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the Complete Review
the complete review - fiction

Palinuro of Mexico

Fernando del Paso

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To purchase Palinuro of Mexico

Title: Palinuro of Mexico
Author: Fernando del Paso
Genre: Novel
Written: 1977
Length: 557 pages
Original in: Spanish
Availability: Palinuro of Mexico - US
Palinuro of Mexico - UK
Palinuro of Mexico - Canada
Palinure de Mexico - France
Palinurus von Mexiko - Deutschland
  • Translated by Elisabeth Plaister

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Our Assessment:

A : a brilliant, wide-ranging display.

See our review for fuller assessment.

Review Summaries
Source Rating Date Reviewer
Chicago Tribune . 11/8/1996 Alan Cheuse
The LA Times . 21/7/1996 Charlotte Innes
The NY Times Book Rev. A- 11/8/1996 James Polk
Salon A+ 30/12/1999 Janet Fitch
San Fran. Chronicle . 6/10/1996 Thomas Christensen
The Washington Post . 1/9/1996 Alfred Mac Adam
World Literature Today . Fall/1993 George McMurray

  From the Reviews:
  • "This is not so much a story as a Mardi Gras of the imagination." - Janet Fitch, Salon

Please note that these ratings solely represent the complete review's biased interpretation and subjective opinion of the actual reviews and do not claim to accurately reflect or represent the views of the reviewers. Similarly the illustrative quotes chosen here are merely those the complete review subjectively believes represent the tenor and judgment of the review as a whole. We acknowledge (and remind and warn you) that they may, in fact, be entirely unrepresentative of the actual reviews by any other measure.

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The complete review's Review:

       A big, broad book, and a virtuoso writing performance. Littering the novel with references -- literary, medical, political, philosophical, historical -- del Paso is almost entirely successful with this marvelously ambitious effort. Chronicling in a number of voices the life of Palinuro (and his cousin Estenfania), del Paso's dense but entertaining text is a splendid novel. Our only reservations go to some of the presentation: some of the chapters are too unconnected, reading occasionally like MFA-Creative Writing Program exercises (excellent ones, admittedly) -- perhaps too much rubbed off when del Paso was at the Iowa Writing Program..... The other warning is that there is great attention to medical detail -- readers who are annoyed by lots of technical language and or graphical detail might be put off by it. Otherwise we recommend it very, very highly.
       We have not read the original Spanish, but we also praise Elisabeth Plaister for a translation that reads extremely well.

       The book was first published in Spain in 1977 (and in Mexico in 1980), and first appeared in English under the English Quartet imprint. Now the estimable Dalkey Archive has brought out this colourful edition. They deserve great success with it: it is a hugely important book and a very fine read.

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Palinuro of Mexico: Reviews: Fernando del Paso: Other books of interest under review:

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About the Author:

       Mexican author Fernando del Paso was born in 1935.

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