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1. Aura
2. Todas las familias felices/ Happy
3. The Death of Artemio Cruz: A Novel
4. En esto creo (Spanish Edition)
5. Terra Nostra (Latin American Literature
6. This I Believe: An A to Z of a
7. Constancia: And Other Stories
8. La region mas transparente (Edicion
9. La region mas transparente (Edicion
10. The Years with Laura Diaz
11. Los 68 : Paris-Praga-Mexico (Referencias)
12. The Buried Mirror: Reflections
13. La frontera de cristal/ The Crystal
14. Agua Quemada / Burned Water (Narrativa
15. The Eagle's Throne: A Novel
16. The Old Gringo: A Novel
17. Cuentos Naturales/ Natural Stories
18. Cambio De Piel/a Change of Skin
19. The Good Conscience
20. The Crystal Frontier

1. Aura
by Carlos Fuentes, Carlos Fuentes
Paperback: 61 Pages (1998-06-01)
list price: US$12.95 -- used & new: US$11.09
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 9684111819
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

Product Description
Felipe Montero is employed in the house of an aged widow to edit her deceased husband's memoirs. There Felipe meets her beautiful green-eyed niece, Aura. His passion for Aura and his gradual discovery of the true relationship between the young woman and her aunt propel the story to its extraordinary conclusion.
... Read more

Customer Reviews (57)

5-0 out of 5 stars Aura
Best book ever !!!! I had to read this book back in mexico. Like 15 years ago and I still Love it.

2-0 out of 5 stars For the translation, not the Novel itself
A key element in Fuentes' novel is the manner in which it's written: second person all throughout, mixing future and past sense, and thusly creating the imagery he wishes to portray. The novel (for its literary merit) is great; any one who appreciates literature (versus entertainment) will enjoy it. However, I want to make a note that the English translation is not the best.

This version is ideal for those who know Spanish, but whose vocabulary will fail them sporadically--allowing for a quick glance at the translation. If, however, you wish to read only its English version, look elsewhere. The translator misses the literary focus of the author, who employs short phrases, interweaving past and present tenses. Given that the importance of this novel is due to its literary features--which together with plot create the message the author wants to make--much is lost with this translation that does not do justice to the original.

5-0 out of 5 stars Youth is Beauty
This review is for the ZBS Foundation full-cast audio adaptation of Carlos Fuentes' "Aura."

A story that could have sprang from the mind of Edgar Allan Poe, "Aura" is equal parts mystery, erotica and horror. Fuentes plays with and bends such concepts as time and space, youth and beauty, past and future tenses, all to create an unsettling atmosphere of seduction and repulsion.

Felipe Montero is a young historian who answers an advertisement in the paper to become a resident of the home of Consuelo Llorente.Consuelo is an elderly widow, who wants Felipe to compile and complete the memoirs of her late husband, General Llorente.It is a somewhat dull and uninvolving task, only made endurable by the presence of Consuelo's niece, the enticing young woman known as Aura.Felipe spends his days delving into the General's memoirs, and his nights fantasizing about sex with Aura.The situation becomes complicated by hints in the General's memoirs that Consuelo and Aura may not quite be what they seem, and that Consuelo is much older than suspected.

Unlike other ZBS Foundation recordings, which can be put on while cleaning or doing other things, "Aura" needs to be intensely listened to, and demands your concentration. Fuentes' story is too deep to merely be heard, but instead must be studied to pick up all of the nuances of dialog and transitions between time and space, real and dream. The experience is rewarding, but much more demanding than what most people expect from an audio production.

ZBS Foundation's production of "Aura" is recorded in Kunstkopf binaural sound, which produces a 3-D landscape inside your head the likes of which you will not believe until you hear it. The recording technique uses a Ku81 head-shaped microphone which replicates the "sound shaping" of the inner and outer ear canals.You must used headphones to get the effect, but if you do then prepare to have your head exploded.

"Aura" was produced as part of the "Cabinet of Dr. Fritz" series, which included adaptations of Ishmael Reed's Mumbo Jumbo, Karl Edward Wagner's "Sticks" and Stephen King's "The Mist."This was a more experimental time for the ZBS Foundation, and the productions are rawer and more hard-edged than later productions like the light-hearted adventure serials of Ruby and Jack Flanders.

3-0 out of 5 stars Review of Billingual Aura
The translation is clear, but this volume really calls for an academic introduction: some sort of biographical or thematic essay on the work itself. I was disappointed to find that this edition has neither. Again, beyond this, the translation is clear and the writing is certainly large enough to read.

4-0 out of 5 stars Has one problem
I am a beginner in advancing Spanish, that's why the translation was confusing to me. First of all there are some sentences you wont find in translation, otherwise they are too simplified and some details are lost. Otherwise no complains. I guess they simplified the English part of the book for easier reading if you read only that part, but not so fun for comparison with Spanish version. ... Read more

2. Todas las familias felices/ Happy Families (Narrativa (Punto de Lectura)) (Spanish Edition)
by Carlos Fuentes
Paperback: 432 Pages (2007-09-01)
list price: US$12.99 -- used & new: US$7.62
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 8466318011
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

Product Description
A rancher wants his four sons to become priests they think differently. A mother relinquishes her career as a singer and wonders if it was worth it. Her daughter has given up on the world and lives through reality TV shows. A woman suffers her husband's sadism and remembers how their love began. The different stories in this novel are punctuated by choruses, some humorous, most of them tragic, that lend their voice to the voiceless: young beggars, raped daughters, orphans, dealers, and hard core gangs among others

Description in Spanish: Un ranchero quiere que sus cuatro hijos sean sacerdotes; ellos piensan distinto. Un hombre es humillado por su patron; su hijo quisiera humillarlo mas. Una madre renuncia a su carrera de cantante y se pregunta si valio la pena; su hija renuncia al mundo y vive a traves de los reality shows. El hijo del presidente se rebela contra su padre, pero depende de su proteccion. Una mujer sufre el sadismo de su marido porque recuerda como se inicio su amor. Una madre dolorosa explica la vida de su hija al hombre que la asesino. Una pareja sesentona se reencuentra y se pregunta si de veras fueron jovenes amantes. Un comandante debe escoger quien vivira de sus dos hijos. La vieja madre de un joven mariachi lo rescata. Una fiel pareja gay enfrenta la tentacion. Una chica fea hace peligrar el matrimonio de su primo. Un cura esconde a su hija en una aldea hasta que aparece un rival. Un mujeriego se niega a casarse con su amante por temor a que eso mate el placer. Un actor es obligado a enfrentar la realidad por su hijo minusvalido. Un hermano incomodo desafi­a la vida de su frater. El ci­nico Don Juan juega con dos mujeres que le dan su merecido. Tres hijas se reunen en torno al feretro de su padre por ultima vez en diez anos. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (1)

