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Review

Author(s): Carole A. Holdsworth


Review by: Carole A. Holdsworth
Source: Hispania, Vol. 54, No. 1 (Mar., 1971), p. 209
Published by: American Association of Teachers of Spanish and Portuguese
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/338140
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BOOKS OF THE HISPANIC WORLD 209


his poetry shows a marked religious bent. In

these poems he seems to prefer the sonnet form.

In his poems of foreign ports and exotic cities


he frequently exhibits a whimsical humor. In
his amusing "Semana holandesa" Pellicer writes
"En Amsterdam/ las griias hablan aermin./ La
sinfonia del puerto/ lega con un andante de
100000 toneladas./ Los trasatlAnticos salen en

re;/ los remolcadores en mi./" Occasionally his

humor has an anti-Yankee touch: in "Divagaciones del puerto" we find "En Veracruz hay
muchos tiburones/ que comen yanquis con frecuencia."; and in "Oda al sol de Paris" Pellicer

has a radio news flash "Bluefields, Nicaragua,


88/ marinos yanquis han muerto de insolacion. . . .

(During the 1930's the poet was imprisoned

for political reasons. His principal crime probably

was his undisguised admiration of, and ad-

herence to, Jos6 Vasconcelos. This is mentioned

here only because it is likely that some of


Vasconcelos' very bitter feeling toward the
United States seeped out through the poet's
pen.)
Pellicer is definitely worth reading, and his
poems teem with unusual metaphors. But let

his verses speak for him: from his "Pausa naval"


we cite "Y la gran agua nave/ empujando archi-

pidlagos mecia/ las hamacas desnudas de los


tr6picos,/ la voz collar del ecuador en nubes/-

para los pies de Dios-de los volcanes/ que

hornean el pan de estrellas de los Andes"; and


from "Ret6rica del paisaje" where Pellicer depicts Mexico City "En el tiempo compacto/ de
los dosmiltrescientos metros de la altura,/ los
paisajes estin en un solo acto./ El aire es siempre exacto/ en su tiempo tonal; sabe escultura/
porque un pintor en tan vastos andamios/ puede

fraguar los delirantes cadmios/ y acompasar geo-

metricas figuras./ (Los claros adjetivos/ ecuestres en caballos sustantivos . . .)."


Univ. of Missouri-Kansas City

BERNARD DULSEY

NAVARRETE, RA6L. Luz que se duerme. Mexico:

Siglo XXI Editores, 1969. Paper. 207 pp.


The young writer Rail Navarrete, author of
the novel Aqui alil, en esos lugares and of an
Autobiografia, has produced in Luz que se
duerme a strange and haunting novel, which

greenish light cast by the lantern clutched in

its hand. A peculiar horror is masterly conveyed


by the novelist's account of the combination of

normal, every-day activities with the secret

preparations for the mysterious, pagan ceremony

of exorcism. "Chapters" Four and Five (indi-

cated only, not so numbered) describe at length

the ancient ritual-performed at night in an


open field-which culminates in the descent to

earth and burial of the restless victim. The pro-

gressively intensified atmosphere of creeping


horror may cause the reader to recall the materialization of Ziemssen in Der Zauberberg.
As has been stated, the characters of Luz que
se duerme are nameless. The author has care-

fully included, however, representatives of three

generational levels. A small group of children


serve somewhat the purpose of the classical
chorus, as they spy on their elders' strange
activities. The second level is represented by
"el hombre" (the murderer) and "la muchacha,"
a tragic couple whose attraction is purely animalistic. On the third level, "la mujer ancha"
and "el viejo" share the same haunted life as
the others, all "pensando que quizA sucediera
algo de lo que mas temian" (p. 176). This
implicit theme of an endless repetition of fear
and violence is also suggested by the children's
destruction of the "serpiente verde," both the
witch's apparent "famlihar" and a symbol of

never-ending, senseless violence.


Navarrete employs third-person narration, complicated by a constant, vague shifting of subject,

with personal pronouns omitted even when


needed for clarity. A basic (occasionally some-

what self-conscious) stylistic technique is the use


of repetition, the outstanding example being the

question "4Que has visto?" The answer to this


question is both dreaded and eagerly sought, as
each character struggles against the terrifying
possibility that "la realidad seri que no se librari

de nada, que no caminara ..." (p. 181). Terror

is to be preferred to dissolution.

CAROLE A. HOLDSWORTH

Loyola Univ. (Chicago)

ONETTI, JUAN CARLOS. funtacaddveres. Monte-

combines experimental technique with an ageless

video: Editorial Alfa, 3a. edici6n, 1968. R6stica, 258 pp.


La lectura de esta novela provoca una dual
reacci6n en el inimo del lector. Por un lado,

The tropical world of Luz que se duerme is a


numbing and hopeless world, the inhabitants of

del ran poder del autor para internarlo en el


mundo interior de sus personajes, en los mis

theme.

which are completely lacking in intellectual

profundity. The nameless protagonist is an animalized "Raskolnikov," driven to possible suicide


more through fear of the Unknown than through
remorse of self-knowledge. The redemptive power

of suffering and of love as developed by Dos-

toyevsky fades here before the irrational fear


which grips all of the anonymous characters.
The actual novelistic action centers upon the
efforts of a group of neighbors, among whom
is the murderer, to exorcise the wandering spirit

of the murdered bruja, whose ghost has been


haunting the neighborhood enveloped in a

siente los efectos de su gran fuerza introspectiva,

rec6nditos secretos del yo, y reve4ar asi, con una

t&cnica que parece cinematogrifica, el lento


"fluir de la conciencia"-segdin la conocida expresion de William James-, o para ser mis

exactos, diriamos mejor el fluir de los mAs


variados procesos psiquicos, para incluir entre
6stos a la sub-conciencia y los instintos, en particular el sexo. Por el otro, el arte de este
novelista le deja como un sedimento de frustraci6n, como si se preguntara a si mismo para qu6

este a-larde de tanto talento si al final de la obra

no hallamos mensaje alguno, si la filosofia del


autor y, por ende, de sus personajes, estA des-

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