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Paperback Pedro Páramo Book

ISBN: 080216093X

ISBN13: 9780802160935

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Format: Paperback

Condition: New

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"One of the best novels in Hispanic literature, and in literature as a whole." --Jorge Luis Borges

The highly influential masterpiece of Latin American literature, now published in a new, authoritative translation, and featuring a foreword by Gabriel Garc a M rquez

A masterpiece of the surreal that influenced a generation of writers in Latin America,...

Customer Reviews

8 ratings


I feel highly dissatisfied with this purchase for two reasons: I bought a version described as “New” and in Spanish, instead I received a book in English and so heavily marked that it is difficult to read. It was a gift but impossible to give it out now.

Careful what you order, Spanish edition arrived in English

Bought two copies of the Spanish version only to get a copy in English. Not sure why the Spanish edition is in English, but now I’m shopping elsewhere.

Good but wrong version

This book is great and arrived quickly but it is listed as the Spanish version but the copy that arrived was English so be careful if you are looking for a Spanish copy.

A Classic Novel, Haunting & Poignant. A Must Read!

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 recently 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. He married the heiress Dolores Preciado, took possession of her land and wealth, and sent her to live an isolated existence with her sister. His ranch, in Comala, the Media Luna, expanded with great success at the expense of others. However, the manipulative, exploitive patriarch would pay dearly, in spades in fact, for his greed and for the sorrow he brought to Comala and her people. Dolores Preciado, on her deathbed, extracts a promise from her son, Juan, to return to Comala to find his father and claim what is theirs. Juan narrates and guides the reader on his journey to the dusty, desolate village, now populated by ghosts, lost souls who murmur to him, sighing and complaining in desperate voices, until he believes that he too is dead. The story of Juan's experience, his search for identity and his heritage, is interwoven with the tale of his father, Pedro Paramo, and that of sad, beautiful Susana San Juan. The novel was first published in 1955 and has become a classic, not only in Spanish speaking countries, but worldwide, for its themes are universal. This is a literary class and a truly great book. I cannot recommend it highly enough. JANA

Haunting, dry, windy, dusty

Unfortunately, Rulfo is much, much less known outside Latin America than other writers from the region, due to the fact that he is long dead and that he was a reclusive, almost misanthrope man, a shy and timid character. In contrast, writers like Garcia Marquez, Vargas Llosa, etc., are brilliant men, fond of being celebrities and lecturing around the world, as well as giving their opinions about politics and social issues.And one more thing: while most Latin American famous writers talk about lush tropical sceneries populated by exotic, wild people with an over-the-top language full of colorful images, Rulfo uses a reworked, concise, precise and dry language to paint sad, desperate, fussy tales of opression, violence, solitude. But oh he writes so well.Juan Preciado comes to Comala looking for his estranged father, Pedro Paramo. In this town, the dead and the alive mingle together and talk, the epochs overlap. Bit by bit we are told a violent and dark story, with somber and convoluted characters. In the end it is a tale of war, perversion, solitude and other themes common to Latin American literature, but seen from a very unusual perspective. And Rulfo reveals as an extremely self-demanding author: every sentence is worked and reworked to utter perfection. Read it, it's magical.