5-0 out of 5 stars Con rabia
Con rabia parece escribir Carlos Fuentes en este libro donde muestra familias que parecen felices, que lucen unidas, pero que están dañadas, fracturadas en sus emociones, con razonamientos dislocados pinta una vida de familia perturbada en la sociedad moderna. En momentos hace un reclamo a la sociedad a través de sus relatos, reclama la violencia, la indiferencia, la vanidad y la mediocridad
Excelente lectura para quien es fan o quien quiere ser fan de Carlos Fuentes ... Read more

3. The Death of Artemio Cruz: A Novel (FSG Classics)
by Carlos Fuentes
Paperback: 320 Pages (2009-02-03)
list price: US$15.00 -- used & new: US$7.99
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0374531803
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

Product Description

As the novel opens, Artemio Cruz, the all-powerful newspaper magnate and land baron, lies confined to his bed and, in dreamlike flashes, recalls the pivotal episodes of his life. Carlos Fuentes manipulates the ensuing kaleidoscope of images with dazzling inventiveness, layering memory upon memory, from Cruz’s heroic campaigns during the Mexican Revolution, through his relentless climb from poverty to wealth, to his uneasy death. Perhaps Fuentes’s masterpiece, The Death of Artemio Cruz is a haunting voyage into the soul of modern Mexico.
... Read more

Customer Reviews (16)

5-0 out of 5 stars A tour de force of Mexican life and the story-telling art
I was first attracted to this novel because of the author's reputation as the premier man of of Mexican letters, and Carlos Fuentes' accomplishment with this novel alone is monumental.How could Fuentes have known enough about life to have written it at the age of about 34?Wow!The novel should be read and reread--perhaps in different translations, as one reviewer has recommended.Other reviewers of this novel, The Death of Artemio Cruz, have summarized the plot and action for you; I want to say something about "who" Artemio Cruz is and why we should still care 47 years after the original publication date.Another way of saying it is this: The Death of Artemio Cruz is also the life of Artemio Cruz--and we've got to care because there is so much in this novel about Mexico that the U.S. government should learn, which we cannot learn from a documentary or statistics.

I can't pretend to be an expert on Latin American Literature, (and I've never traveled south of the border), but it seems to me that Artemio Cruz is Mexico--of course, it's more complicated than that metaphor--but you have to read all the way to at least page 267 to understand that Mexico is "a thousand countries with a single name."In other words, if Mexico is like Artemio's life then both are powerful and powerless, a success and a failure, extremely poor and extremely rich, loving and hateful, courageous and cowardly, dazzling and dizzying, quiet and explosive.For Artemio is all of those--and by analogy, so is Mexico, or Latin America.Fuentes had to develop a narrative structure and voice that would show us Mexico (and Artemio) in a comprehensible way.But how do you show chaos as logical and tragedy as a sign of hope?Fuentes does it here.

One reviewer of this novel didn't like the narration switching back and forth between 1st, 2nd, and 3rd person, and another cited "wordy lyricism," but, Readers, this novel attempts to create order out the astoundingly beauty of all of Mexico.This novel comes forth like the Aztecs and the Mayans, Cortez and Maximilian, Frida Kahlo, Diego Rivera, Emiliano Zapata, and Pancho Villa all rolled into one.From this mix, a terrible beauty is born.No wonder we Puritan Americans--raised on Nathaniel Hawthorne and Emily Dickinson--can't understand Latin American literature.

A key line to understanding this novel can be found early: "Who is he?How did he rise out of himself?" (97)These questions come from inside his wife Catalina's consciousness; she's wondering how Mexico came to produce someone like Artemio because he's not at all like her fine aristocratic father.Catalina desires Artemio but is disgusted by his origins and suppresses her natural love.My question is: How did the world come to the surface in Artemio?What is Mexico that it brought the Artemios into existence?

Cruz has been corrupt in his career, but Fuentes is showing us the points at which a man goes either one way or the other.The author shows us that the sheer naked will to survive horrible life circumstances can drive a boy to become this type of man, to do almost anything to survive, and that men are born into circumstances not of their own making, and they make history while trying to overcome these terrible circumstances.Another reviewer says that though Cruz was corrupt, he is not a monster.True; I don't think that a monster would have enough of a consciousness to think of other people on his death bed.Cruz seems to be dying of a bilious stomach disease which has eaten him from the inside out all his life.As a man, he is aching for love; he's sad and lonely in his triumph.His dying wishes might not be fulfilled, but he will perish with one thought on his mind, a tragic accident early in his life which resulted in a loss that haunts him to his death.

5-0 out of 5 stars Brilliant, innovative and powerful narrative
Artemio Cruz is a man whose impending death compels him to look back over the span of his life to re-live its peak experiences. In a real sense Cruz was more than a man living in Mexico during a time of revolution: he is a microcosm of Mexico itself. I deeply respect and admire the inventive, narrative technique, which in some respects is revolutionary. The switch of narrative voice in its person is daring and works brilliantly to make the narrative come alive. The story line becomes personal and engaging in the first person and yet more objective in the second and third persons. One really gets to know Artemio in the first person narrative segments. The flashbacks intrigued me in the way that Fuentes used changes in time to serve the narrative as they take the reader to high-points and low points of this man's rise from abject poverty and military adventures to his love affairs and rise to power with its attendant material wealth. Cruz is a fascinating literary figure whose human weaknesses are legion but he is roundly and credibly drawn and leaps off the page by virtue of the narrative technique of Fuentes. The translation by Alfred Mac Adam is elegant, poetic, lyrically rich and does justice to this literary novel: I highly recommend this great translation. This is a great book by a supremely gifted writer and translator: I hope you decide to read Artemio Cruz.

