The Magic of Simplicity

Fernanda Melchor at The Paris Review:

Reading Battles in the Desert, one will note the special magic of Pacheco’s writing — that simplicity, so deceptive and so masterful. The narrative voice is a well-calibrated device gliding through the reality of things, stories, and emotions, always giving the impression that memory never betrays. “Pacheco’s craft and mastery make writing look easy,” writes Luis Jorge Boone in “José Emilio Pacheco: Un lector fuera del tiempo” (“José Emilio Pacheco: a reader outside of time”), an essay on the author’s work. “Achieving that almost magical ease took Pacheco years of rewrites, edits, cuts. The layers upon layers of work the author put into his books over the years is legendary.”

Lengthy prose poems he stripped down in their final versions to pithy lines. Translations took years of painstaking transference — his translation of Eliot’s Four Quartets into Spanish, for example, consumed more than two decades.

more here.