What is Latino Fiction?
Latino fiction includes works by writers in the United States who have either migrated from Latin America or are descendants of Latin Americans. Further, it can be argued that Latino writers are distinct in their linguistic, cultural, historical, and political sensibilities, and that their concerns frequently echo those of the community to which they belong. Still, the terms at times overlap and a word on usage is in order. While the term “Latino” is inclusive, meaning those from Mexico, Central and South America, and the Caribbean, the term “Chicano” is frequently employed when discussing those of Mexican or Mexican American heritage; Chicano/Latino is used when being both inclusive and mindful of distinctions therein. This article will avoid using the common term “Hispanic,” which designates those whose linguistic origin is Spanish. This term is controversial, since many Latino groups claim that it is an outgrowth of U.S. governmental policies of foreign and domestic containment, overlooking the cultural diversity of the different Latino nations, and that, further, it inaccurately lays its claim in Spain and the Iberian peninsula, thereby eliding the history of colonization and its subsequent cultural manifestations. Therefore, “Latino/a” is preferred by many, being a reference to geographic origin, Latin America. While it is always problematic to assign a single term to a group that is far from homogeneous, it is the work of the scholar to locate the similarities that justify its usage, all the while attending to the cultural differences inherent in the field. Below, the aim is to do just that by tracing common themes, investigating their origins, and looking at particular authors and works that are notable for illustrating those themes.