Note: This Review is part of the contest 2011 Spooktacular October Paranormal Reading Challenge. For details or more reviews, please visit Sweetmarie Spooktacular October Reading
This is a very unusual selection to review for an anglo reading/reviewing contest, I get it, but I think this is a master of Literature and deserves a space in any paranormal to-read list.
First I read it for school when I was some sixteen years old and I remembered I liked it very much but all details had been washed away by the many , and believe when I say MANY, years that have passed since. I decided to re-read it since this time around I have a better appreciation for fine writing and good stories and this one for a change, lived up to my young impressionable memories.
It is the story of Juan Preciado, who at his mother's deathbed promises to go back to his old town, Comala, to meet his father Pedro Paramo. He then goes back, though it's suggested he didn't intend to at first, but ominous visions of his mother convince him otherwise. The narrative is fragmented and very confusing at times and intentionally so, as the author is knitting a web to capture the reader and we don't really know how much of what's happening is real, even though we think we know, until the very end.
Think about James' Last Turn of the Screw; Pedro Paramo has the same feeling where you are certain something's not going quite right but there's no way to be sure if it's all a figment of the imagination. The story is interspersed with fragments of dialogs and occurrences from Paramo's life, who lived in a time when the little town was booming, instead of the ghost town it has become. Juan talks to many of his old acquaintances but one after the other, they all seem to have an ethereal sense to them; like if they were dead. The second half of the story happens in the time of Pedro Paramo and the narrative is more lively.
The whole story is told by two contrasting points of view, the one where everything is active and in bloom, and the other where everything seems unchanged, ghostly, and quiet. I don't want to give up too much but this book has it all, romance, mystery vengeance, death, love, hate...
It is a prime example of Magic Realism that mixes everyday elements with unreal ghostly situations so masterfully, that we are swept from our feet and feel like the whole life of Pedro Paramo is flying pass in front of us. Don't miss this great example of classic latin-american literature at its best.