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Enlarge cover. Error rating book. Refresh and try again. Open Preview See a Problem? Details if other :. Thanks for telling us about the problem. Return to Book Page. Get A Copy. Paperback , 55 pages. Published January 1st by Ediciones Era first published September 10th More Details Original Title.
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View 1 comment. View all 3 comments. Great, really great. It's astonishing, given the over-the-top praise on the back cover, that this little story lives up to the hype. The translators deserve a prize. The story is told in one unfolding paragraph, a barrage of words that mimics I have to assume the experience of living in a narrow cell where the only access to the outside world is a hatch large enough for a plate of soup and a small hole to see through.
The edition I read came with a very good Introduction by Alvaro Enrigue that provides background for Revueltas who was a political prisoner and historical context. You can and should read it in one abbreviated sitting.
And you should also sit with it, turn it over in your hands, reflect on it. Few books I have grappled with in recent memory are at the same time such rich and fascinating objects. One might wish to call it an artifact, though the fact remains that part of what makes this edition so fascinating is that it is a very current thing, providing access for North American readers to a massively important literary work wherefore they previously had none.
Should I call it a novel? Many will of course call it a novella. In reality, there are certainly even short stories out there that supersede it in word count.
I am inclined to follow suit. Perhaps it is the meal in a pill progress always promised but never provided. But a feast. Or perhaps a very small thing of so profound a density as to consign it to a category of things science cannot yet properly comprehend. It is short on plot. Three criminals, confined to the hole, await three female visitors who are to smuggle in heroin and hand it over to them under the camouflage of a diversionary uproar. Though a Marxist--and a Marxist more or less jailed for being a Marxist--Revueltas often found himself ill-fitted to leftist organizations and it is not hard to see why: he has few illusions about both the ugliness of oppression and the tendency of the oppressed to revert to barbarism.
THE HOLE is the furthest possible thing from a socialist realist novel of proletarian determination and concomitant uplift. It is a dismal and incendiary novel operating at the level of the irreducibly bestial.
The guards are called "apes," and are just prisoners by another name. Our narrator imagines the guards at home. Everybody here has already been destroyed yet remains animated by consuming desperation.
The prose is thick and torrential. It contains and ultimately culminates in harrowing, indelible images. It sets out to do violence unto the brain what will not easily be erased nor easily effaced. It is revolutionary literature but about as far as things get from utopian. It is so unholy as to be sacred. It is a cry from hell clamorous with pulsing life.
It is a piece of Inferno. If you come to art for truth, truth here ye shall find, but an upsetting and disconcerting form of it. Revueltas may well have believed in solidarity, and prison stories often revel in its embattled manifestations, but you will not find evidence of it here. Survival and desperation are often productive of the most callow forms of self-seeking. Ugly situations often lead to terminal behaviour and grave aberrations. Uncommonly powerful almost certainly because unpleasantly lived.
That connection of the womb and the cell is incredible. The introduction does an amazing job of explaining the history of this prison after building it, the architect was imprisoned in it! Jan 20, Drgnkingdom rated it really liked it. Get into it. The first forty pages are heady and dense and then the last ten are like a gut punch.
Subject matter is timely. No more prisons. View 2 comments. One of the best ways to spend an hour or two. Deadpan but lyrical, concise to the point of making you feel caged in along with the characters, funny, and tragic as all hell. An absolute burst of adrenaline.
That was a weird book. Revueltas' novella, The Hole, is more of a gut-punch than it is a narrative. Here, it is all scarred sensation, self-pity and self-loss. There's no other 'prison' work of fiction like this, and it should be read as a catharsis as opposed to a narrative. Realizing that Revueltas wrote this in prison only makes the work more powerful. Still, not for everybody. However, those who admire the great work of publisher New Directions should find a space for it on their bookshelves.
I sat down this morning with some coffee, determined to read The Hole in one sitting. People who had recommended The Hole to me all insisted that reading it in this way, with no breaks or interruptions, was the only way to read it. Having trusted their advice I sat down this morning with some coffee, determined to read The Hole in one sitting.
Having trusted their advice and done exactly that, I must wholeheartedly agree. It is so urgent, so riveting. There is so much dread and anticipation and anxiousness in this slim volume, and given the subject matter it would almost be an act of disrespect to take a break along the way.
To step inside The Hole is to submit yourself to a real-time almost-hour inside of a prison cell with three wretched addicts as your only company. The quality of the writing via the absolutely gorgeous translation is to die for. It ticked all of my boxes. The sentences are long, lush, winding, almost ecstatically poetic. It flows beautifully and there is no hint of dryness or linguistic clumsiness.
I applaud Amanda Hopkinson and Sophie Hughes for the stunning work they have done in translating this tiny beast into English.
The entire thing is presented as one long paragraph, a stylistic conceit of which I am very much an ardent fan when it suits the story, anyway, and in this case it most definitely does. The voice of the narrator is cynical and pessimistic and even darkly hilarious at time.
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He participated in the Railwaymen's Movement in , for which they imprisoned him again. In he was accused of being the "intellectual author" of the student movement that culminated in the Tlatelolco massacre , so he was arrested and sent to the Palacio de Lecumberri prison aka The Black Palace , where he wrote one of his more popular books: El apando The Punishment Cell A. Revueltas For this reason he left secondary school because they went very slowly and he dedicated himself, from then on, to visiting libraries and acquiring books.