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Pedro Páramo (Five Star) [Paperback]

Juan Rulfo , Susan Sontag , Margaret Sayers Peden
3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
RRP: £7.99
Price: £7.63 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over £10. Details
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Book Description

24 Feb 2000
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 P?ramo - 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 Garcia Marquez. To read Pedro P?ramo today is as overwhelming an experience as when it was first published in Mexico nearly fifty years ago.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 128 pages
  • Publisher: Serpent's Tail; New Ed edition (24 Feb 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 9681104269
  • ISBN-13: 978-9681104269
  • ASIN: 1852427264
  • Product Dimensions: 13 x 19.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 217,233 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Pedro Paramo is not only one of the masterpieces of twentieth-century world literature but one of the most influential of the century's books; indeed it would be hard to overestimate its impact on literature in Spanish (Susan Sontag)

I like to think that Rulfo's moment in the English-speaking world has finally arrived. His novel's conception is of a simplicity and profundity worthy of Greek tragedy, though another way of conveying its unique effect might be to say that it is Wuthering Heights located in Mexico and written by Kafka (Guardian)

This brilliant Mexican novel, written in 1955, describes a man's search for his unknown father with the haunting clarity and strange logic of a recurrent nightmare (Esquire)

Book Description

A Latin American essential, now a Serpent's Tail Classic

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
29 of 29 people found the following review helpful
Author Juan Rulfo's extraordinarily powerful novel, "Pedro Paramo," captures the essence of life in rural Mexico during the last years of the 19th century, and the beginning of the 20th, like no other work of fiction. Here, in a mere 124 pages, the author vividly portrays the radical social and economic changes which spurred the dramatic migration of the campesinos from ranchos and villages to the urban slums, where they could no longer live off the land, nor find work. Ghost towns mark the places where many had once flourished. I first read this masterpiece in English while living in Guadalajara, Mexico, over 25 years ago. I was absolutely captivated by the haunting story and by the fascinating characters. I reread the book a few years later, in Spanish, and was able to appreciate, first-hand, the authors skillful, nuanced use of language. After a series of surrealistic dreams, which turned my thoughts southward, I picked up another copy and began to read once more of the dry, deserted streets of Comala and the man who doomed the town and its inhabitants. I am amazed that the novel remains as fresh, magical and poignant as it did the first time around. I think Juan Rulfo's masterpiece takes on depth and texture with each reading. And it certainly proves true the maxim, "Good/great things come in small packages."
Pedro Paramo, the son of failing landowners, was consumed with love for Susana San Juan. This intense passion lasted a lifetime. Eventually, Pedro's aging father and family died, and Susana moved away. Alone and lonely, he assumed control of the estate and unscrupulously did whatever he had to, fair and foul, to amass a fortune and build his empire.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Haunting 12 Sep 2004
Published in 1955, "Pedro Páramo" has become an established classic of twentieth-century Latin American literature, and was reputedly a big influence on the like of Gabriel García Márquez, who could apparently recite large chunks of it from memory - yet this is its first accurate and unabridged English translation. Perhaps this is because of the book's initial impenetrability: it's certainly no easy read, and I must confess that I came close to giving up after forty pages or so. However, persevere and the reasons for its classic status do become clearer.
The book's narrator, a young man by the name of Juan Preciado, travels to the Mexican village of Comala in fulfilment of a deathbed promise to his mother to seek out his father Pedro Páramo, the local landowner. On arrival in Comala, he discovers it to be quite literally a ghost town: one by one, he encounters doomed characters from the town's past, who gradually reveal Comala's (and his father's) macabre tale. For Pedro Páramo - unscrupulous philanderer, murderer and double-dealer though he was - is himself a tragic figure.
