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Garro, Elena (1920–1998)

Garro, Elena (1920–1998)

Elena Garro (b. 11 December 1920; d. 22 August 1998), Mexican novelist, short-story writer, and playwright. Although Garro spent much of her adult life in Spain and France, her writing reflects Mexican society, which she views pessimistically. Her coupling of detailed realistic descriptions and nightmarish fantasies places her among the magical realists. In her first book, Los recuerdos del porvenir (1963), she re-creates her hometown, Iguala, which she sees as a microcosm of Mexican society: desperate, defeated, and doomed. Garro actually wrote the book in the 1950s and published it later, with the encouragement of Octavio Paz, her husband from 1937 to 1959. Her first collection of stories, La semana en colores (1964), draws on Indian beliefs. Her second, Andamos huyendo Lola (1980), combines childhood memories with fantasy to create a kind of hell in which characters are constantly fleeing and scrounging for food. Testimonios sobre Mariana (1981) captures the anguish of modern society and parodies the bourgeois intellectual. Reencuentro de personajes (1982) examines the sober themes of violence, sexual manipulation, and psychological torture. In La casa junto al río (1983), Garro returns to her childhood village, still steeped in pettiness and mediocrity. Y matarazo no llamó, written in 1960 but published in 1991, is a kind of political thriller with existential undercurrents: the main character, an alienated loner, is lured into a political snare that drives him mad and leads him to an absurd end. Garro wrote a number of one-act as well as full-length plays featuring avant-garde techniques. Felipe Angeles (1979) is a three-act work that presents a negative view of the Mexican Revolution.

See alsoLiterature: Spanish America; Paz, Octavio.


Frank Dauster, "El teatro de Elena Garro: Evasión e ilusión," in Ensayos sobre el teatro hispanoamericano (1975), pp. 66-77.

Beth Miller and A. González, "Elena Garro," in 26 autoras del México actual (1978), pp. 199-219.

Monique Lemaitre, "El deseo de la muerte y la muerte del deseo en la obra de Elena Garro: Hacia una definición de la escritura femenina en su obra," Revista Iberoamericana 55 (1989): 1005-1017.

Robert K. Anderson, "Recurrent Themes in Two Novels by Elena Garro," Selecta 11 (1990): 83-86.

Anita K. Stoll, ed., A Different Reality: Studies on the Work of Elena Garro (1990).

Anita K. Stoll, "The Old World vs. the New: Cultural Conflict in Four Works of Elena Garro," Letras Peninsulares 5 (1991): 95-106.

Additional Bibliography

León, Margarita. La memoria del tiempo: La experiencia del tiempo y del espacio en Los recuerdos del porvenir de Elena Garro. Mexico City: Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, Instituto de Investigaciones Filológicas: Ediciones Coyoacán, S.A. de C.V., 2004.

Melgar-Palacios, Lucía, and Gabriela Mora, editors. Elena Garro: Lectura múltiple de una personalidad complejas. Puebla: Benemérita Universidad Autónoma de Puebla, Dirección General de Fomento Editorial, 2002.

Rosas Lopátegui, Patricia. Testimonios sobre Elena Garro: Biografía exclusiva y autorizada de Elena Garro. Monterrey: Ediciones Castillo, 2002.

Winkler, Julie A. Light into Shadow: Marginality and Alienation in the Work of Elena Garro. New York: P. Lang, 2001.

                                       Barbara Mujica

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