Patagonia (you know, that beautiful region in the southernmost parts of Chile and Argentina) has been on my bucket list for SO many years. Honestly though? I have no idea when I’ll get there. So for now, this list of books about Patagonia is going to have to do.
Surprisingly though (or maybe not surprisingly?) books about Patagonia are not exactly easy to find. I think we’ve got some good ones here, but also surprisingly (or again, maybe not surprisingly?) most books about Patagonia are exclusively non-fiction. I’d love to find a novel set here, but so far there’s not much out there (although definitely check out Bleaker House, where a writer contemplates a novel set in the region). All that said, though, if you are itching to travel to this remote region of our planet, these are the books for you.
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Non-Fiction Books About Patagonia
In Patagonia by Bruce Chatwin
This is perhaps THE quintessential book about Patagonia. It’s the most well-known travel account, where Chatwin travels through the region telling stories about both his own journey and the history of the region. For fans of travel writing.
The Old Patagonian Express: By Train Through the Americas by Paul Theroux
Here, well-known travel writer Paul Theroux travels from north to south through the Americas. He begins in Boston and ends in Patagonia, traveling by train and meeting all kinds of people along the way. While this book of course has many different settings, the ending in Patagonia makes it worth adding to your Patagonia books list. For fans of travel memoirs.
False Calm: A Journey Through the Ghost Towns of Patagonia by María Sonia Cristoff, Translated by Katherine Silver
Some towns in Patagonia were once home to a bustling oil industry. But now that those companies have moved out, what does life look like? Cristoff travels to various towns in Patagonia, getting to know the people the oil industry left behind and learning more about the history of Patagonia. For fans of travel memoirs.
Bleaker House: Chasing My Novel to the End of the World by Nell Stevens
While not technically Patagonia, this book is set in the Falklands, so it is very Patagonia adjacent. Nell Stevens travels to Bleaker Island, hoping to find the solitude that will spur her on to write her great novel. But everything about the experience, from the novel writing to the extreme conditions, is more challenging than she expected. This is for fans of books about writing.
Enduring Patagonia by Gregory Crouch
The Andes of Patagonia is one of the most extreme places in the world. Here, Crouch writes about his climbing adventures in Patagonia, from his success to his difficult and scary moments. For fans of adventure books and memoir. (I’m thinking this would make a great companion to Into Thin Air.)
The Whispering Land by Gerald Durrell
Gerald Durrell is most well-known for his writing set in Greece like My Family and Other Animals (see our Greece Books List). But in The Whispering Land, he and his wife travel to South America looking for animals for their zoo. (Yes, I know this may feel problematic for modern day readers, but let’s remember his journey to Patagonia took place in 1959.) This book is for readers who want classic travel memoirs with humor.
For people who want to find alone time, Patagonia seems like an ideal destination. Here, Robert Kull travels to Patagonia after a motorcycle accident, looking for inner peace and spiritual answers. This is for fans of books about personal growth journeys paired with travel.
Idle Days in Patagonia by W.H. Hudson
W.H. Hudson was a late nineteenth-century naturalist, and in this memoir he explores the Patagonia region of his native Argentina, studying the flora and fauna. Part adventure and part scientific examination, this book is for readers who love reading about the natural world. (But also, remember what time period it was written in when you read it, because some parts will feel dated.)
Voyaging Southward From the Strait of Magellan by Rockwell Kent
This book was first published in 1924, and details Rockwell Kent’s sailing voyage to Tierra del Fuego in Patagonia. He’s also known for his illustrations, so you’ll find those here too. For fans of classic books, travel writing, and adventure stories.
Patagonia – A Cultural History by Chris Moss
If you want a complete history of Patagonia, this is probably the book for you. Moss covers the history of Patagonia through a cultural lens, from Indigenous myths to modern film and travel writers. This is for readers who love history books and books with an academic bent.