The story opens with a very straightforward narrative: Juan Preciado is on his way to Comala to carry out his dying mother’s request — to search for his father Pedro Paramo and claim what’s his. The story gets complicated as soon as he arrived.
The book is multi-voiced. It began in the first-person then a chorus of voices followed thereafter. There were third and first-person voices both in the past and present tense, between the living and the dead.
Juan Preciado eventually realized that everyone is dead in Comala and that he was just talking with spirits because Comala became some sort of a purgatory. I liked the idea that almost everyone he met were dead. Eerie! Juan Preciado’s disappearance made it a bit confusing for me though. Or did he really disappear? Did he die? I’m still not sure.
With its beautiful prose and as a great example of magical realism, I am inclined to reread it to try to seek and understand several details of the story that might have passed me by on my first read.
“No one knows better than I do how far heaven is, but I also know all the shortcuts. The secret is to die, when you want to, and not when He proposes. Or else to force Him to take you before your time.”
“Death is not something you offer as entertainment. No one goes around looking for sadness.”
“The air is clear, there is sunlight, and there are clouds. Up above the sky is blue, and perhaps behind it there are songs and perhaps also voices… In short, there is hope. There is hope for us to heal our sorrow.”
“Everyone chooses the same path. Everyone leaves us.”
“…Don’t worry about me. I have hidden my pain in a safe place. Don’t let your heart stop beating.”
Rating: 3/5 stars