Authors including Herman Melville and Ludwig Bemelmans have written about Ecuador-passionately portraying the people and the landscape in tales that weave fiction and reality into stories of adventure and intrigue.
Keep reading for three books that will inspire you to travel to Ecuador and make the most out of your time in the country.
The books that follow have been chosen because they paint pictures of the Ecuadorian people, the different regions of the country, and the cultural and political landscapes that form the present day culture.
Far from an info packet or guidebook blurbs, these stories grasp the spirit of the country from the capital city, the far reaches of the jungle, the small villages along the coast, and the Galapagos Islands.
The Donkey Inside by Ludwig Bemelmans
From the author of the Madeline series of children’s books, The Donkey Inside takes the reader through the jungle, into the politics in the country surrounding WWII, and to small villages where colorful tales are told. Bemelmans’ story is a combination of a few trips into South America-blending them seamlessly to present a rollicking journey in Ecuador in the 1930s.
Bemelmans has a gift for characters-portraying expats living in Quito as clearly as in the present day. Outlining the politics, parties, and circumstances that helped to shape today’s Ecuador, The Donkey Inside is a fun read that provides context to the modern culture of the country.
The Mapmaker’s Wife: A True Tale of Love, Murder, and Survival in the Amazon-Robert Whitaker
The Mapmaker’s Wife is set in 1735 and chronicles a historic French expedition’s adventures while measuring the circumference of the Earth. The scientific team was the first allowed into Spanish territory and remained under heavy scrutiny for the duration of their work.
Whitaker’s tale is rife with murder, accusations of spying, and journeys that take team member Jean Godin and his Ecuadorian wife, Isabel Grames, deep into the Amazon on a ten-year journey of survival.
Both parts of the narrative are intriguing. The team’s dynamics and struggle to navigate the Ecuadorian landscape and the forays of the Spanish government take the reader back in time, painting a well-rounded picture of the pressures and events under Spanish rule. The tale of Godin and Grames is an incredible story that tells of the deep Amazon jungle and harrowing escapes, while ultimately revealing itself as a heartfelt journey of lovers struggling to find each other.
Love in a Warm Climate by Kelley Aitken
Love in a Warm Climate is a series of short stories taken from the author’s time in Ecuador in the 1980s. The vignettes tell tales of loss, mourning, love, adventure, and redemption-while masterfully weaving the vibrant culture and characters of Ecuador into intriguing, thought-provoking tales.
Aitken is a natural storyteller and an intelligent writer-when she takes on living as a foreign woman in Latin American culture, she sheds light on the subtleties and conflicts that come up daily in the small villages and big cities of Ecuador.
For English books in Quito, The English Bookshop- in the historic center on Venezuela and Manabi-is a great place to visit. Mark, the owner, is always happy to sit down over a cup of tea and chat about Ecuador. From Plaza Grande, head four blocks north towards the Basilica.
These three books, aside from being entertaining, give the reader a historical and present-day perspective of a vibrant culture and curious cast of characters that come off the page when exploring the country. For information about planning your own adventure to Ecuador, contact a member of our team through this site, our toll-free number or Skype.