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Palinuro of Mexico [Paperback]

Fernando del

Price: CDN$ 14.95 & FREE Shipping on orders over CDN$ 25. Details
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Book Description

July 1 1996 World Literature Series

Winner of Mexico's Premio Novela Mexico, Spain's Romulo Gallegos Prize for best Spanish-language novel, and France's Priz de Meilleur Livre Etranger for best foreign book,  Palinuro of Mexico is a masterpiece which ranks with the finest achievements of Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Carlos Fuentes, and Mario Vargas Llosa.

Palinuro, a medical student, is born into a polygenetic family: Uncle Esteban, who fled from Hungary during the Great War and traveled across the world to Mexico, clinging to his dream of becoming a doctor; Grandpa Francisco, a Freemason and old-time companion of Pancho Villa; Uncle Austin, an ex-British marine; grandmothers, aunts, cousins -- an eccentric menage. Since childhood, Palinuro has loved his first cousin, Estefania, with an overwhelming and consuming passion. They indulge their incestuous desires and bizarre fantasies in a room in the Plaza Santa Domingo.

Drawing from a cultural cornucopia, del Paso propels Palinuro and his companions though the real and the imaginary realms of mythology, science, politics, social comment, the arts, advertising and pornography. This labyrinthine tour de force is a fusion of Rabelaisian wit, Swiftian satire, Shakespearean invention and pastiche ranging from Hawthorne to Galdos.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 557 pages
  • Publisher: Dalkey Archive Press; New edition edition (July 1 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1564780953
  • ISBN-13: 978-1564780959
  • Product Dimensions: 23 x 15.4 x 3.1 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 703 g
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #1,036,902 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

From Amazon

Reduced to simplest terms, Palinuro of Mexico tells the tale of a pair of cousins (and lovers)--medical student Palinuro and nurse Estefania--who spend much of their time assembling skeleton out of a random collection of bones. But that would be like saying that Joyce's Ulysses is about a late-night stroll. This challenging and rewarding novel has much bigger things on its mind. Built around digressions, flashbacks, shifting time, and a narrator who is "not just one character but several, as well as all characters at once." Fernando del Paso plays with narration, storytelling, time, and the notion of creation.

From Publishers Weekly

Virgil's Palinurus was Aeneas's helmsman who fell victim to the god of sleep. His namesake in this complex, beautiful novel, is also a guide to a novel that straddles the conscious and subconscious, life and death. A combination of Dante's Virgil, Lemuel Gulliver and the little prince, Palinuro leads readers through congeries of cultural and medical reference. Having been raised largely free of a "disgust for life," Palinuro, his beloved cousin Estefania and pedantic cousin Walter describe the body in detail that both repels and enchants. On the face of it, this is the story of Palinuro, a more or less contemporary medical student who lives with his cousin Estefania, and an overheated imagination. But it is also about the power (and powerlessness) of words to define and influence. Palinuro's obsessive fantasizing about the personal life of objects in his room (including an unbeatable passage on the dying days of his mirror); the boarder, don Prospero's compulsive reading of the encyclopedia; and a Proustian description of childhood, are all searingly beautiful. Del Paso's characterizations, often an accumulation of details that become sharply focused, are brilliant, as when he describes Grandmother Altagracia, "who played 'Clair de Lune' on the piano and knew how to lower her lashes in gatherings to hide her spiritual myopia, read the Reader's Digest Selections and remembered having once seen a Titian original." And little beats the humorous pastiche of "Palinuro's Travels Among the Advertising Agencies and other Imaginary Islands." What defines the book, though, are the fetid, pullulating, intimate, miraculous realities of life and its ultimate fragility. (July) FYI: When it was originally published in Mexico in 1977, Palinuro won the Romulo Galegos prize, which is awarded every five years for the best Spanish-language novel, and won the Prix au Meilleur Livre Etranger in 1985 when it was translated into French.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 5.0 out of 5 stars  4 reviews
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Consciousness of a Universe Jan. 18 1997
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Fernando del Paso's Palinuro of Mexico describes a universe in which all things gravitate between the poles of entropy and love; the entropy of history, specifically Mexican history, the entropy of science, specifically medicine, the entropy of capitalism by way of advertising; and the chaotic love of knowledge for its own sake, the forbidden love of body parts, the sometimes obstreperous love of objects, the naive, boisterous love of students, and, mostly, the achingly pure and tellingly damned love between Palinuro and his cousin, Estefania. It is impossible to compress
del Paso's work into an easy synopsis; the universe it describes is the universe of Palinuro's own fantastical consciousness. Read it for the meditations of myth and history; read it for the bawdy comedy; read it for the "Shakespearean invention" (and plagiarism); read it
for the sheer delirious luminous perverse willful drunkenness with words which del Paso effortlessly spins into dadaesque flesh. This is heady stuff, insanely readable, artfully compelling and damnably
entertaining. Drink it deep.
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars drink it... in little gulps Oct. 17 1999
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
so you think 100 years of solitude was the ultimate latinamerican novel? Not at all .Very well misbegotten, Palinuro de México has remained for a long time in the dark, almost surrepticiously. This is a very "natural" combo of baroque, enciclopedia and just mad characters . Of course it is political, but it is also very funny, almost overwhelmingly so. If you are looking for a taste of surrealism, a little of violence (just a little),a beguiling antihero (who happens to be a medical student and a"nice" member of mexican society) and anything else from ridiculous advertisements to a wonderful reflection on death -a-la-mexicana- involving bones and dead bodies(what do you know!) Palinuro of México is a must read for everyone who wants to taste life at its full , in all its fleshliness and with mundane curiosity, do drink it slowly for this is a book that really gets through you,it is a climax, sort of speak. And yes, it happens to be more compelling and more refined than any of Isabel Allende's novels.
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Surealism as the actual reality Jan. 19 2000
By Alejandro Ortiz - Published on Amazon.com
Palinuro of Mexico is a long surreal voyage throughout everything, full of obscure refrences, and quotations, Palinuro takes you on a trip were Mexico and all of its small surrealistic features come to light, were the abnormal is the commonplace and were Palinuro sets out on a journey of self-universal-discovery. Once you have read it you will be the same
3 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent book March 10 2000
By Paishaci - Published on Amazon.com
Hey, i'm looking for some contact with Fernando del Paso, 'cos i wonder if he could give us a speech, or something in the Medicine School at Cuernavaca, Mexico, may you please helpe me?

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