43 of 45 people found the following review helpful
Poet searches for Mexican third path,
This review is from: The Labyrinth of Solitude: The Other Mexico, Return to the Labyrinth of Solitude, Mexico and the United States, the Philanthropic Ogre (Paperback)
Paz's 'Labyrinth of Solitude' describes a Mexico of days gone by. 21st-century Mexico is dramatically more urban and modern, on the whole, than when Paz wrote this 50+ years ago.
Published in 1950, this was a book of its time. The Grove Press English translation is first rate; it reads beautifully.
Paz despised communism but was unimpressed with American materialism and narcissism, which in any event he thought inapplicable en masse to the Mexican character (as he piercingly described it) that drew so heavily on indigenous roots. He thought Mexico could find a third way, and he chose to start his search for it by heeding the millenia-old Socratic charge: know thyself. The result was a book one critic called an insult to every Mexican mother, though in truth it's nothing of the sort. His polemic made him no friends in the short term, however, even as it became an instant classic and catapulted him among the pinnacle stars of 20th century Latin American cultural critics.
Great to read while traveling, but good to keep in mind it's dated 5 decades. He's not describing the Mexican world a decade after NAFTA! His collected poems are worth the cost of admission, too.