Dusty's Reviews > Recollections of Things to Come

Recollections of Things to Come by Elena Garro
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's review
May 20, 2010

liked it
bookshelves: read-in-2010
Recommended to Dusty by: Cesar Salgado
Read from August 23 to 27, 2010

In a way, Recollections is the ultimate "boom" book. Like Pedro Páramo, it is set in a dusty imaginary Mexican town, where the evils of the Mexican Revolution are staged in small-scale allegorical conflicts between the townspeople and the occupying military forces; like Artemio Cruz, it tells its story with playful chronology, emphasizing the discrepancy between real events and the "people's" memory of those events; and its instances of magic realism directly anticipate those so-famous episodes in Hundred Years of Solitude -- the whole town falls to sleep at once, characters transform into stones, etc.

I found the book rather slow and its characters (a) hard to tell apart and (b) not terribly compelling, but I suspect that had more to do with the fact that I read an imperfect translation rather than the original Spanish. I suppose it's a statement about the machismo of the 1950s-1960s "boom" phenomenon that Elena Garro's work seems central to the movement's aesthetic but she, herself, remains largely unread. Like one of the other reviewers mentions, it's criminal that Gabriel Garcia Márquez gets all the credit for magic realism when other writers, like Garro, were doing it for many years previous, and sometimes better.

Anyway, if you're interested in the "boom" or in literature about the Mexican Revolution, you should pick this up.
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