Tuesday, October 5, 2021

Juan Rulfo by Yuri Herrera

Juan Rulfo

On the Centenary of a Great Mexican Writer

Juan Rulfo


by Yuri Herrera

May 17, 2017

The human element is a particle lost in the depths of time, in Rulfo’s work. It contains more than what is apparent: at every given moment, we carry around the weight of our origins and the weight of our mistakes. Perhaps that is why Rulfo’s main ideas deal with where we came from, what kind of fortune has been dealt to us, and how we can attempt to take revenge on all that.

Juan Rulfo does not run away from darkness, he embraces our obscure spot in the universe, conscious that it contains everything: the geometry of the world of senses and the disquiet of the ineffable. He traveled around Mexico as a tire salesman and as a public servant with the Instituto Nacional Indigenista. He used the textures of the country, his understanding of history, and the disillusionment and rage at history to become a storyteller, but his art is not a simple “representation” or (worse) a “reflection” of reality. Rulfo’s “realism” reveals a finely tuned ear and a great talent for observation, but mainly the capacity to put forward the connotations of silence. “Reality” is not the core of his literature, but what allows for the emergence of broader truths.

Juan Rulfo is our most important author. Although he wrote several pieces for film and multiple texts as part of his work as an editor, the base of his work consists of a novel and a book of short stories. They were enough to establish a matrix that keeps illuminating our present-day drama. His characters and stories are not dated, but in fact function as a metonymy of Mexico and of the universal tragedy that art endeavors to illuminate.

–Yuri Herrera, author most recently of Signs Preceding the End of the World


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