My Encounters with Mexican Literature

Carlos Fuentes, the Mexican writer, has the following quote attributed to him:

Writing is a struggle against silence.

Of his many books, I have only read Aura and I wish he had remained silent.

Whenever I visit a country, I try to make it a point to read some of that country’s literature. Aura was one of the two books I picked when I traveled to Mexico in November 2008.

Aura starts with a strange atmosphere and no likable characters, then goes downhill from there. It’s an illogical frenzy of crazy fantasies. One more warning: don’t read it if you like cats!

The second book I picked for my trip to Mexico was The Labyrinth of Solitude by Octavio Paz who won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1990. That was even worse because I didn’t understand it at all. It is an obvious attempt to complicate any idea, statement and sentence as much as possible, even beyond comprehension. I reread the first couple of pages again and again, then gave up. If an author thinks he needs to write to impress, he can try to find another reader with more patience.

My experience with Mexican literature.

I am not giving up on Mexican literature yet. It can only get better. Your suggestions are welcome!

And no, the car crash was not my fault.

About Andreas Moser

Travelling the world and writing about it. I have degrees in law and philosophy, but I'd much rather be a writer, a spy or a hobo.
This entry was posted in Books, Mexico, Travel and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

11 Responses to My Encounters with Mexican Literature

  1. luke falzon says:

    Try Carlos Castaneda “Journey to Ixtlan” in Mexican literature.

    As for the young boy from dingli who is revered by the whole town for his participation in the Good Friday pageant, whom you clearly identified with downs syndrome, is not considered as a handicapped person by any body in this town.

  2. Csspuhr says:

    if you want to start with something fun by Carlos Fuentes try “The Campaign“. That is really one of his best!

  3. You should definitively read “Pedro Paramo” by Juan Rulfo.

  4. Stefan Bieschewski says:

    If Fuentes and Paz feel too complicated you should really try Juan Rulfo’s collection of short stories “El llano en llamas” (translated as “The Burning Plain and other Stories”). These are simple yet brilliant. It’s a very thin book so you will not waste much time in case you don’t like it. Worth to read it in Spanish if you can.

  5. Raúl says:

    Try with Jorge Ibargüengoitia. He is a very enjoyable writer, maybe “Estas ruinas que ves” (translated as “Abendstunden in der Provinz”), “Las muertas” (“Die toten Frauen”) or “Dos crímenes” (“Zwei Verbrechen”) would like you.

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  8. “If an author thinks he needs to write to impress, he can try to find another reader with more patience.”

    That’s EXACTLY how I feel about avant garde directors who try to impose their peculiar “concepts” onto operas, with the result that one can only understand what they’re driving at by reading the programme notes! In both cases, if that’s the only way one can understand what they are trying to say, clearly they aren’t making a very good job of presenting their ideas. It’s what I call “the Emperor’s New Clothes” school of art. They try to make you feel stupid if you can’t understand what they’re saying.
    However, honesty compels me to admit that this accusation is frequently thrown at lawyers also – though not at Me ;-)

    • I agree 100% on literature, theater and law. I was always most proud when I could explain legal issues to lay people in a way that they said “ah, now that you explained it, it all makes sense suddenly”.

  9. Bryan says:

    Speaking of books, did the book I sent you ever arrive (Walking in the Woods and Water)?

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