Langzaam savoureren, niet alle stukjes achter elkaar er doorheen jassen; een snoepje voor het slapen gaan, een oppepper voor je gemoed en innerlijke staat. Een echte slow-reader dus. Arreola heeft niet ontzettend veel geschreven, zo laat vertaler, Guy Posson, ons in een uitleiding weten; het meeste schreef hij jaren , 20e eeuw. Arreola beweegt zich meer in de traditie van Borges dan in de lijn van Marquez, Vargas Llosa, Cortazar.
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He published only one novel , La feria ; The Fair. His collection of stories Confabulario has been reprinted in several expanded editions and was translated into English as Confabulario and Other Inventions. One of 14 children, Arreola had to leave school at age eight.
He tried his hand at several professions, including journalism, teaching, and editing. When he returned to Mexico City , he took an editorial position with a respected firm.
He was obsessively drawn to the absurd and enjoyed satirizing modern technology and its monstrous by-products. He sounds at times like a comical and impudent Kafka. Like Jorge Luis Borges , Arreola cultivated the hybrid subgenre of the essay-story, a combination that lends authority to quite outlandish propositions. It is without question his most representative.
A stranded railroad traveler waits for months to board a train that never arrives, only to discover that schedules, routes, and even the landscapes seen from the windows of railroad cars are fake. Some literal-minded readers have interpreted the story as a criticism of the Mexican railroad system, others as an allegory of Mexican society as a whole.
The story is both, as well as an allegory of modern technological society and a critique of the entire universe, whose functioning seems to be in the hands of a very minor employee, a switchman who is like an incompetent minor god. Get exclusive access to content from our First Edition with your subscription.
Juan José Arreola
Enciclopedia de la Literatura en México