THE NINE GUARDIANS by Rosario Castellanos


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A sensitive, haunting novel of the period in Mexico when Cardenas as President, was backing the Indians in putting into effect the land laws which had long been a travesty of unobservance. The story is told through various members of the Arguello family:- the girl child of seven, who sees much but understands little; Cesar, head of the family, his interests deeply rooted in the ranch and its life-bitterly resentful of the spirit of revolution rife in the countryside and determined to defeat it at Chactajal, his ranch; Zoraida, his wife and chattel, who felt herself beneath him; Ernesto, the bastard son of Cesar's brother, brought in as a blind to teach the Indians of the ranch who could understand no word of Spanish; Matilde, a neurotic cousin, whose passion for Ernesto proved her downfall. The period is the late 1930's, when the strange blend of ignorance and superstition with arrogance and stubborn refusal to change bring disaster to the overlords- and little of benefit to the peons. It is a story of atmosphere and mood, slight in plot, but leaving an indelible impression of the gradual disintegration of the old ways as the new ways conquer something they cannot handle. Very successful when published in Mexico, this seems unlikely to reach anything more than a very limited public here.

Pub Date: Nov. 4th, 1959
Publisher: Vanguard