I was a little confused by the ending to this book, so I looked into a little internet research on Tomás Rivera to see if his lifestory could shed some light on the conclusion. As one could have assumed, Rivera was the son of migrant workers living in Texas and he would often accompany them to the fields. This accounts for the basis of '...y no se lo traigo la tierra' being about the different Mexican workers that come in and out of a little boy's life. Our faithful
Wikipedia stated that the story is a Faulknerian stream-of-consciousness novella. This is blatantly obvious, what with all the fragmented thoughts and stories that are pouring out of this novel.
I was confused...and that was only at the best of times. I enjoy novels and movies that have a timeframe which jumps around and the audience has to be engaged in the story in order to understand the plot. But this book has almost proved too much. He does begin to tie things together at the end. You see that the 'viejo' hiding under the house is the missing link between all the stories. This confused me a bit seeing as the primary first-person narrator has been a young boy. Perhaps in comparison to the kids that found the stow-away, he was a 'viejo', or maybe this description is abstract in that after all the stories he has told, after those that he has been a part of, the boy is now a man. The owner of the house comments that '[Él e]stá perdiendo los años.' (p. 114). This parallels the opening line of the book: 'Aquel año se le perdió.' (p. 7). I enjoyed how the story came full circle in this sense. He states that after the woman says that he is losing his years, he feels content. He realizes that 'en realidad no había perdido nada. Había encontrado. Encontrado y reencontrar y juntar.' (p. 114). He's putting the pieces together; the thoughts and reality of the people in his life. The narrator is remembering these people and events with compassion, as he says that if he had arms big enough, he would hug every one of them (p. 113). It appears that he has gone insane as a result of what is happening in his life. At the end, he climbs a tree and imagines someone there with him. He waves so that the other person sees that he knows he's there (p. 115). This is a similar depiction to the book's beginning where the narrator hears voices but there is never anyone there. Perhaps now he has conquered his paranoia and accepted his own reality for what it is. I would hope that these tales in this book are not the result of Rivera's own experience; but the possibility, however bleak, is there.