Eight Feet in the Andes: Travels with a Mule in Unknown Peru, Dervla Murphy, 1983.
Another wonderful travel account by the spirited Irish writer that brings to life the geography, culture and people of Peru.
History of the Conquest of Peru, William Hickling Prescott.
One of the great overviews of the Conquistadors arrival and overthrow of the Incan empire in Peru.
Inca-Kola, A Traveller’s Tale of Peru, Matthew Parris, 1990.
Dubbed “a back-packer’s classic” by the London Times, Inca-Kola describes an observant traveler’s adventures in the complicated and colorful wild west of Peru in the 1980s.
The Last Days of the Incas, Kim MacQuarrie, 2007.
An award-winning filmmaker and author, MacQuarrie weaves the story of one of the last great Incan rulers, the search for the fabled city of Vilcabamba and Hiram Bingham’s discovery of Machu Picchu into a suspenseful tale of history.
The Motorcycle Diaries, Che Guevara.
The 2004 movie made this title famous, and its splendid celebration of South American landscapes is worth a watch, but it was inspired by the actual diaries kept by the revolutionary about his journey throughout South America, including time in Peru.
Peregrinations of a Pariah, Flora Tristan, 1833-34.
The travel diaries of an early feminist (also the maternal grandmother of Gaugain) who wrote about her journeys around Peru.
Lima Nights, Marie Arana, 2008.
A National Book Award finalist for her memoir American Chica, Arana’s most recent work is Lima Nights. The novel begins tells the tale of a middle-aged German-Peruvian who destroys a comfortable bourgeois family life when he falls in love with a teenage mulatto girl from a speakeasy.
The Bad Girl, Mario Vargas Llosa, 2007.
A vivid novel by the Nobel prize winning Peruvian author, The Bad Girl chronicles a decades-long love affair between a Peruvian translator and a conniving girl whose conquests take her around the world and from poverty to riches. Though only a small part is set in Lima, the main character, who shares many biographical similarities to Vargas Llosa, follows the turbulent politics of Peru, so a picture of the country’s history from the 1950s to the ‘90s is well depicted.
The Pearl of Lima, Jules Verne.
A charming story of Lima in colonial days about the tragic romance of a wealthy young Lima woman and a noble Indian.
The General in His Labryinth, Gabriel García Márquez
A fictionalized account of the last days of Simon Bolivar.
The Motorcycle Diaries, Walter Salles, 2004
Based on the book by Che Guevara, the film follows Guevara (played by Gael García Bernal) and a friend as they travel northward from Buenos Aires across South America. At Machu Picchu, Guevara ponders the destruction of a once mighty civilization.
The Bridge of San Luis Rey, Mary McGuckian, 2004
Based on the award-winning novel by Thorton Wilder and set in Peru in the early 1700s (although filmed in Spain), the film centers on a friar who seeks to understand why a rope bridge collapsed and killed five people.
Ciudad de M, Felipe Degregori, 2000
This dramatic, Spanish-language film provides a fictionalized, philosophical deep dive into the seedy-underworld of juvenile delinquency and crime in Lima.