchesses of Abercon and Westminster. He was the third son and the fourth of the five children of the banker Francisco Bryce Arróspide and his wife, Elena Echenique Basombrío, granddaughter of the former President José Rufino Echenique.
Bryce studied elementary education at Inmaculado Corazón school, and high school at Santa María school and Saint Paul's College, a British boarding school for boys in Lima. Upon the wish of his family Bryce Echenique studied law in the National University of San Marcos until 1964. His literary interest nevertheless prevailed and so, shortly afterwards, he completed a parallel study course in literature with a thesis on Ernest Hemingway. In 1988 he adopted Spanish nationality without losing Peruvian one.
Rise in literary career
He received a grant from the French government which, like many other Latin American authors of the boom period, led him to Paris. At the Sorbonne he studied classic and modern French literature and then taught at various French schools and universities.
His first book Huerto Cerrado published in 1968, was a finalist for the Casa de las Américas literary prize awarded in Cuba and is a collection of short stories written in different styles and points of view about a young protagonist, Manolo, a member of Lima's upper class, as he comes of age in 1950s Lima. This was followed by his first novel, Un Mundo para Julius, published in 1970 that became a big success and counts today as one of the classics of Latin American literature. The novel, which has since been translated into ten languages, tells the story of a young boy who grows up as the youngest of four children of a rich, Peruvian upper-class family. Although Julius actually belongs to the ruling classes he feels a stronger bond with the servants which surround him and this brings him into conflict with his family. With biting irony the author exposes, through the eyes of a child, the great social differences in Peruvian society.
Un mundo para Julius marks for Bryce Echenique the start of an extremely productive literary career, in which he has until today written nearly twenty novels and story volumes.
"I am an author of the second half of the 20th century." Despite this declaration and his spatial and temporal closeness to other Latin American authors of the boom generation, Bryce Echenique keeps a conscious distance from his colleagues who he sometimes refers to as "nouveau riche". That his style, as one critic once said, corresponds more to an ironic than a magic realism, is shown by the author also in one his latest novels: La amigdalitis de Tarzán from 1999. Largely in the form of letters, the novel relates the story of the hindered romantic relationship between a poor Peruvian troubadour and the daughter of an influential Salvadoran family.
Similar to his heroes, Alfredo Bryce Echenique also lived for decades far from his home city of Lima to which he only returned in 1999. Also that year he was granted an honorary degree by the Universidad Nacional Mayor de San Marcos.
Claims of plagiarism
In March, 2007, Peruvian Diplomat Oswaldo de Rivero wrote an article for the newspaper El Comercio of Lima, Peru accusing Bryce of writing an article "Potencias sin poder" that was an almost exact copy of one written by de Rivero in the magazine "Quehacer" in March, 2005. Bryce responded saying the article had been submitted in error by his secretary.
Juan Carlos Bondy subsequently found evidence that Bryce had earlier plagiarized the article "Amistad, bendito tesoro" by Ángel Esteban that had appeared in La Nación of Argentina in December, 1996 Bondy's blog. Bryce has also been accused of plagiarizing articles by Graham E. Fuller and Herbert Morote Perú21.
Journalism professor María Soledad de la Cerda found sixteen other instances of plagiarism which were found as a result of research for her course in investigative journalism El Mercurio.
- Un mundo para Julius (English version: A world for Julius), 1970
- Tantas veces Pedro, 1977
- La vida exagerada de Martín Romaña, 1981
- El hombre que hablaba de Octavia Cádiz, 1985 (Along with the last forms a diptych called: Cuaderno de navegación en un sillón voltaire)
- La última mudanza de Felipe Carrillo, 1988
- Dos señoras conversan (thee novelettes), 1990
- No me esperen en Abril, 1995
- Reo de Nocturnidad, 1997
- La Amigdalitis de Tarzán (English version: Tarzan's Tonsillitis, an epistolary novel), 1998
- El huerto de mi amada, 2002 (Winner in 2002 of the Planet Award)
- Huerto Cerrado, 1968
- La felicidad, ja ja, 1974
- Magdalena peruana y otros cuentos, 1988
- Guía triste de París (English version: A sad tour of Paris), 1999
- A vuelo de buen cubero, 1977
- Crónicas personales, 1998
- A trancas y barrancas, 1996
- Crónicas perdidas, 2001
- Doce cartas a dos amigos, 2003
- Permiso para vivir - Antimemorias I, 1993
- Permiso para Sentir - Antimemorias II, 2005
- Entre la soledad y el amor, 2005