The author of the article analyses almost two hundred reviews of Latin American prose published in the Polish press in the early seventies when the boom was just beginning. She points out four main themes which were discussed repeatedly by the Polish critics: the effort undertaken in order to explain to the readers the unknown culture, the question of Latin American identity, political and social aspects of this prose and, finally, its exotic aspect. The article focuses on the last problem. The way the critics used the word exotic at the beginning of the boom suggested to readers the stereotyped image of Latin America. Later on the critics understood that the reality described in the works of Spanish American writers was very different from its stereotype fixed in the Polish culture, but they continued using the word exotic. Its abuse led to a false conviction that the Spanish American prose had no universal values, as it talked about exotic, that is, foreign and strange people and problems.