Pedro Páramo

Old friend Duncan asked me if I’d read Pedro Páramo and told me he had just been given the book. I regressed back to the late 60’s when i was introduced to Juan Rulfo by a Spanish Lit. prof who had us reading The Burning Plain a fine collection of short stories.. and now … rŌbert

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Pedro Páramo is a novel written by Juan Rulfo about a man named Juan Preciado who travels to his recently deceased mother’s hometown, Comala, to find his father, only to come across a literal ghost town─populated, that is, by spectral figures. Initially, the novel was met with cold critical reception and sold only two thousand copies during the first four years; later, however, the book became highly acclaimed. Páramo was a key influence on Latin American writers such as Gabriel García MárquezPedro Páramo has been translated into more than 30 different languages and the English version has sold more than a million copies in the United States.

Gabriel García Márquez has said that he felt blocked as a novelist after writing his first four books and that it was only his life-changing discovery of Pedro Páramo in 1961 that opened his way to the composition of his masterpiece, One Hundred Years of Solitude. Moreover, García Márquez claimed that he “could recite the whole book, forwards and backwards.” Márquez considered Pedro Páramo to be one of the greatest texts written in any language. Jorge Luis Borges also held Pedro Páramo in high regard. 

A classic of Mexican modern literature about a haunted village.

As one enters Juan Rulfo’s legendary novel, one follows a dusty road to a town of death. Time shifts from one consciousness to another in a hypnotic flow of dreams, desires, and memories, a world of ghosts dominated by the figure of Pedro Páramo – lover, overlord, murderer.

Rulfo’s extraordinary mix of sensory images, violent passions, and unfathomable mysteries has been a profound influence on a whole generation of Latin American writers, including Carlos Fuentes, Mario Vargas Llosa, and Gabriel García Márquez. To read Pedro Páramo today is as overwhelming an experience as when it was first published in Mexico back in 1955. 

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