Winner of Mexico’s Premio Novela Mexico, Spain’s Romulo Gallegos Prize for best Spanish-language novel, and France’s Priz de Meilleur Livre Etranger for best foreign book, Palinuro of Mexico is a masterpiece which ranks with the finest achievements of Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Carlos Fuentes, and Mario Vargas Llosa.
Palinuro, a medical student, is born into a polygenetic family: Uncle Esteban, who fled from Hungary during the Great War and traveled across the world to Mexico, clinging to his dream of becoming a doctor; Grandpa Francisco, a Freemason and old-time companion of Pancho Villa; Uncle Austin, an ex-British marine; grandmothers, aunts, cousins—an eccentric menage. Since childhood, Palinuro has loved his first cousin, Estefania, with an overwhelming and consuming passion. They indulge their incestuous desires and bizarre fantasies in a room in the Plaza Santa Domingo.
Drawing from a cultural cornucopia, del Paso propels Palinuro and his companions though the real and the imaginary realms of mythology, science, politics, social comment, the arts, advertising and pornography. This labyrinthine tour de force is a fusion of Rabelaisian wit, Swiftian satire, Shakespearean invention and pastiche ranging from Hawthorne to Galdos.