The Book of Lamentations
Publisher: Penguin Books
The Book of Lamentations, appearing for the first time in paperback in a widely praised translation by Esther Allen, is a novel about the southern Mexican region of Chiapas and draws on two centuries of struggle among the Maya Indians, the white landowners, and the conflicted mestizo class. It transposes historical events to the Chiapas of Castellanos's own childhood in the 1930s and explores the struggle of Mexico's women for independence from the oppression of their husbands and lovers. Her plot is multilayered, weaving the stories of wealthy Leonardo; his wife, Isabel; Julia, his independent lover; Fernando, the land-reform agitator; and Catalina, a Mayan woman who raises the bastard child, the result of Leonardo's rape of a Mayan girl.Blending a wealth of historical information and local detail with a profound understanding of the complex relationship between victim and tormentor, Castellanos starkly captures the ambiguities that underlie all struggles for power.
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