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The Burning Plain and Other Stories (Texas Pan American Series) Paperback – January 1, 1971


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Product Details

  • Series: Texas Pan American Series
  • Paperback: 175 pages
  • Publisher: University of Texas Press (1971)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0292701322
  • ISBN-13: 978-0292701328
  • Product Dimensions: 0.5 x 6 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #259,288 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

Juan Rulfo's fifteen tales of rural folk prove him to be one of the master storytellers of modern Mexico.... Rulfo has an eye for the depths of the human soul, an ear for the 'still sad music of humanity,' and a gift for communicating what takes place internally and externally in man. (Houston Post)

The Burning Plain and Other Stories consists of fifteen pieces ranging from brief anecdotes, casual incidents that remind one of 'happenings' in pop art, to short stories. Many, indeed, are short-short stories in deceptively elemental language and narrative technique; yet all have a sharp impact on the reader.... With a few bare phrases the author conveys a feeling for the bleak, harsh surroundings in which his people live. (Saturday Review)

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Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

56 of 57 people found the following review helpful By Guillermo Maynez on February 1, 2001
Format: Paperback
One regrettable consequence of Garcia Marquez's fame is that Latin American literature has come to be identified exclusively with "magical realism". Everything has to be extraordinary, epic, full of tropical lust, palms, jaguars, people having sex in every corner, flying to the sky with a pineapple on their heads. But Latin America is a vast continent producing artist of universal stature, even if the rest of the world decides (to their disadvantage) to ignore all but the folkloric.
Well, Juan Rulfo is a master of the highest sort and this book is NOT magical realism, but pure, hard realism. He only wrote two books, this one and "Pedro Paramo", another masterpiece which I also don't count as magical realism, although some do, as well as a few lesser works. He didn't need to write much. His is a literature worked and reworked restlessly, until reaching perfection. Every single word fits perfectly with the rest. There are no digressions, no philosophy, no theories or grand landscapes. All his tales develop in Southern Jalisco, in a poor, dry, vast, sunburned and sad land. The prose is also dry, precise, economical and to the point. The characters are ignorant, miserable, but conscious and courageous. The titles say much: "It's because we are so poor" is one of them. However, you will not find self-pity or corny sad tales. Only bits of human misery perfectly narrated. By the way, this is the first review I write for Amazon in which I use the word "perfect". Probably it won't happen again, with one or two exceptions.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By "pbeltran" on December 6, 2000
Format: Paperback
ANGST. This is the best word to describe the human landscape that Rulfo has portrayed in this collection of short stories. A lanscape of extreme sorrow that blossoms over the arid plain, where poverty, opression and ignorance intermingle with faith to shape the tragedy of the post-revolutionary rural Mexico. A tragedy that has lived over 70 years and that may help explaining the nature of the mexican people, their doings and fears. But moreover its social meanings, Juan Rulfo, has created a masterpiece of storytelling, not only at the Latin-american level, but rather as an universal gift. This is not magic realism alà Garcia Marquez or Isabel Allende. This is bare boned reality, told with the beauty and the ease that just a master can reach, in which the words mix perfectly for creating short bursts of narrative, perfectly solved stories, that will fill the mind, the mouth and the eyes of the reader with the burnt sand of the plains, with the ashes of the dead, with the tears of the desperate. If you're ready to follow Tanilo's bloody footsteps toward Talpa, to hunt toads with Macario, or to fall under the spell of Niño Anacleto's preaching, or under the spell of misterious rural Mexico, dive into the pages of this collection of short stories, and compare it with any other you have already read, and you will understand why Rulfo never writed any further. Because he almost reached perfection.
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24 of 27 people found the following review helpful By LaLoren on March 17, 1999
Format: Paperback
Sorry, I did not buy this book from Amazon, but I will by the other Rulfo books available. I found this book in a used book store, I happened to be browsing through. I don't even know what caught my eye, but what a find. This is so beautifully written. I must admit that though I at one time had a strong interest in the Mexican Revolution, I have forgottem much of what I learned, so some of the stories were hard for me to understand in their historical context. The writing is so evocative, however, that it doesn't matter. The feeling of desolation is almost too overwhelming. I was reminded somewhat of Ernest Hemingway by the use of short declarative sentences, also I suppose because Hemingway often used Spanish phrasing in his work. The best writing, in my opinion, evokes a feeling rather than describing it. Rulfo accomplishes that amazingly.
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful By M. F. Lucas on January 5, 2006
Format: Paperback
Rulfo's style, like his stories, is sparse, quiet, and often harsh. He offers disturbing tales of miserable people in barren places; yet there is also a strange beauty to be found in his work. I can think of few, if any, examples of such perfect prose. The characters--though they suffer--seem close at hand and perfectly real, and he gives the most incredible descriptions of landscapes that I have ever read in my life. It is easy to see his connection to "magical realism"--it is largely in the way he sets the tone of the stories, and in those unbelievably vivid descriptions--but his work does not fall into that category. There is no escaping the terribly blunt reality he creates.

Whether you are interested in Latin American literature or not, if you are at all interested in prose, you should read this book.
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on June 21, 2004
Format: Paperback
The Burning Plains is a compilation of short stories that Juan Rulfo published on diferent publications at different times. it's also at the moment, besides his masterpiece Pedro Paramo, the only material available.
The shorts stories are chilling, incledibly well written. It's superb, and the english translation more than acceptable.
To me the highlights of the book are "Talpa" and "they have given us the land" (the opener on the spanish version, but some reason is not on this english edition)but the whole book is amazing.
I bought this book for my girfriend as an exorsism from jennifer Wiener's "Good in Bed" I was worried about the translation but it didn't dissapoint me.
the ideal way to read The Burning Plain is in spanish, but since this book is not that surreal as pedro paramo is, this tranlation works just fine.
I hope this brief note helps you to choose a good book.
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