Is it only a simple travelogue? Or should we call it a very realistic adventure story? The classic novel THE MOTORCYCLE DIARIES by Che Guevara, who is better known as a revolutionary leader is a unique and gripping blend of these genres. Written in 1953, eight years before the Cuban revolution, it is full of disasters and discoveries, high drama, low comedy, focusing on the main characters of Che’s companion Alberto and the author himself. During his travels through Argentina, Chile, Peru and Venezuela, the author wrote this brilliant work.
In January 1952, the two young men from Buenos Aires set out to explore Latin America on their bike ‘La Poderosa, the powerful one: a 500cc Norton’. One of them was the twenty three year old Che Guevara. In the morning of 17th October 1951, Che, who was particularly jaded by the medical school and exams, came to his friend Alberto’s house and proposed him to go to North America on Alberto’s bike. Alberto, at first hesitated but at last agreed to his best friend who was quiet adamant about the tour.
In this long journey, they pass through the countries of South America. They pass along roads, through the allies of towns, massive lakes and mountains. In this itinerary, the engine of their bike often faltered and both the friend had to face several troubles for it. On the motorcycle, on the trucks or in a van, on a ship or in a car; sleeping in police stations, under the stars or in occasional shelters; Che struggling almost constantly with his Asthma, the two friends crossed Argentina and Chile. They entered Peru on foot. The Peruvian Indians had a huge impact on therm. The author also describes some funny moments in the novel, especially when he got slapped by a Chilean girl.
The main part of the book relies on the narrator. This book describes a complete another alter ego of Che. The writer ensures that we never hate them as the reasons for their every action are crystal-clear. Unlike the ‘travelogue’ books of that period like THE EPISODES OF GREAT WAR, it is an exceptional one as it is indeed an easy-read. It is not literally skill but the narrative effectiveness
I thoroughly enjoyed the book, in fact, I couldn’t put it down! I challenge you to remain unmoved after reading this book.