On the Centenary of a Great Mexican Writer
By Carmen Boullosa
I first read Juan Rulfo when I was 15, and attending high school. By then I had already started fashioning my personal pantheon of writers. Emily Brönte was my first pick—she was queen of the gods. I added others (greedily, speedily) to my cult—Cortázar, Arreola, Borges, Bioy Casares, and Silvina Ocampo with their The Book of Fantasy (anthology of fantastic literature). Then Onetti;,Lezama Lima, Octavio Paz, Rosario Castellanos. Then Cervantes, Lope de Vega and, on the top shelf, Quevedo, who made me laugh to tears.
I knew—as we all did—that Pedro Páramo was a masterpiece, but I added Rulfo to my set of gods reluctantly. Not that I didn’t appreciate his novel, but it was a mandatory text at school, and that was a heavy minus—those were the late 1960, we couldn’t trust a recommendation from anyone over 30.
–Carmen Boullosa, author of Texas: The Great Theft (and many more novels).