I first heard of Juan Rulfo when I was skimming Carlos Monsivais’s collection of essays, Mexican Postcard, and his presentation of Rulfo as a key innovator, working right before the Latin American Boom, compelled me to find a copy of Rulfo’s novel for myself. At used bookstores in North Carolina, copies of Pedro Páramo were in abundance, all of them the recent translation by Margaret Sayers Peden, so I grabbed a copy in English. Since arriving in Mexico, the book has already come up in conversation several times, and I have begun to feel as though I would be betraying Rulfo to an extent by reading the translated text. Thus, I picked up a copy in Spanish edited by José Carlos González Boixo and am pleased with the supplementary material in this edition (it contains a thorough introduction and set of appendixes featuring historical context, critical reception, and analyses of the work as well as information about previous editions of the text).
I am just beginning the text itself and only a few pages in, I am already beginning to understand why magical realist authors (namely Gabriel Garcia Marquez) claim to be deeply indebted to this work. Another engaging feature of this edition is how the editor incorporates Rulfo’s photography directly in the text, offering a clear visual sense of place that counters the disorienting nature of the story’s beginning.