Review by Anna Zalokostas
Taking place somewhere between the worlds of the living and the dead, between dream life and waking life, between what is real and what is imagined, Carmen Boullosa’s early novel Before meets the everyday with bewilderment. In this dream world of childhood, realism is nothing short of an act of magic; the supernatural suffuses the ordinary. Ghosts speak, a wardrobe transforms drawings into physical objects, the kitchen scissors breathe heavily under a bed pillow, a turtle bleeds, a petticoat is marked with stigmata, an embroidery needle pierces the maid’s hand without producing a speck of blood. And a young girl hears strange noises at night—footsteps that keep pursuing her, closing in on her in the dark . . .