View Full Version : Mexican Literature
I figure we could do with some more catch-all threads relating to different nations' literature, and so the WLF tour stops at Mexico.
Personally, I don't take many reading trops to this area, so I'm only really au fait with the names (and nothing else) of Carlos Fuentes and Octavio Paz. Oh, and I read a book by Guillermo Arriaga, but thought he would be better sticking to screenplays.
Anyone read much Mexican literature?
Hmm, I've just read something of a classic of Mexican literature, Mariano Azuela's The Underdogs - I'll be putting up a review of it sooner or later, though I want to do some reading up first around it. I enjoyed it a lot. That and Pedro Peramo by Juan Rulfo seem to be the big influential novels (at least on that perennial subject for Mexican literature, la Mexicanidad, plus of course the Mexican Revolution).
The great living writer is Fernando del Paso, but only one of his books has been translated into English - Palinuro of Mexico. I suspect, having read some of it, that this is because of the untranslatability and complexity of his work. He is very highly regarded in the Spanish speaking world - say something like top 5.
Other Mexican novels I greatly enjoyed recently: Sergio Galindo's Otilia's Body; and Ignacio Padilla's Shadow without a Name. The first one was similar I suppose to The Underdogs, about a woman's love for an outlaw; the Padilla was more Borgesian identity-play.
Beyond that, I've got lots more ready to read: Eloy Urroz, Rosario Castellanos, Josefina Vicens, Angeles Mastratta, more Galindo etc.
Sergio Pitol is said to be one of the best writers who's never been translated into English. It's not that he's young either - I think he's in his 80s.
Their main literary award is the Xavier Villaurrtia (http://www.epdlp.com/premios.php?premio=Xavier%20Villaurrutia), which shows a pretty representative selection of the big names (though not necessarily always awarded to a Mexican).
For some reason, I've never really been interested in Carlos Fuentes - though he's probably the most famous of all Mexican writers in the English speaking world.
Juan Rulfo only wrote two slim books - The Burning Plain and Pedro P?ramo - but they're unique in literature. One is a collection of brutally realistic short-stories; the other is the magic realistic novel that would inspire Gabriel Garc?a M?rquez' One Hundred Years of Solitude and so all modern Latin American literature.
Daniel del Real
I can't believe I haven't commented on this thread being Mexican myself. First of all I have to say that I'm not a big fan of the "Novela de la Revolución" (Revolution's novel) which dominated the panorama of the first half of XX century and takes us to the 1910 Revolution and its consequences through the following years. Mariano Azuela, Martín Luis Guzmán, José Vasconcelos and many other are great examples. There is also the holy cows of Mexican literature, old writers, some of them great, some less, that still alive are the owners of Mexican image of literature: Carlos Fuentes, Sergio Pitol, Fernando del Paso, José Emilio Pacheco; not going there either.
What I want to show are the unknown or young writers that we'll be hearing about in the next few years and even though is not a strong generation as strong as I'd wanted, there're interesting names and good novels to talk about. I'll try to add some names day by the day as I don't want to create a long thread that nobody reads. Hope this one works. I'll start with one of my favorites.
Mario Bellatin.- We've spoken about this intriguing man before, but I think not so many people has read him. His writings sometimes are experiments, divertimentos that induce the reader to take a more active roll in the novel. His techniques are very interesting and renew the way to tell a story. Altough it can be compared to Aira's works in the fact that to comprehend him better you need to read a few of his novellas, I think he's more creative and out of the box than Aira. Probably my favorite from the list.
Translated and available two novels:
Daniel Sada.- He's not that young at 57, but he's been under the radar for so many years even in Mexico. Right now he has finally emerged as one of the finest writers of his generation, a very well deserved place. Originary from the North, Mexicali a border city, he's a man always exploring the desert, the borders, the territories. He can be considered a baroque author since he has a very elaborated usage of words and sentences, making his prose very rich in adjectives and despcriptions but at the same time with quick flow to the reader. Here are some references to his work:
Author Juan Villoro stated: "He renewed the Mexican novel with Because it seems to be a lie, the truth is never known" and, according to cult writer Roberto Bolaño: "Daniel Sada is undoubtly writing one of the most ambitious works in the Spanish language".
His novel Almost Nothing it's translated and also some of his short stories.
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