Jun 012023

Two decades ago, when I first began to document the artists and authors associated with Lake Chapala, I knew of only three or four twentieth century novels set at the lake. To my astonishment, many more (some long forgotten) have since emerged.

Ignoring, for simplicity’s sake, any attempt to define the precise limits of what does or does not constitute a Lake Chapala novel, a strong case can be made for the inclusion of the following twenty five books, the oldest dating back to the final years of the nineteenth century.

novel covers

These nineteenth and twentieth century novels set largely or entirely at Lake Chapala include, in approximate chronological order:

21st century novels set at Lakeside include:

  • Ruth Ross-Merrimer. 2001. Champagne & Tortillas.
  • William Schrader. 2002. Kiss My Tears Away.
  • T. M. Spooner.2006. Notes from Exile.
  • Dionicio Morales López. 2010. Santos Rico – Animas de Axixic.
  • John Hoopes. 2011. The Spy in Love (Lake Chapala Serenade).
  • Carolena Torres. 2013. Dust on Their Hearts.
  • Carolena Torres. 2017. Castles by the Lake.
  • Jan Dunlap. 2017. Dilemma.

Spanish language novels in 1951

As they say about buses, “You wait a long time for one to come along, and then three arrive at once.” It is exactly the same with Spanish language novels about Lake Chapala. Of the five or six lake-related novels that were published during the 20th century, three of them arrived in the same year: 1951.

Of the three, perhaps the most powerful is El gran Chapa, the first published work of Guadalajara author Juan Pablo Guzmán Alemán. This novel won the inaugural Jalisco prize for literature in 1950 and was published by the state government the following year. Coincidentally, that was when another Guadalajara author, Ramón Rubín, published his wonderful—and deservedly popular—novel, La canoa perdida: Novela mestiza, and when Salomón Zepeda (about whom little is known) published a fun, lowbrow romance novel, La Ondina de Chapala.

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Several chapters of Foreign Footprints in Ajijic: Decades of Change in a Mexican Village offer more details about the history of the artistic and literary community in Ajijic.

Comments, corrections or additional material related to any of the writers and artists featured in our series of mini-bios are welcomed. Please use the comments feature at the bottom of individual posts, or email us.

  One Response to “26 novels set largely or entirely at Lake Chapala”

  1. Wow–I’d not have guessed so many–esp. so many in English–

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