Aire de las Colinas: Cartas A Clara = Air from the Hills

Juan Rulfo, Author
Juan Rulfo, Author Debate $16.95 (341p) ISBN 978-84-8306-275-3
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The 81 letters brought together in this collection capture a hopelessly devoted and amorous Juan Rulfo, the father of magical realism. To read his correspondence to Clara Aparicio, his young girlfriend, muse, and eventual wife, is to be immersed in a quaint and traditional courtship and epoch. However, it may well be that the letters' power and charm spoke more effectively to Rulfo's lover than they will to his adoring audience. Written between October 1944 and December 1950, each letter is a curious synthesis of the saccharine, the quotidian, and the existential. Amid the cloying sentimentality of the weekly writings, colloquial linguistic expressions and descriptions of the daily toll of life in Mexico City manage to make the letters more interesting. Also, a scholarly introduction and additional contextual notes, photos, and reproductions of certain letters themselves add body to this collection the ninth letter, in particular, is beautifully written in spiral form. Overall, however, those in search of traces of Rulfo's masterpieces El llano en llamas (The Burning Plain, 1953) and Pedro P ramo (1955) will find that the letters to Clara are a gushy beginning to his writing career and best kept in the intimate gaze of their original beholder. Recommended only for the greatest of Rulfo's fans or for large academic collections. Silvia Heredia, Univ. of Michigan, Ann Arbor
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