Style and Technique

(Comprehensive Guide to Short Stories, Critical Edition)

Ríos has said that his writing is often narrative, and he thinks of his books as “talking to each other.” Furthermore, Ríos’s multilingual experiences and work with translation have given him an astute appreciation for the richness and complexity of all languages. The seven short sections of this story clearly show his powers of lyricism. The language itself seems to waltz off the page, with each carefully crafted phrase contributing to fluid images. The language lends a strange beauty and complexity to the character of Noé, the fat man who is so much more than his outward appearance: the Everyperson who can succeed in a cold world.

This story also has a quality of Magical Realism; nothing is quite what it seems to be on the surface. Noé, an overweight butcher, encompasses both genders and the desire to be respected and loved. At the end of the story, he is beginning a transformation process when he catches up to the circus: “He arrived as a beast, almost, something crazed and unshaven, out of breath. Or as a beast on top of a man, as if the horse itself were more human, and asking for help.” No longer confined within the parameters of what passes for “appropriate” or “courteous” behavior, Noé is released. After an existence that can only be defined by its loneliness, Noé has ridden to a new life where there is the promise of emotional bonding and the freedom to dance.