Pedro Páramo by Juan Rulfo / Translated by Margaret Sayers Peden / ISBN 9780802133908 / 124-page paperback from Grove Press
“When Susan Sontag, in her foreword to this book, calls Pedro Páramo ‘one of the masterpieces of 20th-century world literature,’ she is not being hyperbolic. With its dense interweaving of time, its routine interaction of the living and the dead, its surreal sense of the everyday, and with simultaneous—and harmonious—coexistence of apparently incompatible realities, this brief novel by the Mexican writer Juan Rulfo strides through unexplored territory with a sure and determined step. . . . Having it now in all its depth and texture is a major event for which the publisher and the translator, Margaret Sayers Peden, deserve thanks.” —James Polk, New York Times Book Review
A masterpiece of the surreal, this stunning novel from Mexico depicts a man’s strange quest for his heritage. Beseeched by his dying mother to locate his father, Pedro Páramo, whom they fled from years ago, Juan Preciado sets out for Comala. Comala is a town alive with whispers and shadows—a place seemingly populated only by memory and hallucinations. Built on the tyranny of the Páramo family, its barren and broken-down streets echo the voices of tormented spirits sharing the secrets of the past.
First published to both critical and popular acclaim in 1955, Pedro Páramo represented a distinct break with earlier, largely "realist" novels from Latin America. Rulfo’s entrancing mixture of vivid sensory images, violent passions, and inexplicable sorcery—a style that has come to be known as ‘magical realism”—has exerted a profound influence on subsequent Latin American writers, from Jos’ Donoso and Carlos Fuentes to Mario Vargas Llosa and Gabriel Garcia Márquez.