1-0 out of 5 stars Long Winded Rantings Of A Dying Politician
This is literally one of the worst books I have ever read, and I am a bibliophile. I can only equate this book to getting your teeth scraped at the dentist's office for hours on end. The only reason I finished reading this book is because it is required reading for one of my classes.

The only people that I suggest this reading to are those who:
1. enjoy the overuse of ellipsises.
2. enjoy an author who rather than use words that denote intelligence, devotes three pages to nothing but the use of the word "f@&!" and it's derivatives.
3. enjoy tangents that will leave you grasping frantically for a sense of meaning and finding none.
4. enjoy words and tenses that do not match up (i.e. "yesterday you will", etc)
5. enjoy the ever changing narrative perspective (I to you to he to I to you, etc.), but the narrator is the same person in every perspective.
6. enjoy with the changing narrative perspectives many
jumps in time that are not chronological (neither backwards nor forwards).
7. enjoy reading about absolutely meaningless sex that does not enhance or help the story line.
8. enjoy a gross indifference to rape, adultery, political corruption, greed, murder, etc.
9. are a politician and want tips on how to write your biography.

If that floats your boat, I would recommend this book. If not, I would find something else to satiate your literary appetite.

5-0 out of 5 stars The out-of-print version is BETTER
If you love literature then let me suggest that you purchase the "out-of-print" translation from one of the third party sellers.I read this book in a class and half the class read the older translation, the other half the new one.We voted hands down for the older translation.The new translation is good, but it simplifies a lot of the text and is mising the flair and use of complex figurative language of the older version.

5-0 out of 5 stars Make it Work for You
The book was beautifully written, the plot was interesting, and the character development went above and beyond most books.

So why is there such controversy over this book? Well it is easy to say, this is not your cruise vacation book to read while laying by the beach. The first chapter will have you kicking and screaming for anything tangible to grab onto. The only person in this book you have to guide you is Artemio Cruz, who is sharing with you his memories. However, he isn't always the most stable guide. Half the book he is on his deathbed rambling, switching tenses and narratives.

So that is the first warning. However if you are willing to invest some time, you can find an entire new meaning to life within this book. If you can't invest the time, go out and rent Citizen Kane, you'll get the gist in about two hours, rather then the month minimum you'll need to get this book. Even after rereading it, the book leaves dozens of pieces in the book isolated and unconnected. (In fact we never how Artemio gets from being 13 to 23, and if you read the book you'll know why this is important and frustrating).

So what does this book have to offer besides several headaches and why in the world did I give it five stars? Well I could throw a lot of pretty adjectives out at you, but I won't. I will tell it to you simply. This book makes you think. And not in the painful way. If you fight this book, you will never get it. If you embrace it, even in it's most challenging passages, you will be opened to a whole new world of ideas. Ideas about memory, desire, life, death, and our place within society are embedded in this story.

Bottom line: This story is like an excavation site waiting to be dug up, hidden with endless treasures. If you are willing to put in the time, you won't be disappointed. If that sounds like too much work, move right along then. ... Read more

4. En esto creo (Spanish Edition)
by Carlos Fuentes
Paperback: 368 Pages (2008-05-01)
list price: US$19.99 -- used & new: US$11.44
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 9705800871
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

Product Description
Arranged alphabetically from ''Amore'' to ''Zurich,'' this is a marvelous inner journey with a great writer. In it we find reflections on the curses and blessings of globalization; a fond tracing of a family tree heavy with poets and dreamers; evocations of the streets and cafes of Washington, Paris, Cambridge, Oaxaca, and New York; and a celebration of literary heroes including Cervantes, Faulkner, Kafka, and Shakespeare. Here are heartbreaking and vivid glimpses into his personal life. ''Silvia'' is a powerful love letter to his beloved wife.Description in Spanish:Este libro es una suerte de autobiografia literaria y, como un diccionario, se construye con entradas tematicas ordenadas de la A a la Z. De amistad a Zurich, pasando por Bunuel, Familia, Izquierda, Jesus, Novela, Politica y Sexo, esta obra es un acto de fe en los valores humanos, una bitacora de ideas y experiencias. La lucida prosa de Fuentes asi como la profusion de datos y referencia, resultan sumamente convincentes y aleccionadores. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (4)

5-0 out of 5 stars En esto creo
I've read this book in german. It brings you to think about many things so that I decided to order it in Spanish for my friend in Spain. She also could stop reading it. Thank you!

5-0 out of 5 stars El titulo lo dice todo
Escrito por uno de los grandes nombres de la letra Hispanica, Carlos Fuentes nos lleva por un viaje de sus creencias. El modo es simplemente comenzar con la letra A y terminar con el Z del alfabeto. Tengo este libro en Espanol y Ingles y es interesante leer una letra en las dos idiomas a el mismo tiempo. Tengo que decir que si se pierde algo en algunos occasiones cuando esta en Ingles. Carlos Fuentes puede opinar y escribir sobre muchas temas pero siempre muchas cosas tienen una coneccion con la lectura, posiblemente porque el es un gran lector. Su favoritos incluye Don Quijote, (quien Fuentes dice es un lector tambien)y Cervantes, Faulkner(yo soy colectivo contra las fuerzas de la seperacion), Ortega y Gasset, Julieta Campos y Shakespeare entre otros. Pero tambien Fuentes utilize otras formas de arte como el pintor Velasquez entre otras temas. Pero el limite de ideas no para con estos grandes de lectura y arte porque tambien hay capitulos sobre los grandes de otros artes como Balzac, Bunuel, Kafka y Faulkner . Este libro es facil para leer y si vale la pena por que las ideas que presenta el maestro Fuentes te lleva en una viaje por todo el mundo explorando varios conceptos y gran personajes de la historia humano. Si te gusta Carlos Fuentes es necessario leer este libro para mejor entender el hombre y sus gran novelas y historias.

5-0 out of 5 stars ... en literatura sólo se sabe lo que se imagina.
De esta manera termina este maravilloso libro del Sr. Fuentes, en el que nos acompañará en un viaje que empieza con "Amistad", y termina con "Zurich".

