A recent survey on Wikipedia of fiction about Che Guevara, though, lists only a dozen books. Some have a right-wing political bent (William F. Buckley’s See You Later Alligator) and they can be disregarded right away because of that. The left-wing political stuff as well. With regard to both of these, political fiction is really political opinion done up with stylistic ribbons and bows, and not much else. Others of these 12 novels are just not very good. Jay Cantor’s fine The Death of Che Guevara goes a very long way toward exploring the emotional life of this very violent man. But for the most part, there’s little in fiction about Guevara that matters.
This despite the fact that there are many contemporary novels about other great historical figures that are very distinguished indeed: Gabriel García Marquéz’s The General in His Labyrinth about Simón Bolívar, Tomas Eloy Martinez’s The Perón Novel about Juan Domingo Perón and Hilary Mantel’s critically-acclaimed Wolf Hall, about Thomas Cromwell, to name a few. From these we know that it can be done.
For good or ill, Che Guevara deserves fine fiction. So, where are the novelists of this man’s soul, and when do we get to see their books?