Garro, Elena. Recollections of Things To Come. Austin. 1969. University of Texas Press. 0292784090. Illustrated by Alberto Beltran. Translated from the Spanish by Ruth L. C. Simms. Texas Pan American Series. 289 pages. hardcover. Cover art by Alberto Beltran. 




RECOLLECTIONS OF THINGS TO COME is a first novel - but the reader forgets this after a very few pages, because it is also, as John Brushwood says in Mexico in Its Novel, ‘mature, profound, sensitive, and written with professional assurance that is apparent from beginning to end.’ Octavio Paz, the internationally recognized poet and critic, has called it ‘truly an extraordinary work, one of the most perfect creations in contemporary Latin American literature.’ The setting of Recollections is the small Mexican town of Ixtepec; the time is during the cristero revolts that broke out in the latter part of the 1920’s. The town has been occupied by General Francisco Rosas and his troops, and when Rosas orders the closing of the church, the ensuing struggle-often clandestine-of the townspeople against the government forces leads to a climactic series of tragic events. Closely interwoven with the main narrative are the stories of Rosas and his mistress Julia, the Moncada and Meléndez families, the amiable lunatic Juan Cariño, and other vividly realized characters. Miss Garro creates scene after scene with a realism that can range from starkness to almost lyrical evocation. Now and then she introduces an element of outright fantasy, but with such skill that it never seems out of keeping with the overall tone of the novel. These realities and unrealities are expressively suggested by the thirty illustrations which Alberto Beltrán, the well-known Mexican artist, has prepared for this translation.


Garro ElenaElena Garro (December 11, 1920 – August 22, 1998) was a Mexican writer. She was once married to writer Octavio Paz. Elena Garro was born to a Spanish father and a Mexican mother on December 11, 1920 in Puebla, Mexico. (Birth Certificate says ‘11 Diciembre de PROX. Pasado,’ which means Dec. 11, 1916: She spent her childhood in Mexico City but moved to Iguala, Guerrero, during the Cristero War. She studied literature, choreography and theater in the National Autonomous University of Mexico in Mexico City. While she lived in Mexico City she met Octavio Paz, whom she married in 1937. They had one daughter, Helena, but divorced in 1959. However, according to her final will, Elena died without knowing she was divorced. After the 1968 Tlatelolco Massacre, she accused certain Mexican intellectuals of being responsible of instigating the students and later abandoning them. These accusations caused resentment in the intellectual community who repudiated her. In 1972, Garro left the country and lived in exile in France for twenty years. She suffered from lung cancer due to smoking and Consejo Nacional para la Cultura y las Artes (CONACULTA) covered her medical expenses. She later died from this illness. Her work touches on the themes of the marginalization of women and racism. Most important was her criticism of the Mexican government. She also portrayed a critical vision of the Mexican Revolution (1910) in her master novel ‘Los recuerdos del porvenir’ (1963), which was awarded the Xavier Villarutia Prize, and which has been translated into several languages. Her novel ‘Y Matarazo no llamó . . . ‘ criticizes how the government used excessive force to stop the labor strike. In her short story, ‘La culpa es de los tlaxcaltecas,’ she vindicates la Malinche. Her play ‘Felipe Angeles’ is a documentary drama where she resurrects the General Felipe Angeles, a revolutionary leader who was executed in 1919 by the government of Venustiano Carranza] against the will of the people. This was a result of his success in saving the lives of many people in Chihuahua, when Pancho Villa ordered the execution of one hundred soldiers. He is also known for his triumph in Zacatecas. Angeles fought against the dictatorship of Porfirio Diaz with Francisco Madero, president of Mexico who was also assassinated.






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