Nothing in literature can prepare you for the impact of Pedro Paramo for nothing in literature compares to this novel from Mexican author Juan Rulfo. Published in 1955, and Rulfo's only novel, Pedro Paramo is the story of Juan Preciado's quest to find both his roots and his father. Fulfilling his mother's dying wish, Juan sets out for the rural Mexican village of Comala, the village of his mother's memories, the village where "she sighed about going back," and where Pedro Paramo, lover, overlord and murderer, spent his childhood and his youth. What Juan finds in Comala is something very different from what he expected, something very different from what the reader expects, for Comala is truly a village of the damned, a hell that one literally descends into, never to return. As Juan Preciado meets first one, then another of the inhabitants of Comala, he comes to an astonishing revelation--everyone in Comala, including his father, is dead. The second half of Pedro Paramo concerns itself with the reasons why Comala became a village of the dead and the emphasis then shifts to the enigmatic character of Susana San Juan, the only woman Pedro Pramo ever truly loved and the one who was forever denied him. Although few details are provided about Susana San Juan, we come to see her as the epitome of two archetypes: the heavenly goddess and the overtly sexual madwoman. When she dies and ascends into heaven, in front of Pedro Paramo's own eyes, the fate of Comala and its residents becomes forever sealed. Although this small book may seem to lack structure (there are no chapter breaks), it is highly structured. It is, however, a structure of silences, hanging threads, truncated scenes, and even non-time. Rulfo moves backwards and forewards between the past (the Comala of the living) and the present (the Comala of the dead). The author moves seamlessly between first person and third person; scenes cut into one another and move effortlessly from one location to another and yet nothing is jarring, nothing is out of place. Although more horrifying than any other book I have ever read, Pedro Paramo does not "fit" into any genre and Rulfo uses none of the usual writer's techniques to enhance his story. Rulfo simply uses straightforward narration, moving from conscious thought to memory, from the world of the living to the world of the dead. In an interview in 1980, Rulfo, himself, said that he wanted to allow the reader to participate in the telling of the story, in the filling in of the blanks. Pedro Paramo is a shadowy, eerie, haunting work, and one whose impact on literature cannot be over-emphasized. Gabriel Garcia Marquez has called this book the most influential reading of his early writing years and has admitted to memorizing the entire text. Yet Pedro Paramo completely lacks the humor of Garcia Marquez (in fact, its bleakness is entirely unrelieved) and it is definitely not magical realism. Although th

A surreal, haunting work to be read again and again

Rulfo's masterpiece is infinitely complex, a challenging puzzle with countless hidden facets and inter connections, a surreal account of a small town and its inhabitants which defies human conceptions of both time and space. In short, the book is an utter delight for those who enjoy a good challenge. Pedro Paramo is not a book to read just once, and then forget; it stays with you, and requires multiple readings to truly understand and appreciate the brilliant metaphors and plot. After the first reading I was very confused. During the second reading I began to understand how the various narations and story lines fit together. During the third reading I fell in love. The fourth and fifth readings only increased my appreciation of the beauty and power of Rulfo's imagery and symbolism. Who knows what new questions and connections a sixth reading will reveal?

A Heaven and Hell Masterpiece!?!?

It is hard to imagine a novel from this century that is better written and more complex. Only one such novel -- from any language -- comes to mind: Garcia Marquez' One Hundred Years of Solitude. Like One Hundred Years, Pedro Paramo offers a vision of fatalism, the idea that everything is preordered and that man has no say in the ultimate final word, and he must accept it and go on. But the fatalistic view put forth by Rulfo is not comical, as that of Garcia Marquez. Each page draws you further into a vacuum of desperation and depression, where the sun does not shine and the people do not live, literally, for they are in the grave. The Indians of Mexico believe that the souls of the dead still live; they wander the earth, which is expressed in the novel very well. Yet it can also be said that the souls of the living are dead. Such is the case of the unifying agent of the novel, Pedro Paramo. Absolutely destroyed by the murder of his father and the departure of his childhood sweetheart, Paramo unleashes the anger of his dead soul on his region, turning the once fertile valley into a barren wasteland (in Spanish 'paramo' means just that). Morality and the spirit of the people are also destroyed. Comala (oven in Spanish) becomes Hell on Earth, and, with the death of Paramo, the town dies also.Paramo's illegitimate son, Juan Preciado, is told by his mother, who is on her deathbed, to go and meet his father, who has died some years before. Basically, his mother is telling him to "Go to Hell", for she herself has been destroyed by Paramo. Juan Preciado (valuable), then, should really be named Juan Des-Preciado, or "worthless". The only thing that Juan finds is Hell, dead souls, and death for himself. The narrator writes that for he who goes to Comala descends, and he who leaves Comala ascends, harking back to the ancient myth of Heaven and Hell.This Heaven and Hell motif is concisely preconfigured in the Paramo's name: Pedro, or Peter, is an allusion to St.Peter, in whom Jesus fou! nded his church and to whom God gave the keys to the gates of Heaven. As already mentioned, Paramo signifies wasteland, or a type of hell. Thus, as is profoundly demonstrated in the novel, Pedro Paramo controls the destinies of the people of Comala, and unfortunately, he carries all the people with him to Hell.
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