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Pedro P

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Posted

I have started reading “Pedro P

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Posted

I read Pedro Paramo long time ago, and yes, it feels like reading 100 years of solitude by Marquez. I had not yet developed critical skills, so I simply enjoyed the read and thought it was a good book . Btw, DM, I tried to pm you again, but again you exceed the storage quota for pms. Below the msg I intended to send you, since is no secret

Hi DM

I hope you received my request to read your manuscript!

every so often I come across an inspiring publisher website, please consider submitting your work here if it sounds interesting to you, fingers x

http://www.mandrake.uk.net/submit.htm

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Posted

Hi DM

I hope you received my request to read your manuscript!

Sorry for the delay in sending it out. :( I will try to get copies out tomorrow to all who expressed an interest.

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Posted

In the next several posts I will write about this novel Pedro P

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Posted

I only started this book today and am reading it in the original spanish, which means it will take me a bit longer to read. I'm also about three quarters the way through Zafon's novel The Shadow of the Wind, which Hugo reviewed here earlier (another spanish novel). I'm trying to build up my language proficiency by reading these, so thanks for a good recommendation. :-)

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Posted

I only started this book today and am reading it in the original spanish, which means it will take me a bit longer to read. I'm also about three quarters the way through Zafon's novel The Shadow of the Wind, which Hugo reviewed here earlier (another spanish novel). I'm trying to build up my language proficiency by reading these, so thanks for a good recommendation. :-)

That's great, Ludo. Please comment on both books when you can. :)

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Posted (edited)

The final pages of Pedro Paramo seem to encapsulate or recapitulate the entire novel in miniature, in keeping with the novel’s resistance to chronological order and linearity. Everything circles back to the end, is retold in miniature in the end and the end prefigures the beginning, for the beginning happens after the end. It’s worth remembering that this novel was published in 1955, before most of the experiments of the avante garde and postmodernism in literature, and of course it is also held to prefigure magical realism. That’s a lot for a 122-page work to sustain.

Just before the final scene, Susana San Juan dies. She dies in Comala, to which she has returned with her father, Bartolome, having left it as a girl. Her death at the end of the book harks back to the beginning of the book, shortly after the scene in which Juan Preciado arrives in Comala (but chronologically long before that arrival). It harks back to a scene in which, as small children, Pedro and Susana fly a kite. It is a scene of touching innocence, hardly suggesting that Pedro will become a exploitive landowner, a rapist, a tyrant and a reprobate. But in his youth she does leave town and leave him, and perhaps this has the effect of warping Pedro.

Susana San Juan loves another, Florencio, a soldier who is killed. We get an insight into her character when she finds out about his death, close to the book’s end. She laments:

What Florencio? Mine? Oh, why didn’t I weep then and drown myself in tears to wash away my anguish? Oh, God! You are not in Your heaven! I asked You to protect him. To look after him. I asked that of You. But all You care about is souls. And what I want is his body. Naked and hot with love; boiling with desire; stroking my trembling breasts and arms. My transparent body suspended from his. My lustful body held and released by his strength. What shall I do now with my lips without his lips to cover them? What shall become of my poor lips?

She has these reactions in the midst of a fever dream that Pedro Paramo witnesses. A little later she dies, apparently of some combination of madness and despair. Her plight, and the plight of the other women in the book, can be read many ways, one of them political and sociological: the frustration of women in a patriarchal and essentially feudal society held together by a rigid strain of folk Catholicism as exemplified by the recurring figure of the tragic Father Renteria, who presides over Susana’s death and tells her (just imagine hearing this on your deathbed):

”There is more. The vision of God. The soft light of his infinite Heaven. The rejoicing of the cherubim and song of the seraphim. The joy in the eyes of God, which is the last, fleeting vision of those condemned to eternal suffering. Eternal suffering joined to earthly pain. The marrow of our bones becomes like live coals and the blood in our veins threads of fire, inflicting unbelievable le agony that never abates, for it is fanned constantly by the wrath of God.”

