The Vortex (novel)

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The Vortex
Author José Eustasio Rivera
Original title La vorágine
Translator Earle K. James
Country Colombia
Language Spanish
Genre Novel
Publication date
1924 (translation 1928)
Media type Print (Hardback & Paperback)
ISBN 958-30-0804-4

The Vortex (Spanish: La Vorágine) is a novel written in 1924 by the Colombian author José Eustasio Rivera. It is set in the jungles of Colombia during the Rubber boom.

This novel relates the adventures of Arturo Cova, a hot-headed proud chauvinist and his lover Alicia, as they elope from Bogotá, through the flatlands and later, escaping from criminal misgivings, through the tropical jungles of Colombia.

In this way Rivera is able to describe the magic of these regions, with their rich biodiversity, and the lifestyle of the inhabitants. However, one of the main objectives of the novel is to reveal the appalling conditions under which workers in the rubber factories toil. La Vorágine also introduces the reader to the tremendous hardship of enduring the overwhelming and adverse environment of the rainforest, as the protagonists (Arturo Cova and Alicia) get lost and are unable to be found. As the book says: ¡Los devoró la selva! (literally, "The jungle devoured them!").

The novel is written in an elegant and refined prose, full of metaphors and prosaic poetry, that shows the beauty and exotism of the virgin rainforest.

La Vorágine is noteworthy as the seminal novel of Latin American modernism, the "jungle novel", and recognised as one of the best novels written in Colombia.

English translation

  • Rivera, José Eustasio The Vortex. Earle K. James, translator (1928). Panamericana Editorial Ltda (2003). ISBN 958-30-0804-4