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Beyond BolañoThe Global Latin American Novel$
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Héctor Hoyos

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780231168427

Published to Columbia Scholarship Online: November 2015

DOI: 10.7312/columbia/9780231168427.001.0001

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Iconocracy and Political Theology of Narconovelas

Iconocracy and Political Theology of Narconovelas

Chapter:
(p.126) 4 Iconocracy and Political Theology of Narconovelas
Source:
Beyond Bolaño
Author(s):

Héctor Hoyos

Publisher:
Columbia University Press
DOI:10.7312/columbia/9780231168427.003.0004

This chapter explores the iconocracy and political theology of narconovelas by focusing on a recurrent theme in several Latin American novels from the last two decades: the confluence of the global networks of Christianity and drug trafficking. It considers how Christianity and drug trade situate practitioners, on the one hand, and consumers and producers, on the other, within larger social structures. It is common to depict drug lords as patron saints or demons, or drug enforcement as a righteous crusade. A short explanation as to why religion and narcotrafficking so often go together in contemporary fiction is that any realist novel would pick up on the religiosity of daily life in Latin America. The chapter offers a reading of Our Lady of the Assassins (La Virgen de los sicarios, 1994), by Fernando Vallejo and La Santa Muerte (Holy Death, 2004) by Homero Aridjis. It argues that, instead of hastening to adopt the apparent world-literary genre of narconovela, we can use it as a springboard to critique the hegemonic global order that underwrites narcotrafficking.

Keywords:   iconocracy, political theology, narconovela, Latin American novel, Christianity, drug trafficking, narcotrafficking, Fernando Vallejo, Homero Aridjis

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