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Pedro Páramo

4.07  ·  Rating details ·  46,613 ratings  ·  3,557 reviews
A classic of Mexican modern literature about a haunted village.

As one enters Juan Rulfo's legendary novel, one follows a dusty road to a town of death. Time shifts from one consciousness to another in a hypnotic flow of dreams, desires, and memories, a world of ghosts dominated by the figure of Pedro Páramo - lover, overlord, murderer.

Rulfo's extraordinary mix of sensory i
Paperback, Reprint Edition, 128 pages
Published March 10th 1994 by Grove Press (first published March 19th 1955)
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Popular Answered Questions
Alfonso Ledesma Parra "—[...] Y a propósito, ¿qué es de tu madre?
—Murió —dije.
—¿Ya murió? ¿Y de qué?
—No supe de qué. Tal vez de tristeza. Suspiraba mucho.
—Eso es lo malo. C…more
"—[...] Y a propósito, ¿qué es de tu madre?
—Murió —dije.
—¿Ya murió? ¿Y de qué?
—No supe de qué. Tal vez de tristeza. Suspiraba mucho.
—Eso es lo malo. Cada suspiro es como un sorbo de vida del que uno se deshace."(less)

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 ·  46,613 ratings  ·  3,557 reviews

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Feb 15, 2014 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: The doomed and damned
Recommended to s.penkevich by: Garima
The sun was tumbling over things, giving them form once again. The ruined, sterile earth lay before him.

There are passages of Juan Rulfo’s exquisite ‘Pedro Páramo’ that I want to cut out and hang upon my walls like a valuable painting. Because that is what this novel is, a purely beautiful surrealistic painting of a hellish Mexico where words are the brushstrokes and the ghastly, ghostly tone is the color palate. Rulfo’s short tale is an utter masterpiece, and the forerunner of magical realism
Ahmad Sharabiani
Pedro Páramo = Pedro Paramo (1955), Juan Rulfo

Pedro Paramo is a novel written by Juan Rulfo about a man named Juan Preciado who travels to his recently deceased mother's hometown, Comala, to find his father, only to come across a literal ghost town─populated, that is, by spectral figures.

Paramo was a key influence on Latin American writers such as Gabriel García Márquez. Gabriel García Márquez has said that he felt blocked as a novelist after writing his first four books and that it was only hi
Jim Fonseca
“She [your mother] told me you were coming. She said you’d arrive today.”
“My mother…my mother is dead.”
“Oh, then that’s why her voice sounded so weak.”

This book, really a novella (120 pages), is a Mexican classic, an early example of magical realism. It’s original, startling, unique. According to Wikipedia Gabriel García Márquez has said that he felt blocked as a novelist after writing his first four books and that it was only his life-changing discovery of Pedro Páramo in 1961 that opened his
Vit Babenco
Apr 15, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Juan Rulfo was one of those who stood at the beginning of magic realism.
Pedro Páramo is a descent into the hell of human memory, a plunge into an abyss of the dire past – the hero travels to find his father but he finds himself astray in the land of the dead.
Behind him, as he left, he heard the murmuring.
I am lying in the same bed where my mother died so long ago; on the same mattress, beneath the same black wool coverlet she wrapped us in to sleep. I slept beside her, her little girl, in the sp
Mar 24, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Second reading. Surprisingly readable prose for such a dense and multi-layered story. A young man follows his mother's dying wish to return to the village of her birth and make Pedro Páramo, the young man's father, pay for the abandonment of his family. What follows is something like Dante's descent into hell as the young man, Juan Preciado, and his Virgil, a burro-driver named Abundio — also a son of Páramo — make their way down the long road to the village. The village of the mother's youth is ...more
People often talk about 'Before and After', as in before something momentous happens and after it has happened.

There's a 'Before and After' in this book, and though the transition between the two happens from one moment to the next, there's an immeasurable distance between them in everything except time. I think of that distance as the distance between the town of Colima and the town of Comala, both real places in Mexico.

When his mother dies, Juan Preciado sets out from his home in Colima to f
Sep 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

This town is filled with echoes. It's like they were trapped behind the walls, or beneath the cobblestones. When you walk you feel like someone's behind you, stepping in your footsteps.

Juan Preciado promises his dying mother to travel to her home village Comala to visit his father, the title Pedro Páramo, and claim what’s theirs. This is the starting point of the novel. So he sets off but Comala from his mother’s tales is quite a different thing. Today it is a dead town, where ghosts of the past
Mar 16, 2012 rated it really liked it
A complete panorama composed of mood & atmosphere, "Pedro Paramo" came highly recommended by Mario Vargas Llosa in his "Letters to a Young Novelist" aka the writer's own poetics. I must say that I had some difficulty with the Spanish at first; it took me longer to get through the short book than I intended. The different vignettes come together to form the corpus of the awful man, brutal rancher, sadistic ladies man, Pedro Paramo (like different POVs coalesce in Mrs. Dalloway to describe & embod ...more
Sep 11, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Garima by: Some random internet browsing.