Cada capítulo deshoja el pensamiento de uno de los mejores escritores en lengua hispana vivos, no sólo acerca de cuestiones literarias ("Balzac", "Faulkner", "Odisea", "Kafka", "Quijote"), sino tambien filosóficas ("Amor", "Belleza", "Libertad", "Dios"), sociales ("Educación", "Globalización", "Xenofobia") y políticas ("Izquierda", "Revolución").

Carlos Fuentes es, como todo ser humano, producto de su circunstancia, en este caso hispanoamericana, hija de los años veinte y viajante. Como tal, se puede estar o no de acuerdo con sus ideas, pero inevitablemente admiraremos su elegancia de palabra y pensamiento, y la profundidad de su erudición.

Probablemente no haya mejor obra que nos ayude a entender al escritor mexicano, tanto cómo escritor, como persona.

5-0 out of 5 stars Literalmente de la A a la Z
Un ensayo en datos personales del autor llendose con orden alfabetico estricto, muy aleccionador y detallista de su vida, creencias, experiencias y etc's

Lo mismo, si uno es lector de Fuentes te sientes como que estan en una rica conversacion tu y el autor ... Read more

5. Terra Nostra (Latin American Literature Series)
by Carlos Fuentes
Paperback: 785 Pages (2003-11)
list price: US$18.95 -- used & new: US$11.93
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1564782875
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

Product Description
One of the great masterpieces of modern Latin American fiction‚ TERRA NOSTR is concerned with nothing less than the history of Spain and of South America‚ with the Indian Gods and with Christianity‚ with the birth‚ the passion‚ and the death of civilizations. Fuentes skillfully blends a wide range of literary forms‚ stories within stories‚ Mexican and Spanish myth‚ and famous literary characters in this novel that is both a historical epic and an apocalyptic vision of modern times. Terra Nostra is that most ambitious and rare of creations—a total work of art. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (4)

5-0 out of 5 stars Monumental Art
How sad that there are so few (3) reviews/readings of such an incredible work of art.

About halfway through this book I started to get the feeling that after reading Terra Nostra I could be content never to read another book again, as if it were the culmination of my lifetime of reading.

The absolutely gorgeous prose (could be the translator), is in the same vein as Nabokov and Pynchon, but not quite as complex.You'll run into sentences that go on for a page or more, but are not usually overly difficult to understand.This book also has the most vivid imagery I've ever read.I'd never felt more like I was there, in the book/story, than in Terra Nostra.I was completely taken away from my own world when I was reading (time just seemed to vanish from the clock), also like Pynchon but even more so in this regard.

Unfortunately, the book seems to fall apart over the last couple of hundred pages.It appears to meander about and ramble on while waiting to end.All the great prose and imagery are still there, as well as some important sections, but the "story" as a whole seems to get lost and confused.

4-0 out of 5 stars Funetes' opus first published in 1976
Excerpts from Robert Coover's original review published in the New York Times November 7, 1976:

"Terra Nostra" is a colossal 350,000-word opus, a kind of panoramic Hispano-American creation myth, spanning 20 centuries (more, if you count the Greek and Egyptian mythologies that help to feed it) and embracing virtually the whole of European and American (especially Mexican) culture and civilization.

If "Terra Nostra" is a failure, it is a magnificent failure. Its conception is truly grand, its perceptions often unique, its energy compelling and the inventiveness and audacity of some of its narrative maneuvers absolutely breathtaking; the animated paintings, the talking mirrors, the time machines and metamorphosing mummies, the fusion of history, myth and fiction, the variations on themes and dreams, the interweaving or rich, violent, beautiful, grotesque, mysterious, even magical images--not without reason has this book been likened to a vast and intricate tapestry.

Achieved or not, there are too few writers around even willing to risk the impossible, and none I know of who so intimately activates the otherwise dead space between page and reader.

TERRA NOSTRA stands as Carlos Fuentes' most incredible achievement -- and as one of the great books of the 20th Century. The depths and heights of Man's history swirl around the reader as a controlled maelstrom -- grab a handle and hang on for dear life. In this masterpiece, Fuentes attempts nothing less than to transfer the last 500 years or so of the New World -- including its origins in the Old -- into words. Alternately achingly real and mind-bendingly surreal, the story unfolds almost as a jigsaw puzzle falling into place before the reader's eyes.

As cliched as it might sound, this is truly a work that MUST be experienced by any reader who recognizes the awesome power of language in the hands of a master craftsman -- there is nothing else like it in Western literature.

5-0 out of 5 stars If you like Faulkner...
...Terra Nostra" is divided into three sections, translated in English as "The Old World" "The New World" and "The Next World." The first part is set in pre-Colombian Europe and describes the degenerate king of a dying Spanish Empire and his court. This section is loaded with as much intrigue and back stabbing as "I Claudius".

The second section, "The New World", is my favorite and can be read on its own. It has some of the most beautiful prose I have ever encountered. In it, the author describes the pilgrim's journey to the New World and his meetings with its people. The narrative has an immediacy that makes one feel that one has just stumbled upon a new world, with all of its dangers and mysteries.

In the last section, the pilgrim tells his story to the Spanish King, and the rest, as they say, is history.

If you like the magical realism genre so popular among South American novelists, you will love this book. If youare looking for plausible historical fiction, look elsewhere. ... Read more

6. This I Believe: An A to Z of a Life
by Carlos Fuentes
Paperback: 352 Pages (2006-05-16)
list price: US$14.95 -- used & new: US$8.87
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0812972546
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan
Editorial Review

Product Description
In this masterly, deeply personal, and provocative book, the internationally renowned Mexican writer Carlos Fuentes, whose work has been called “a combination of Poe, Baudelaire, and Isak Dinesen” (Newsweek), steps back to survey the wellsprings of art and ideology, the events that have shaped our time, and his extraordinary life and fiercest passions.

Arranged alphabetically from “Amore” to “Zurich,” This I Believe takes us on a marvelous inner journey with a great writer. Fuentes ranges wide, from contradictions inherent in Latin American culture and politics to his long friendship with director Luis Buñuel.

Along the way, we find reflection on the mixed curse and blessing of globalization; memories of a sexual initiation in Zurich; a fond tracing of a family tree heavy with poets, dreamers, and diplomats; evocations of the streets, cafés, and bedrooms of Washington, Paris, Santiago de Chile, Cambridge, Oaxaca, and New York; and a celebration of literary heroes including Balzac, Cervantes, Faulkner, Kafka, and Shakespeare. Throughout, Fuentes captivates with the power of his intellect and his prose.

