The recent fiction of Spanish America has been widely acclaimed for its experimental and revolutionary qualities. In Reclaiming the Author, Lucille Kerr studies the sources of power of this newly emergent literature in her detailed examination of the critical concept of "the author." Kerr considers how Spanish American narratives raise questions about authorial identity and activity through the different figures of the author they propose. These author-figures, she maintains, both complement and contradict notions of authority that exist outside of the world of fiction.
By focusing on works by well-known Spanish American authors-Cortazar, Donoso, Fuentes, Poniatowska, Puig, and Vargas Llosa-Kerr shows how the Spanish Americans have formed a radical poetics of the author. Her readings demonstrate how exemplary Spanish American texts, such as Rayuela, Terra nostra, and El hablador, call into question the author as a unitary or uniform, and therefore unproblematical, figure. Individually and together, Kerr's readings reclaim "the author" as a complex critical concept encompassing diverse, conflicting, even competitive roles.