Human Mourning

Jose Revueltas, Author University of Minnesota Press $0 (208p) ISBN 978-0-8166-1809-5
In this first English translation of a 1943 Mexican novel, a small group of Indian peasants flees a rising flood just after the Mexican Revolution. A little girl dies in the opening pages, but her corpse is present throughout, serving as a metaphor for the spirit of Mexico. The band finds temporary shelter on a rooftop; as buzzards circle overhead, the victims each review the recent, cataclysmic events. In unfolding an account of betrayal, torture and, above all, death, Revueltas dismisses the supposed religious motives for the violence, pointing out that the schism between the Federales (revolutionary forces) and the Cristeros (church-sponsored counter-revolutionaries) was less ideological than political. Although the book is interesting as a cultural signpost, readers unfamiliar with Mexican history will be confused by Revueltas's impressionistic presentation; it is sapped of literary strength by the flattening of characters into socioeconomic symbols. (Feb.)
Reviewed on: 01/01/1990
Release date: 01/01/1990
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