Here, too, are vivid, often heartbreaking glimpses into his personal life. “Silvia” is a powerful love letter to his beloved wife. In “Children,” Fuentes recalls the births of his daughters and the tragic death of his son; in “Cinema” he relives the magic of films such as Citizen Kane and The Wizard of Oz. Further extending his reach, he examines the collision between history and contemporary life in “Civil Society,” “Left,” and “Revolution.”

And he poignantly addresses the experiences we all hold in common as he grapples with beauty, death, freedom, God, and sex. By turns provocative and intimate, partisan and universal, this book is a brilliant summation of an international literary career. Revisiting the influences, commitments, readings, and insights of a lifetime, Fuentes has fashioned a magnificently coherent statement of his view of the world, reminding us once again why reading Fuentes is “like standing beneath the dome of the Sistine Chapel. . . . The breadth and enormity of this accomplishment is breathtaking” (The Denver Post).

From the Hardcover edition. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (2)

5-0 out of 5 stars An alphabetical exploration of the world
I have read both the English and original Spanish versions of this tour de force and have found the book totally captivating. WhenMr. Fuentes addresses a subject he expands the dinmensions and your perceptions of said subject to the point where you become enlightened beyond your initial understanding. His literary skills are beyond measurement.Mr.Fuentes begins with a simple enough concept of using the alphabet to share with the reader about his personal memories but along the way ventures into political musings, literary forays and comments on contemporary society and global perspectives on a variety of subjects. It is not a "preachy" book but rather one of insights into a brilliant mind and his beliefs. It is a very personal book that exhausts the reader intellectually. However the book is simply a delight in it's eloquence and commandingstructure to the point where you feel you have been on a literary and cultural journey and Mr. Fuentes has been your tour guide. He treats his chosen subjects with that rare ability to capture your imagination where you become lost(or found) in his use of language to convey his prowess and understanding of a wide variety of topics. Mr. Fuentes begins with Amor(love) and usually gives each letter several subjects, for example, the letter C has Christ , Children, Cinema and Civil Society as topics. He ends with Zebra and Zurich. One might wonder what could Carlos Fuentes have to say about zebras? He uses his subject as a launching pad for his poetic explorations. What begins as an exploration of the zebra and his stripes and what differentiates him from a horse suddenly begins to explore zoology and all it's marvelous manifestations. Suddenly the animals found in the sea by the early explorers are being discussed. From here Mr. Fuentes takes twists and turns on a variety of subjects including Mary Shelley's "Frankenstein," with stops along the way into other diverse writers and their works like Ray Bradbury, Issac Isimov, Voltaire and Beckford. Dracula, Edgar Allan Poe, Kafka and Mexico-Tenochitlan are all fair game within the letter Z and what began as an exploration of the zebra. He ties all the subjects together by weaving a brilliant narrative that leaves you spellbound. I would highly recommend this book along with many of his other books that is written by the best writer Mexico has produced. As Mr.Fuentes states, " We think we know the world. Now, we must imagine it."

5-0 out of 5 stars A brilliant meditation on an author's passions
I first discovered Carlos Fuentes in college with The Death of Artemio Cruz and Where The Air is Clear and he has been a touchstone ever since. Although many of his subsequent novels have fallen short of my expectations, this autobiographical collection of essays on a variety of subjects is intellectually engaging and insightful into the development of Fuentes the man and the author. A thousand stars! ... Read more

7. Constancia: And Other Stories for Virgins
by Carlos Fuentes
 Paperback: 352 Pages (1991-05)
list price: US$13.00 -- used & new: US$1.52
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Asin: 0060973870
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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A collection of five short stories from Mexican writer, Carlos Fuentes. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (2)

5-0 out of 5 stars Five short stories
Fuentes revels in language and creating imagery that astounds, intrigues and leaves the reader in a land of limbo that is both magical and real. In this seemingly different collection of short stories or novellas the masterful literary pupeteer Fuentes draws the reader into his web of stories that covers centuries of history over various continents. Whether the stories take place in Spain, the United States or Eastern Europe the end result is a timeless portraitwithuniversal themes with evocative resonance. The five stories in this collection have recurrent themes as in the clever classic novel by Fuentes entitled "Christoper Unborn," which is also highly recomended. Of particualar interest in the collection of novellas is "La Desdichada" where two students steal a manequin and fall in love. The storyline borders on the absurd but in realityit is a poets vechicle of expression for love. After all a woman of wood will be faithful to a man but will a man of flesh and bloodprove he is worthy of fidelity ? All of the stories are excellent but of particular note was one I foundvery interesting entitled "Viva Mi Fama." This is a story that leaps from the present to the past by way of a Goya painting of a matador of fame by the name of Pepe Romero. The journey through Andalusia finds the reader tranported to Goya's Spain traversing the countryside from Bordeaux to Madrid and all lands in between. IMO there is no better story teller in Latin America and surely none as prolific as Carlos Fuentes. This is a beautiful collection of stories that are especially good for the person who is new to the visual , visceral and sometimes erotic literature of Fuentes. Great stuff for new and old readers of the magical world of Carlos Fuentes, one of the preeminent man of letters in Latin America.

