Loving You Was My Undoing

Javier Gonzalez-Rubio, Author, Yareli Arizmendi, Translator, Stephen A. Lytle, Translator
Javier Gonzalez-Rubio, Author, Yareli Arizmendi, Translator, Stephen A. Lytle, Translator Henry Holt & Company $22 (160p) ISBN 978-0-8050-4878-0
Reviewed on: 03/01/1999
Release date: 03/01/1999
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An ardent passion vies with professional duty in this slender, dramatic tale (first published in Spanish in 1991) of amour fou set during Pancho Villa's Mexican revolution. The arrival of the revolutionaries to the sleepy town of Monreal, a fertile spot on the edge of the desert, offers local notary Federico Farias a chance to become a hero, though he loses his life in the process. Dashing revolutionary general Valentin Cobelo pursues the federales through the town, and sets his eye on Farias's lovely, arrogant widow, Rosario. He is the product of a rich, lecherous, powerful and (ultimately) cowardly father; she, of a sturdy and devoutly Catholic mother whose husband left the family when Rosario was young. Intoxicated by the winds of change sweeping their country, Valentin and Rosario try to escape from psychological and social restrictions in a mad and liberating passion. The novel is fundamentally a traditional romantic vision in the spirit of Shelley, Byron, Emily Bronte and Garcia Lorca; a romantic synthesis of erotic and revolutionary energies, it is appealingly simple, with distinctly drawn characters, haunting anthropomorphic description of the Mexican landscape and a storyline that rushes to a singularly sad conclusion. In the end, the lack of obvious links with modern democratic Mexico is disappointing; it's hard to buy this as a vision of the Mexican good old days. (Mar.)
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