Idioma original: Español

Year of publication: 1996

Valuation: Between is good and recommended

Originally published in 1996 and republished in 2022 by Almadía, Arranged matter is the second novel by the prolific Juan Villoro. And although we could define it, broadly speaking, as a formative novel with echoes of The conjuing of the ceciuos, A somewhat less superficial analysis would lead us to conclude that this would be an incomplete definition, to say the least.

Training novel: obvious and undeniable component, yes. The seven chapters that make up the book cover 28 years of Mauricio Guardiola’s life, separated by two earthquakes that shook Mexico City (between the late 50s and the early 80s). In this sense, the use of the first person in the first 3 chapters (child’s voice), the third person in the last 3 (adult voice) and the mixture of both in the central chapter that represents the passage of childhood / adolescence stands out. of the protagonist.

With echoes of The conjuing of the ceciuos. The grotesque, the strange and the extravagant as a fundamental part of the great tragicomedy of life. From the first image, that of Mauricio Guardiola as a child watching his father fuck one of his many lovers, everything in Guardiola the son’s life will revolve around circles that he has not yet entered.

Definition, to say the least, incomplete. Because the novel also talks about various mislocations and searches for an identity and a sense of belonging, politics, social advancement, success and failure, etc. And the character of Roberto, father and antithesis of Mauricio, is key to this. It is not the only resource for contrast that Villoro uses: Roberto’s double life, the location on the margins of the neighborhood where they both live, Mauricio’s ambiguous sexuality compared to the “pure macho” of Roberto, the brother. hyperactive” compared to the contemplative Mauricio, the figure of the mother, etc.

All of these figures, in addition, paint a picture of Mexico City and Mexican society at the time. Perhaps here lies the main “difficulty” for a non-Mexican reader, in the inability to grasp the various references to Mexicanness. The general lines are captured (machismo, corruption, nepotism, etc.) but I am left with the feeling that someone more (willing) on ​​the subject would get more juice out of the novel.

A lot of books by Juan Villoro in ULAD: HERE


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