5-0 out of 5 stars Intelligent and Riveting
This collection of novels is a beautiful and intellgently written volume, one that is an interesting read.If one wants comparisons, it could be compared to Garcia Marquez's style--very dense, very descriptive, very mysterious.There are copies of it available used... Buy it! ... Read more

8. La region mas transparente (Edicion conmemorativa del 50 aniversario) Real Academia Espanola (Spanish Edition)
by Carlos Fuentes
Hardcover: 752 Pages (2008-11-30)
list price: US$15.99 -- used & new: US$10.16
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 8420422509
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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To celebrate the happy occurrence of Carlos Fuentes' 80th birthday, and his masterpiece's 50th anniversary, the Real Academia Espanola and the Asociacion de Academias have enthusiastically joined the Academia Mexicana de la Lengua in the creation of a commemorative edition of this memorable work of fiction.A pioneer work in the exploration of the use of language, Fuentes's masterpiece, La region mas transparente, is credited with influencing not only Fuentes' subsequent works, but also that of his contemporaries. Received with mixed opinions on its publication, the novel was soon flagged as the initial blaze in the historical boom of the New Latin American Novel.The first grand urban novel about post-revolutionary Mexico, it is an unsparing portrayal of Mexico City's upper class and a critical view of Mexico City's past and present. Departing from a traditional linear narrative, Fuentes constructs his novel around a series of encounters with members of this world. Exposing the social and psychological processes of Mexico, Fuentes shows the struggle between god and devil, ancient and modern, and the price a country must pay after revolution.As with other works in this collection, scholars from various countries have contributed to this edition, and Carlos Fuentes himself has revised the text. Prepared by the Concepcion Company in conjunction with the Academia Mexicana de la Lengua and the Instituto de Lexicografia of the RAE, an essential bibliography, a glossary of voices used in the novel, and an index of Saint's days, round off this commemorative volume. Description in Spanish:Carlos Fuentes cumple ochenta anos en este 2008, cuando hace cincuenta que vio la luz La region mas transparente. Mas alla del facil convencionalismo, la feliz coincidencia presta ocasion para rendir homenaje al gran escritor, maestro en muchos generos de las letras hispanas. La Real Academia Espanola y la Asociacion de Academias han acogido con entusiasmo la invitacion de la Academia Mexicana de la Lengua a sumarse a las celebraciones con una edicion conmemorativa de aquella novela memorable.Recibida en el momento de su publicacion con una fuerte division de opiniones respuesta comprensible a una obra que rompia los moldes tradicionales de la narrativa y presentaba una vision critica del pasado y presente de la ciudad de Mexico , muy prontofue senalada como el primer estallido del llamado bum de la Nueva Novela Hispanoamericana. Su valor sustancial radicaba, sin duda, en una exploracion pionera del lenguaje. ''Territorio de La Mancha'' ha llamado el a nuestra lengua, intensamente mestiza en si misma y abierta por ello a la comunicacion y a la integracion. En la preparacion de esta edicion, que por encargo de la Academia Mexicana ha cuidado con esmero don Gonzalo Celorio, miembro de ella, han colaborado academicos de diversos paises. Abre los estudios el propio Gonzalo Celorio, que hace la semblanza de Carlos Fuentes como maestro de varias generaciones; sigue otro de Jose Emilio Pacheco (Mexico) referido a la recepcion de la novela en su momento y a la importancia que en ella cobra la ciudad de Mexico, mientras Vicente Quirarte (Mexico) amplia la perspectiva al ambito de la narrativa mexicana del siglo xx. Carmen Iglesias (RAE) estudia las relaciones entre historia y literatura en la obra de Fuentes, particularmente en La region mas transparente, y Sergio Ramirez (Nicaragua) destaca el carácter inaugural de esta novela en el contexto de la literatura hispanoamericana. Nelida Pinon (Brasil) da cuenta de las fuentes literarias universales en que abreva Carlos Fuentes, en tanto que Juan Luis Cebrian (RAE) atiende al papel de Carlos Fuentes en el pensamiento critico contemporaneo. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (1)

5-0 out of 5 stars La Región Mas Transparente - Carlos Fuentes
Great revision by the author in this book; the introductions by other writers are superb. ... Read more

9. La region mas transparente (Edicion del 50 Aniversario) (Spanish Edition)/ Where the Air is Clear
by Carlos Fuentes
Hardcover: 560 Pages (2008-01-30)
list price: US$19.99 -- used & new: US$15.98
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 9705800146
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

Product Description
To celebrate the happy occurrence of Carlos Fuentes 80th birthday, and his masterpiece s 50th anniversary, the Real Academia Española and the Asociación de Academias have enthusiastically joined the Academia Mexicana de la Lengua in the creation of a commemorative edition of this memorable work of fiction. A pioneer work in the exploration of the use of language, Fuentes' masterpiece, La región más transparente, is credited with influencing not only Fuentes' subsequent works, but also that of his contemporaries. Received with mixed opinions on its publication, the novel was soon flagged as the initial blaze in the historical boom of the New Latin American Novel. The first grand urban novel about post-revolutionary Mexico, it is an unsparing portrayal of Mexico City's upper class and a critical view of Mexico City s past and present.

This edition will be the third published in the Classic Works of the Academies (Obras clasicas de las Academias). This collection of great classics of all times will occasionally publish new titles that will have limited circulation time. As with other works in this collection, scholars from various countries have contributed to the special edition, and Carlos Fuentes himself has revised the text. The titles previously published are Don Quijote de la Mancha, 400th anniversary edition, and Cien años de soledad, 40th anniversary edition.

Prologues in this edition are from: Jose Emilio Pacheco, Vicente Quirarte, Sergio Ramirez, Nelida Pinon, Juan Luis Cebrian, Carmen Iglesias, and Gonzalo Celorio. This edition with text revised by the author, also includes a lexical glossary, an essential bibliography, an index of characters in the novel.

Spanish Description
Carlos Fuentes cumple ochenta anos en este 2008, cuando hace cincuenta que vio la luz La region mas transparente. Mas alla del facil convencionalismo, la feliz coincidencia presta ocasion para rendir homenaje al gran escritor, maestro en muchos generos de las letras hispanas. La Real Academia Espanola y la Asociacion de Academias han acogido con entusiasmo la invitacion de la Academia Mexicana de la Lengua a sumarse a las celebraciones con una edicion conmemorativa de aquella novela memorable. Recibida en el momento de su publicacion con una fuerte division de opiniones -respuesta comprensible a una obra que rompia los moldes tradicionales de la narrativa y presentaba una vision critica del pasado y presente de la ciudad de Mexico-, muy pronto fue senalada como el primer estallido del llamado bum de la Nueva Novela Hispanoamericana.Su valor sustancial radicaba, sin duda, en una exploracion pionera del lenguaje. Frente a Mallarme, que senalaba como tarea del escritor devolver a las palabras de la tribu un sentido mas puro, Carlos Fuentes se propone utilizar palabras manchadas de fango, de tierra, de vida: palabras manchegas. "Territorio de La Mancha" ha llamado el a nuestra lengua, intensamente mestiza en si misma y abierta por ello a la comunicacion y a la integracion. Por universalmente manchega y cervantina, es la nuestra una lengua propicia no solo para reflejar la realidad sino para transformarla.Al igual que en los otros volumenes precedentes de esta coleccion, en lapreparacion de esta edicion, que por encargo de la Academia Mexicana ha cuidado con esmero don Gonzalo Celorio, miembro de ella, han colaborado academicos de diversos paises. Abrelos estudios el propio Gonzalo Celorio, que hace la semblanza de Carlos Fuentes como maestro de varias generaciones; sigue otro de Jose Emilio Pacheco (Mexico) referido a la recepcion de la novela en su momento y a la importancia que en ella cobra la ciudad de Mexico, mientras Vicente Quirarte (Mexico) amplia la perspectiva al ambito de la narrativa mexicana del siglo XX. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (4)

