Lord, This Wore Me Down
(I INTRODUCED this set of book reviews here. This is the 4th in the series)
Juan Rulfo (set in Mexico, pub 1955)
Plot Summary: man returns to (literal) ghost town searching for his father
This is the second time in as many reviews that I find myself reviewing a book not for its writing or character development or dialogue or atmosphere or structure or pacing but for its content.
When I began Pedro Paramo, I was taken with all of the above elements. I like a nonlinear plot, so what throws many readers is something I seek. And the surrealism of the created town is wonderful. But the unrelenting violence against women is not something I want to read.
In this slim 124 page book, it is one thing right after another. And then one more. And another. Since finishing, I’ve read a great many reviews of the book (turns out, it’s considered a 20th Century classic). I was searching for some explanation of why Rulfo thought this treatment was necessary.
But not one review discusses why every female character in the book was raped, shamed, exploited, kidnapped, degraded, co-opted into abuse, or subject to incest. It’s not even acknowledged. It’s almost as if this use of women is irrelevant to the wonderfully-told story about a terrible patron. Ahem.