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  HOME | Arts & Entertainment

Mexican Novel Takes Hard Look at Political True-Believers

MEXICO CITY – Mexican writer Alberto Ruy Sanchez distrusts political zealots, likening them to fanatical soccer fans, and that attitude is reflected in his award-winning novel, “El sueño de la serpiente” (The Serpent’s Dream).

With Mexico set to hold elections in July, followers of social media see “the parties attack each other as if they were mortal enemies,” the 66-year-old author told EFE on Wednesday.

“People stop thinking and they behave like soccer fans,” Ruy Sanchez said before leaving for the coastal resort city of Mazatlan, where he will accept the 2018 Mazatlan Literature Prize.

“The novel speaks of the need to curb one’s enthusiasm, to not believe blindly in anyone, that what’s important are not causes, but people, and that we shouldn’t tolerate any crime at any political level or any alliance with reprehensible causes,” Ruy Sanchez said.

The book tells the story of a 100-year-old man struggling inside a psychiatric hospital to reconstruct his past. As his memories return, he takes to illustrating them on the walls.

He comes to realize that he is a Mexican expat in the United States and that he was once in love with Sylvia Ageloff, the American woman who unwittingly helped Ramon Mercader assassinate Leon Trotsky in Mexico in 1940.

The protagonist later emigrates to the Soviet Union, where he works in a factory and teaches English to Sergo Beria, son of secret police boss Lavrenti Beria.

Ruy Sanchez is a giant of the Mexican literary scene and “El sueño de la serpiente” has gotten a warm reception from readers, critics and his peers, with Argentine writer Alberto Manguel calling the novel one of the most important Spanish-language works in recent years.

 

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