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Pedro Páramo - Juan Rulfo At the end of a lot of struggling days and a 70-pages document with new words, I've managed to finish my first novel read in Spanish. As I feel like I've earned a prize, I have to thank Linda and Dolors for their support!

I'm not sure I've chosen the right novel to begin with. Apart from my poor understanding of language, the plot was bringing more confusion than I could deal with. I felt utterly frustrated at times because I wanted to read quicker and understand what was going on. But then, the slow pace made me taste mouthfuls of the wonderful sound of Spanish. Man oh man, this language is musicality itself! In the right hands, it breaths poetry through every word. And Juan Rulfo has the magic hands, this can't be denied.

Because of my slow and fragmented foray into this novel, I tend to think of it as a dream or a hallucinatory sequence, much like one from Twin Peaks, where flashes of light reveal and obscure situations and people. Or maybe it's just how it truly feels, maybe I've got the right taste of it. Reality, or what we believe is reality, shifts unexpectedly to a different place and time, transforming the novel into a giant Rubik's Cube with all the colors mixed up. José Donoso's [b:The Obscene Bird of Night|382975|The Obscene Bird of Night|José Donoso|http://d.gr-assets.com/books/1347349654s/382975.jpg|372745] comes to mind now, although this one was pure madness of tangled situations and personalities.

Juan Preciado comes to Comala to find his father, but he is met by an apparently deserted village, hotter than hell, so different from the luscious place depicted in his mother's memories. He can hear murmurs and talk, but no people are in sight. Gradually, through eerie circumstances, he meets some of the residents of Comala, old women and men behaving strangely. This thread of narration is interrupted by echoes from another world - we hear thoughts of a different character, concealed and mysterious at first, on a lush background of rain and greenery; we come to know scattered events that happened long ago, in the time of Pedro Páramo. The people that Juan meets inhabit both the present and the past, resembling the pieces of a puzzle that fall slowly into place.

I was spellbound by the story of Juan Preciado and his journey through Comala; I love magical realism and this part of the novel went straight to my heart. Five stars without hesitation. The level of enjoyment was not the same for the story of Pedro Páramo, because I had so much to hate about his character. But what the heck, this novel deserves five stars, after all. It was magical, enthralling, obsessive, hateful, all into one. It made a part of Mexico come alive - this country fascinates me, by the way - with the good and the bad and with a heavy dose of surreal.

The novel is saturated with the Mexican obsession of death, which I find quite fascinating. If I'll ever go to Mexico, I'll make sure to be there on Día de Muertos, spending my night in the cemetery alight with candles, along with the Mexicans. Ending on a black humor note, I just hope I'll be above ground and not below, like Juan Preciado. (don't click it unless you've read the novel!!)