When she dies, Pedro Paramo dies with her, spiritually. But upon her death bells peal, swelling a chorus that continues day and night, and the whole town of Comala throws a festival. Perhaps this is the towns’ judgment on Pedro Paramo, but then he turns his judgment upon the town, since he in effect owns it (and this is in the days of the Revolution, and Paramo has even bought off the revolutionaries, following his own dictum to “be on the side that’s winning.”) The Media Luna (Paramo’s ranch) was lonely and silent, and:

The servants walked around with bare feet, and spoke in low voices. Susan San Juan was buried, and few people in Comala even realized it. They were having a fair. There were cockfights and music, lotteries, and the howls of drunken men. The light from the village reached as far as the Media Luna, like an aureole in the gray skies. Because those were gray days, melancholy days for the Media Luna. Don Pedro spoke to no one. He never left his room. He swore to wreak vengeance on Comala:

“I will cross my arms and Comala will die of hunger.”

And that was what happened.

This sets the stage for the book’s concluding scene, the recapitulation in miniature of all that has come before, or, depending on your point of view, all that is destined to come later. But in effect by the time he is killed by one of his illegitimate sons (recall this is the same Abundio who led Juan Preciado into Comala in the opening scene) Don Pedro is already effectively dead and so is Comala, so his physical death is an anti-climax. And by this time the two main narrative strands of the book’s intersecting stories have been played out: Paramo has lost the only thing that he cares about (Susana) and Juan Preciado himself has died (whether he was already dead when he arrived in Comala or died during his stay there is unclear) and he is buried underground in a tomb with a dead woman who is crazy, thinking that she has a baby when she does not. It should be noted that the mother’s charge to Juan in the book’s opening scene is never fulfilled: Juan does not meet Pedro, either alive or dead.

And so I’ll just talk about the closing scene in the next post, because it’s really good. This post was by way of stage-setting for that scene; of course, whatever I write here will only make sense to a reader of the book, but perhaps what I write will inspire those who have not read the novel, to read it.

Edited by davidm

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Posted

David,

I return after months and what do i see? A discussion of one of my all time inspirations. I have read this book about 6 times all up, and never fail to tire of its secrets.

When Paramo dies at the end of the novel, he says, poignantly, "so there won't be another night." It is night that colours the text, night that consumes it. The text itself is night. When one reads Pedro Paramo, one is actually, parting the curtains of the night, to see what it is that is contained within. Preciado's odyssey, therefore, is the odyssey of the reader, descending into the Orphean abyss. But when he says, "so there won't be another night", his heart has already stopped beating, he has already technically died, but like everything else in Comala, the concrete and the physical desire each other, want each other, never leave each other. It is this liminal space that we come across when we open this book.

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Posted

Oh, this is wonderful! Thanks, niven. :mrgreen:

I shall continue the discussion of this gem of a work, inspired by the inspiration of another.

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Posted

David,

Rulfo's critics and detractors suggest that he romanticises the mexican landscape. Yet, this is the lens through Rulfo saw his mexico. The surreal images in Pedro Paramo may suggest a magic realist vision, but these images were lived through by Rulfo himself.

I happen to have a copy of a book called Inframundo: The Mexico of Juan Rulfo. And in it is contained some essays by Pacheco, Poniatowska, benitez and Marquez, as well as a short story by Rulfo, called Luvina, from his collection of short stories entitled The Burning Plains. I am sure it is still in print. My copy is old. though. Anyway, this also includes photographs taken of rural mexico, taken by Rulfo himself. and it is interesting to see what the man himself saw and how he has translated the surreal and unanimous night depicted in the photographs into his stories. I have taken pictures of the pictures in the book on my iphone, but how do I upload them here ?

Niven

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Posted

/Users/niven/Desktop/IMG_0126.jpg

---------- Post added at 11:23 ---------- Previous post was at 11:21 ----------

ok, that didn't work.

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Posted

This is an image upload test.

It didn't work. Anyone know what the problem is in uploading images?

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Posted

ok, perhaps try accessing the photos from this link

http://public.me.com/nivenk

Hopefully it works

You might need to download the photos from there.

Niven

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Posted

It looks like you do need to download the photos. It's going to a directory page, it appears.

Do you have the direct links to the photos themselves? Also, if you just get the url of each photo, you can enclose them in image tags and they will appear right in your posts on this thread.

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Posted

Well, you can open these pictures on your computer (assuming you have some usuable software like Windows Picture Viewer) but it would be best to find a way to post them in-thread.

---------- Post added at 01:22 ---------- Previous post was at 01:19 ----------

Oh, those are some stunning photos. They look just like his novel reads. Wow.

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