The Nine Guardians is crowded with the magic and malice of warring gods and men.
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Text: English (translation)
Original Language: Spanish
Castellanos (1925-1974) has written a haunting novel set against the Mexican Revolution. She gives much of the narration over to a seven-year-old girl, who introduces characters simply yet vividly like a series of candid snapshots. The girl observes her rather remote parents--Cesar Arguello, a wealthy landowner whom she can describe only up to his knees, and his wife, who spends her time caring for a local hunchback so as to assure her place in heaven. Contrasted with them is Nana, the nurturing Indian servant who has cared for the girl and her younger brother, Mario, since birth. As the Indians rise up against the landowners and demand their rights, Castellanos suggests that the rest of society should do the same against the fetters of male supremacy. The author does not take sides between men and women, however; both are responsible for perpetuating the unhealthy state of their lives. Ultimately, while their father struggles to hold on to some scrap of the ranch for Mario's future, both children become the innocent victims of their moral and social inheritance. And Castellanos ( Another Way to Be: Selected Works of Rosario Castellanos ) paints it all with graceful, honest strokes.
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