5-0 out of 5 stars excelente libro
El libro es excelente. Sólo una aclaración, esta edición no es de tapa dura o "hard cover", como dice el anuncio.

5-0 out of 5 stars La nobela más oscura
Es claro que desde un principio, Carlos Fuentes no tuvo el propósito de escribir una novela agradable o entretenida. No creó a ningún personaje admirable, cada uno tiene un conflicto que es representativo de los muchos conflictos de México como el país joven que es, cada uno es la voz de ungrupo y sus contradicciones, cada uno representa una, de las muchas carasde México. Si bien existen terribles prejuicios culturales que agovian atodas las naciones, en el caso de un país tan diverso como es México, elprejuicio ni siquiera abarca a un todo, sino que es el prejucio de un grupoque se aplica a la generalidad. Digo esto, porque sería muy fácilencasillar a laclase popular urbana y pensar que todo México es así,siendo que existen notables diferencias entre ésta y la clase campesina delnorte, y entre la última y la clase campesina del sur,por mencionar sóloalgunos grupos. Sin embargo, sin las clases campesinas de provincia, seríaimposble explicar a las clases populares del Distrito Federal. En esesentido Carlos Fuentes, logra recrear todo el mosaíco con suficienteprecisión y a la vez con matices y detalles que permiten hacerdistinciones. El autor utiliza una narrativa que no es sencilla, a ladiversidad de los conflictuados personajes se suman las diálogos internos,el juego del presente con el pasado, la enigmática presencia IxcaCienfuegos y Teódula Moctezuma que son una especie ángeles y guardianes,que nunca explican clarmente su origen o su función y que soninterlocutores demuchos de los personajes. Formalmente, podríamos decirque "la región más transparente" es una novela expermiental, quetranscurre de una forma que no es lineal. He de confesar que es difícilseguir el hilo de la historia, que es más bien un conjunto de cuentos conun tramado que se va cerrando para darle unidad al libro, pero que esconstantemente interrumpido por descripciones muy extensas de lascondiciones sicológicas de los protagonistas. Estos elementos hacen de laobra más reconocida de Fuentes, una lectura que requiere de mucha atención,que invita a la reflexión pero que tambén dice mucho. "La región mástransparente" como todo escrito, requiere que el lector la recree,pero también exige ser escuchada. Una advertencia, a los lectores de otrospaíses tal vez les sea más difícil penetrar en la obra que es de un espacioy un tiempo muy específicos.

5-0 out of 5 stars La region mas transparente
Esta novela nos brinda un excelente viaje a traves de nuestra historia

1-0 out of 5 stars El libro solo lo entiende el autor
Cansa, tiene partes incomprensibles, dearia no haberlo leido. ... Read more

10. The Years with Laura Diaz
by Carlos Fuentes
Paperback: 528 Pages (2001-09-28)
list price: US$14.95 -- used & new: US$0.01
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0156007568
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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A radiant family saga set in a century of Mexican history, by one of the world's greatest writers.

Carlos Fuentes's hope-filled new novel sees the twentieth century through the eyes of Laura D'az, a woman who becomes as much a part of our history as of the Mexican history she observes and helps to create. Born in 1898, this extraordinary woman grows into a wife and mother, becomes the lover of great men, and, before her death in 1972, is celebrated as a politically committed artist. A complicated and alluring heroine, she lives a happy life despite the tragedies and losses she experiences, for she has borne witness to great changes in her country's life, and she has loved and understood with unflinching honesty.

In his most important novel in decades, Carlos Fuentes has created a world filled with brilliantly colored scenes and heartbreaking dramas. The result is a novel of subtle, penetrating insight and immense power.

Amazon.com Review
A millennial novel with centennial breadth, The Years with Laura Díaz follows one woman through the 20th century in Mexico, witnessing its political upheavals, technological advances, and bitterly uneven social and artistic progress. Born on her grandfather Don Felipe's coffee plantation at Catemaco in 1898, Laura knows both the privilege of wealth and its limitations. Her parents, Leticia and Fernando, live apart, prudently waiting until Fernando can support his family in the larger town of Veracruz. While Don Felipe fights the laurel branches that continually weave their way through his delicate coffee plants, Laura watches as her gifted unmarried aunts are consumed by the forced idleness of their kind: Hilda, who plays Chopin to empty rooms, and Virginia, whose love poems never reach a suitor.

In Veracruz, Laura will find a focus for her own youthful longing, her half-brother Santiago, whose clandestine aid to the anarchist-syndicalists leads to his execution. After his death, she is expected to follow the girlish ambitions of her friends: taking dancing lessons and learning to listen to men. Yet in honor of her half-brother's memory, she embraces the revolution, and, hoping to avoid the fate of her virgin aunts, marries a solemn, dark-skinned, working-class hero. "The active life was preferable," Laura concludes at the ripe age of 22. For a woman, inevitably, this means "a life committed to another life."

A daughter, a wife, and then a mother, Laura is more or less dragged along by history. Eventually she must sacrifice not only Santiago but her own son and grandson to the violent game of musical chairs that is Mexican political life. Perhaps because of the almost laughable instability of power in Mexico, Fuentes is compelled to devote much of his narrative energy to explaining the rapid changes of guard--presidential assassinations succeeded by coups followed by questionable elections.

