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124 pages, Paperback
First published March 19, 1955
Nights around here are filled with ghosts. You should see all the spirits walking through the streets. As soon as it is dark they begin to come out. No one likes to see them. There’s so many of them and so few of us that we don’t even make the effort to pray for them anymore, to help them out of their purgatory. We don’t have enough prayers to go around…Then there are our sins on top of theirs. None of us still living is in God’s grace. We can’t lift up our eyes, because they’re filled with shame.When Juan Preciado visit’s his mother’s home of Comala to his father, the long deceased and ‘pure bile’ of a man, Pedro Páramo, he finds a town of rot and decay filled with ghosts, both figuratively and literally. This is a place of utter damnation, where the sins of a family are so strong that their bloodstained hands have tainted and tarnished the immortal souls of all they come in contact with, leaving in their wake a trail of withered, writhing spirits condemned to forever inhabit their hellish homes. There is nothing pleasant—aside from the intense, striking poetry of Rulfo’s words—to be found in the history of Comala, a town burdened by a list of sins so long and dark that even the preacher’s soul cannot escape from the vile vortex.
Life is hard as it is. The only thing that keeps you going is the hope that when you die you’ll be lifted off this mortal coil; but when they close one door to you and the only one left open is the door to Hell, you’re better off not being born…This violent, vitriolic landscape forges an unforgettable portrait of Rulfo’s Mexico, eternally encapsulating his vision into the glorious dimensions of myth. The small novel reads like a bedtime story meant to instill good morality in children through fear, while still enchanting their mind’s eye with a disintegrating stage furnished by crumbling, cadaverous buildings and populated by doomed phantoms. His style is phenomenal, effortlessly swapping between past and present, character to character, all in order to build a montage of madness and damnation.
Behind him, as he left, he heard the murmuring.
I am lying in the same bed where my mother died so long ago; on the same mattress, beneath the same black wool coverlet she wrapped us in to sleep. I slept beside her, her little girl, in the special place she made for me in her arms.
I think I can still feel the calm rhythm of her breathing; the palpitations and sighs that soothed my sleep... I think I feel the pain of her death... But that isn't true.
Here I lie, flat on my back, hoping to forget my loneliness by remembering those times.
Because I am not here just for a while. And I am not in my mother's bed but in a black box like the ones for burying the dead. Because I am dead.
دعك من المخاوف
ماعاد بإمكان أحد أن يخيفك
حاول التفكير في أمور سارة لأننا سوف نبقى مدفونين زمناً طويلاً
أيقظني الحر كان جسد تلك المرأة المصنوع من تراب ، والمحاط بقشور من تراب
يتحلل وكأنه يذوب في بركةٍ من الوحل
وكنتُ أشعر بأني أسبح وسط العرق الذي يقطر منها
وافتقدت الهواء اللازم للتنفس
عندئذٍ نهضت . كانت المرأة نائمة وكان يفور من فمها دوي فقاعات شبيهة بالحشرجة