Al filo del agua
Con la colaboraci n de escritores como Carlos Monsiv is, Pura L pez Colom y Fran oise P rus, el escritor Arturo Azuela coordina un estudio de la novela de Y ez, respaldado en una minuciosa investigaci n sobre la historia de sus ediciones y consecuentes variantes, la recepci n cr tica, el contexto hist rico literario, la po tica narrativa y la historia personal del novelista y pol tico. Se tom como texto base la edici n conmemorativa, ltima en vida del autor, aparecida en 1979.
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In the months preceding the Mexican revolution in 1910, not everyone is preoccupied with the political tensions they wrought. In a remote Mexican village in the Archdiocese of Guadalajara, one's whole existence is a never-ending Lent. In this monastic village, daily life revolves around the church and its rituals, every villager's thought, action, and motive engaged in through the prism of Catholicism's rigid teachings, the threat of eternal damnation the silent censor. In this village of black-robed women, to exercise one's own will is sinful, contemptuous, and heretical, and to feel a sense of happiness is to feel a sense of guilt. Here, there are no fiestas, dancing is held in horror. The only music is the sound of the bells tolling the passing of the dead, and the reminder for prayers, marking the faithful's penitential existence from one oppressive hour to the next... eternity cannot come soon enough! A central figure in this village is Father Martinez, an elderly priest whose devotion to his flock is equalled only by his understanding of human nature. His faith is sublime and forgiving. He is assisted by several priests, who supervise the pious societies -- heart of the village life. Most important of these societies are the Association of Good Death and the Daughters of Mary, whose rigid discipline govern dress, movements, speech, thought, and feeling of the young women. But the silence, required by the inhabitants' unceasing contemplation of reward and punishment in the afterlife, is, here and there, starting to break and ripples are appearing on the surface of what had seemed to be a pool of sacred placidity. Not even the close and stern guardianship of Father Martinez and his priests, and neither communal nor individual acts of remorse for past or future sins, could hold back the auguries of change that they fear will destroy the security of their medieval-like existence and everything they believed in. Agustin Yañez portrays the life of this village in a vivid and very compelling way, allowing us access into the minds of the characters who would play a role in the drama that would soon unfold. We feel the guilt-ridden thoughts and feelings of young Mercedes who believes she is in love; the rebellious anger of Micaela who has been to the city, seen a different world, and loathed her return to this prison-like place; the tortured soul of Gabriel who could only speak through the bells and whose life was upended with the arrival of a city woman; the conflicted feelings of Damian who has been to America but has returned for his inheritance; the unspoken dreams and secret hopes of Marta and the restless spirit of Maria who read forbidden books that spoke of the bigger world. Over all this, we feel the anguish of Father Martinez as he witnesses the struggle in the souls of his flock as they are confronted with seemingly small, innocuous changes brought into their lives by outside influences but whose impacts on their small, sheltered, innocent world would be tremendous. We feel his helplessness to prevent the tragedy that occurs, that he understands is even then, just the "edge of the storm."