. . . I watched the trickles glinting in the lightning flashes, and every breath I breathed, I sighed. And every thought I thought was of you, Susana.

Like a message in the bottle, some stories float through decades and centuries on the endless ocean of an untold past and bear a timeless appeal by echoing few words of eternal desires – Wish you were here. Pedro Paramo is one such story. Surrounded by an iridescence of magical realism, the wonders of this gorgeous little book can’t truly be captur
Stephen P(who no longer can participate due to illness)

Spoken as a literary dream this grim tale bordering the fine line of fable switches past and present, points of view, with whispered elegance. Images are presented out of swirls of dust and cloud myth, tale and hallucination, revealing the cutthroat lives of existence.

I just finished Knausgaard's, My Struggle #1 and #2 wouldn't arrive for two days. Unable to be without reading a book I picked the slimmest off my shelves in my library. Even being a slow reader 124 pages could be finished
K.D. Absolutely
Jan 06, 2011 rated it really liked it
Recommended to K.D. by: 1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die (2006-2010)
Absolutely brilliant. First published in 1955, Pedro Paramo was the only novel by Mexican author and photographer, Juan Rulfo, yet it established his name as one of the most important Spanish-language writers of the 20th century together with Jorge Luis Borges. This novel started the genre, magical realism that inspired Gabriel Garcia Marquez to write his masterpiece, 100 Years of Solitude. In fact, Marquez liked the novel so much that he read it many times and could recite portions of it for ma ...more
Pedro Páramo is filled with beauty and sadness. Told in fragments, the novel constantly shifts perspectives, blending past and future, living and dead, in chaotic, unpredictable ways. This makes the narrative challenging to follow, but creates a chilling, dreamlike atmosphere, and a kind of extra-temporal unification of cause and effect. There is an implied tragedy at the heart of the novel, the nature of which is gradually revealed, though never completely.

Because of its disconnected and crypti
Caro the Helmet Lady
Feb 26, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: fans of magical realism
Recommended to Caro by: Jolanta (knygupe)
What a peculiar book. The story itself is very symbolical and very dreamlike to that. One can never be sure who's the narrator at the given moment - is it a living person, is it a ghost or is it something else? But at the same time it's strongly tied to history of Mexico in the beginning of last century - revolutions, chaos, anarchy. The main object of story - Pedro Paramo is a symbol of his era - in some way he's death himself and he's a dying, outworn element of the old world order. Quite a re ...more
Dec 30, 2013 rated it really liked it
Recommended to Brian by: Mike Puma
A Mexican magical realism's response to The Spoon River Anthology, Rulfo's brilliant novella isn't going to give up its goods on the first reading. Beyond the requirement of careful character and dialogue parsing, I sense there are different ways to approach the text. We learn in the opening sentences that our protagonist is on his way to visit a father he has never met at the behest of a death-bed request from his mother. After reading this book twice now (and the reviews of my brilliant GR fri ...more
Ben Winch
Jun 22, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Attempt 2, 2014:

It’s hard to describe what this book means to me. On about my second reading I wrote the kneejerk emotive “You Should Read This” response below. Now, on my fourth or fifth, I wonder if I’m any closer to a lucid appraisal.

He doesn’t give you much, Rulfo. If there’s such thing as a minimalist he’s probably it, though not with the magnifying-glass focus of late-period Beckett, or the plainspokenness of Hemingway or Carver. Gothic, otherworldly, broad (though not vast) in scope, Pedr
Feb 19, 2014 rated it really liked it
“The sky was filled with fat stars, swollen from the long night. The moon had risen briefly and then slipped out of sight. It was one of those sad moons that no one looks at or pays attention to. It had hung there a while, misshapen, not shedding any light, and then gone to hide behind the hills.”
Juan Rulfo ~~ Pedro Páramo


There are few books that leave me speechless when turning the lasting page. Pedro Paramo was one such book. Pedro Paramo may also be the scariest ghost story ever written.

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
Mar 02, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Nathan NR Gaddis,Zadignose
Recommended to Mala by: Brain Pain Group

Where the living and the dead worlds collide!
To me this is the perfect bedtime adult ghost story and also the one to be told around a campfire with the appropriate sound effects of howling winds,rustling leaves,and of course the murmurs,always the murmurings escaping from the earth below and through the cracks in the surrounding trees,and a full moon and the"fat stars" and then the rains would start and the said story would be continued inside a tent with a torchlight under the narrator's face f
B. P. Rinehart
Mar 19, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to B. P. by: Eligers Elezi
"The earth, 'this vale of tears.'"

I first heard of this book in March of 2013. That year was a landmark year for me as a reader. I read some books that year that have stayed with me to this day and changed me from someone who liked books into a bibliophile. I'd read The Brothers Karamazov in February of that year and it had broken me. I thought of not reading books again, but stumbled upon comic books which built my appetite and resolve for reading again. But though I decided to read again I wa
Jan 26, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
A man makes a promise to his mother as she lay dying. He will look up his father, who he has never met. Cue an odyssey to the rural backlands of Mexico. He finds that his father is dead, the village he lived in is abandoned save for the ghosts of the past.

