Ernesto "Che" Guevara's thoughts on systemic poverty in Latin America and the necessity of a borderless, united mestizo revolution against neo-colonial domination are well known. His historic efforts on behalf of Marxism and his leadership in the Cuban Revolution have been documented extensively. But before "Che" rose to prominence on the international scene, he was just an ordinary Argentine med student with an interest in travel. In The Motorcycle Diaries, young Ernesto chronicles his year-long trek across the continent of his people with his friend and fellow doctor, Albert Granado. As Ernesto grows up into "Che", so too does his voice grow up. The travelogue is smoothly and competently narrated by Bruno Gerardo with a clear but flavorful Latin accent. The place names, assorted slang terms, and chapter titles are all faithfully rendered in Spanish, which gives a strong feel of the regional variety of dialects.
Beginning in Buenos Aires, they traverse the entire east coast, opening themselves to the delight and disaster of relying on the kindness of strangers. Guevara is relatively naïve about socioeconomic concerns outside of his personal needs at the beginning of the diary, and Gerardo interprets the author's vast series of minor complaints with a terrifically bratty attitude. The two friends are also dependent on their motorcycle, rather ironically nicknamed "The Mighty One", which gives out after a dozen minute and daily repairs in only a few hundred miles, before they even reach Chile. Over the course of the writing and the broadening of the author's horizons, Gerardo seamlessly transfers the narrow awe of Guevara's personal irritations to the much larger and more familiar awe of Guevara's righteous, political indignation.
Gerardo also does the voice work for Guevara's more widely read classics, The Bolivian Diary and Reminiscences of the Cuban Revolutionary War, so he has had ample time to step into this historic personage. But as an introduction to the man who would later be simply known as "Che" his personality, his roots, his view of the world The Motorcycle Diaries is a priceless cultural artifact that Bruno Gerardo narrates with compelling flair. Megan Volpert
During his travels through Argentina, Chile, Peru and Venezuela, Che's main concerns are where the next drink is coming from, where the next bed is to be found, and who might be around to share it. Che becomes a stowaway, a fireman and a football coach; he sometimes falls in love and frequently falls off the motorbike.
Within a decade the whole world would know his name. His trip might have been an adventure of a lifetime - had his lifetime not turned into a much greater adventure.
©2003 Che Guevara Studies Center; (P)2009 HarperCollins Publishers Ltd.
Catirina Bonet Designs
I love this story! I first fell in love with the film, and have many times over the years, been swept away in the journey of discovery in the writings of Ernesto Che Guevara. A young spirit on a quest for adventure but also with an insatiable appetite for knowledge, a deep heartfelt compassion for the neglected cultures he finds along the way, and a life long romance with those people, those cultures, and his world. "The Motorcycle Diaries" is a brilliant retelling of a young mans thirst for life. Bruno Gerardo offers a brilliant, engaging, authentic narration!
In the first third of the book, Ché kills the dog of one of his benefactors, gets drunk and assaults the wife of another, tries (and fails) to steal five bottles of wine from his employer, and he & his buddy manage to wreck the motorcycle nine time one day. Nothing of any intelligence gets said until they visit a copper mine in Chile about one third of the way thru.
With a few exceptions, the book returns to stupidity until about half way thru, which is when I gave up on it. Seriously, Ché was an inept coward and murderer and none too bright. He took a good picture, but his travelogue just isn't that interesting. Mind, I was rooting for him & his friend to freeze to death one night & make the world a better place, but that just wasn't in the cards.
Concerning the production, the narrator grows on you. I'd look forward to hearing him narrate something more worthy of his talents.
An interesting auto-biography of Che's early years travelling around south america. Provides insights into his world view and rapidly developing socialist tendencies towards social order. A good read.
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