The ghosts of Comala flit by Juan in a dreamlike, hypnotic progression: the suicide Eduviges Dyada; a pair of incestuous lovers; disillusioned priest Father Rentería... and by the end of the book, Juan Preciado himself has become a ghostly, disembodied presence. The novel often seems to follow dream logic rather than any recognisable linear narrative: this ultimately becomes one of the book's great strengths, but it is initially disorientating.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Truly haunting 22 Sep 2004
I think that the word 'haunting' is an overused cliche when it comes to describing books, but it could have been invented for 'Pedro Paramo'. The story initially follows Juan Preciado, who has been sent by his dying mother to see the father he has never met: Pedro Paramo. Preciado journeys to Comala, the town where his father lived. When he arrives there he finds a village of the damned, full of dead souls unable to find peace. Through his interactions with these spirits, he learns of his father's monstrous past, and how his actions have led to the townspeople being repeatedly refused absolution by priests and bishops, resulting in their purgatorial state.
The book requires a lot of concentration. The narration slips between present and past events, and narrators frequently interchange, so that it can be hard to follow whose story you are currently reading. Despite its length (100+ pages) I wouldn't describe it as an easy read. However, this structure is one of the strengths of the writing, because it adds a very ghostly, surreal air to the narrative, and as a reader I felt like I was drifting through the events in Comala, becoming one of the spirits haunting the town. The spirit of damnation pervades the book, and it is relentlessly grim. Again, this purgatorial feeling enhances, not diminishes, the narrative, in my opinion, creating one of the most atmospheric books I have read. The reader is invited to look down on a vision of hell, full of characters who you feel have earned their damnation. Because of all this, it is not what I would describe as a particularly fun read, but I wouldn't hesitate to recommend 'Pedro Paramo' as a beautiful and haunting piece of literature.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Remarkable
One of the most remarkable novels I've ever read. It's short - only 100-odd pages - but the most perfectly-formed piece of writing I've ever read. Read more
Published 7 months ago by N.W. Coast
4.0 out of 5 stars Groundbreaking Mexican short novel
'Pedro Páramo', published in Spanish in 1955, is a short but tremendously influential novel by the Mexican author Juan Rulfo. Read more
Published 19 months ago by Paul Bowes
4.0 out of 5 stars Surprisingly good
I bought this book out of curosity. I'd just visited Mexico and was keen to read something written by a good Mexican author. Read more
Published on 30 Dec 2010 by Nicci
2.0 out of 5 stars Far too incoherent
This may have been a more enjoyable, rewarding book with a more straightforward narrative structure but by the time you hit page 20 suddenly everything falls apart. Read more
Published on 14 Nov 2008 by Jon.
4.0 out of 5 stars A man seeks his father...Pedro Paramo....
This novel is one of the most highly rated of the 20th c latin-american classics,Gabriel Garcia Marquez wished he had written it and this slim novel has become possibly the first... Read more
Published on 11 Nov 2007 by DOGG
2.0 out of 5 stars Regrettably, Reading This Felt as If Time Had Turned Backward
Those who like novels where it often doesn't become unclear until the third or fourth read what's happening, who's speaking, who's listening, who's doing what, how most of the... Read more
Published on 13 Oct 2007 by Reader in Tokyo
1.0 out of 5 stars Lost in translation
In her introduction Susan Sontag says that Garcia Marquez memorised the whole of 'Pedro Paramo'. She claims the book as a classic of world literature. Read more
Published on 23 May 2007 by Sporus
5.0 out of 5 stars A Mexican masterpiece
You may not have heard of Juan Rulfo, but you've more than likely heard of the writers for whom his novella Pedro Páramo was a revelation - Márquez in particular, but... Read more
Published on 15 Mar 2007 by jacr100
5.0 out of 5 stars A Delicious Mind Tease
Pedro Paramo is a fascinating little book that seems to take place in a parallel world.
For those unfamiliar with Latin American literature, the book is full of ghosts and... Read more
Published on 31 July 2004 by Bob
2.0 out of 5 stars Unimpressed
This is one of the first books based in latin america that I read. Thankfully it has not put me off reading more on the subject but it is certainly not a good introduction. Read more
Published on 16 Jun 2004
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