Everything is vague and impossible to pin down. We see as if through gauze, into fog, at twylight. Spartan prose. And at the centre a love story, where Pedro the rake, with bastards in every hamlet, only ever truly loves his insane wife.

"And wh
Aug 21, 2013 rated it really liked it
Recommended to rahul by: Garima
and when the rains pour incessantly,
the dead within their graves shift uncomfortably.
A little of them seeps into the water,
a lot of that water we drink, many years after.

And with gentle steps we tread those cemeteries,
and with surprise we wonder,
why the dead have always been expecting us.

With her warm embrace she holds me within her grave,
whispering in my ears about the madness
with which she sought me through her living years.

And though now I am here among the dead,
I still find myself a stran
Steven Godin
Aug 27, 2018 rated it really liked it
Written by immigration agent Juan Rulfo with state funding and published in Mexico in 1955, this psychotic novel does everything one could never dream of if limited by contemporary creative-writing dogma. The book's structure fragments and its protagonist fades out of the narrative, there is no clear plot-line, no hooks, no character development arcs, no climax, no epilogue, and one is left with an existential sense of dislocation and uncertainty. If this novel were to have been written today, w ...more
Katia N
Apr 24, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A masterpiece - ambience, emptiness, sounds and silences, glow... Reminded me "Stalker" by Tarkovsky, only in a written form. The main character is Land, Earth, Slowly Sipping Eternity.

Marquez has totally acknowledged its influence over One Hundred Years of Solitude. But his book is a popcorn compared to this one. My edition comes with the forward by Marquez and a short but wonderful essay by Sontag at the end. This is the book to treasure and read more than once.
Mar 27, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Looking for a father you never met, turns out to be depressing.
While reading this book, I thought I just started a journey, I fell asleep and woke up in to a world full of dreams, in which dead people discuss with alive ones.
The prose is exceptional and you just want it to never end.
In this atmospheric boo, where does life collide with death?
That being said, I recommend this to anyone that wants to read a boo that have inflluenced authors like Gabriel Garcia Markes.

Mar 19, 2020 rated it liked it
Juan Rulfo---previously "Who?"

It all started when I read a book about reading, one where the author, a short story writer himself, recommended this book (and that) of short stories. One of them was The Burning Plain and Other Stories by an early 20th-century Mexican author, Juan Rulfo.

"Hmn," I said (because I say that a lot), "my World Literature reading could always use a booster shot. I'll buy that book and read it."

Like retiring early, easier said than done. The Burning Plain is out of print
Jun 04, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: bitchin
[P] came out of the airport and into the stifling heat of a Mexican midsummer. Overhead, birds as big as cats circled slowly as though tired of the day. By the exit, a line of black taxi cabs dozed. [P] rapped on the window of the closest cab and waited, his forehead already damp with sweat. The cab slowly pulled away as though trying to free itself from something thick and sticky. An identical cab shuffled forward to take its place. [P] approached, and the window came down erratically, like the ...more
Jul 04, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I keep trying to write something about it - because it was such a beautiful read. But it is hard to say anything about something so poetic. I loved the book - it takes you to such a different world, and through a web of living memories.
I fully understand and appreciate the value of this book and that the author is the father of magical realism, a genre that I used to enjoy (not sure now). It is even the book that influenced the most Gabriel Garcia Marques. However, it was really depressing and unpleasant to read a book about the tormented souls of dead people and about a haunted bare village in the middle of nowhere, Mexico. Everybody is dead in this book. Moreover, the structure is very fragmented and I had to be very concent ...more
Sep 14, 2020 rated it really liked it
Pedro Páramo [1955/83] by Juan Rulfo - ★★★★

"A simplicity and profundity worthy of Greek tragedy...Wuthering Heights located in Mexico and written by Kafka", The Guardian

This book influenced Gabriel García Márquez in the writing of One Hundred Years of Solitude, as well as opened a path for so many other “magical realism” books to come. In Pedro Páramo, our protagonist Juan Preciado arrives to Comala, Mexico, to meet his father, Pedro Páramo, whom he has never met before. What the narrator finds
'This world presses in on us from every side; it scatters fistfuls of our dust across the land and takes bits and pieces of us as if to water the earth with our blood. What did we do? Why have our souls rotted away? Your mother always said that at the very least we could count on God's mercy. Yet you deny it, Susana. Why do you deny me as your father? Are you mad?'
'Didn't you know?'
'Are you mad?'
'Of course I am, Bartolomé. Didn't you know?'

Of course Susana is mad, and of course the dead are not
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Juan Rulfo nació el 16 de mayo de 1917 Él sostuvo que esto ocurrió en la casa familiar de Apulco, Jalisco, aunque fue registrado en la ciudad de Sayula, donde se conserva su acta de nacimiento. Vivió en la pequeña población de San Gabriel, pero las tempranas muertes de su padre, primero (1923), y de su madre poco después (1927), obligaron a sus familiares a inscribirlo en un internado en Guadalaja ...more

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