The poor and downtrodden, by contrast, are always there. Laura's husband takes her to the barrios of Mexico City to dissuade her from assuming anything but a housewife's role in political affairs. Later, a lover leads her through a nocturnal wasteland, a city of the poor, showing her deformed beggars, and stunted, starving children:

Laura, did your husband show you this, or did he only show you the pretty side of poverty, the workers with their cheap shirts, the whores with their powder, the organ grinders and locksmiths, the tamale sellers and the saddlers? Is that his working class? Do you want to rebel against your husband? Hate him because he didn't give you a chance to do something for others, treated you with contempt?
Laura decides that although she can't save everyone, she can save herself through work. And the first work she undertakes--wonderfully and bizarrely--is as a traveling companion to Frida Kahlo.

Given the time span and the gravity of occurrences this epic covers, it is no surprise that this character herself often seems to stand still while events and people move around her. Because of this, perhaps, The Years with Laura Díaz is not the clearest articulation of Fuentes's historical vision, nor his most moving work. Its emotional power is cumulative, however, and few readers will be able to put the novel down after the first hundred pages. --Regina Marler ... Read more

Customer Reviews (8)

2-0 out of 5 stars The long and winding novel
Carlos Fuentes is an amazing writer.He writes in a beautiful, poetic style.As a narrator, he notices even the minute details and brings them to life with his writing.The problem for me is that with all this attention to detail and poetry, the story seems to get lost.I would have liked the plot to move more quickly.Mr. Fuentes does not seem to be in any hurry to tell the story or stay on track with the plot.A scene my divert into a long, lovely description of nothing much, and the reader and characters are left waiting for Mr. Fuentes to return to the narration of the plot.It is, as I stated, beautifully written, it is just not a style for which I care.

3-0 out of 5 stars I Expected A 5 Star Read & Was Disappointed
Like Carlos Fuentes' masterpiece, "The Death of Artemio Cruz," "The Years With Laura Diaz" traces a migration from the state of Vera Cruz to Mexico City, during and after the Mexican Revolution. Here, however, the protagonist is not at all similar to the jaded revolutionary, Artemio Cruz, (who makes a cameo appearance in the novel). She is Laura Cruz, an artist and photographer, a woman of integrity, as well as a wife, mother and lover. Strong and vibrant, she manages to circumvent the Latin machismo which surrounds her and become a person in her own right, able to produce her own creative work, and to love with great abandon. In this sweeping historical saga, which spans a one hundred year period, Laura Cruz meets and mingles with all sorts of 20th century luminaries, like Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera, along with numerous political figures. Logically, history is portrayed through the eyes, experiences and ideology of Carlos Fuentes. He incorporates his views on the Mexican Revolution, socialism, Mexico's various workers' and labor movements, the Spanish Civil War, the Holocaust, McCarthyism and other important events which took place during the last century.

Santiago Lopez-Alfaro, a young Mexican filmmaker, is in Detroit to make a documentary about Mexican muralists and their work in the US. He also wants to capture the decay of a great city, "the first capital of the automobile, no less, the place where Henry Ford inaugurated mass production of the machine that governs our lives more than any government." He goes on to narrate, "I wanted to photograph the ruin of a great industrial center as a worthy epitaph for our terrible twentieth century." While Santiago is absorbed, studying the Diego Rivera mural at the Detroit Institute of Arts, he recognizes a familiar face - that of his own, spirited great great-grandmother, Laura Diaz. He proceeds to investigate, chronicle and relive her story, through various personal tragedies, her development into a great artist, and several marriages and love affairs. Against this fictional backdrop, Fuentes juxtaposes important historical events. And Laura Diaz seems to always be at the center of everything. She's everywhere - a veritable witness to history, reminiscent of Woody Allen's Zelig. And 'History' is as much a protagonist in this novel as Sra. Diaz. Fuentes' narrative, as usual, is driven by the ideas his characters represent. He sacrifices their natural development, frequently, to make his political and historical points. Indeed, the documentation of political upheavals, the rise and fall of various Mexican governments, and the lack of social and economic reforms are a constant here. The focus on the political and philosophical interests of the characters, with long sections of debate, makes for some dry reading at times, and certainly hampers the narrative's flow.

Laura Diaz was born in 1898 and comes of age during her country's revolution, in which her beloved brother, Santiago, was killed. She marries a prominent union leader, but when she becomes restless after nine years and two sons, her husband advises her to focus on the home and children, rather than help him with the Worker's movement. She finds temporary solace in an affair, becomes part of a bohemian circle and, after a year, finds an interesting job with Diego Rivera, an acquaintance. She decides the only way to save herself from the passive, boring life of forced idleness is through work. Rivera, Frida Kahlo and Laura travel to Detroit, where the great master is to create a mural. The continuing epic of Laura's life, loves, adventures is fascinating. There are colorful stories within stories, but Laura is essentially pulled along by the force of history.

I was disappiointed with "The Years With Laura Diaz." Carlos Fuentes is a favorite author, and I have read his work in Spanish. I was expecting another masterpiece and this does not measure up to his usual standard. It is not an easy book to read. The information included is interesting, but there's an overabundance of it, to the detriment of the characters' development. Our heroine, appears to be little more than an observer, a front for Fuente's portrait of a century.The book is also very long. Although I usually enjoy long novels, especially when the prose flows, I felt like I was actually on a century-long journey myself, and couldn't wait for the conclusion - always a bad sign. For all it's epic quality,"The Years With Laura Diaz" left me with an empty feeling. Something crucial was missing. Perhaps I missed relating to three-dimensional characters.

Carlos Fuentes, probably Mexico's greatest living writer, is the author of more than twenty books andhas received many awards for his accomplishments as a novelist, essayist, and commentator, among them the Cervantes Prize in 1987.

5-0 out of 5 stars Magnificent...Beautiful...artful
Carlos Fuentes true epic surrendered me to tears...Laura Diaz whether a fictional character of Frida Kahlo's assistant, brought me an Argentine born individual to great emotional depts...It is a lyrical novel, which tells truths beyond truths...Carlos Fuentes writes and depicts all of his characters with great intellect, knowledge of the times, and incredible perspective...Was totally aghast at the comment by one of our reviewers that stated that this book was not historically correct and that Carlos Fuentes is a shameful communist...Au contraire, readers, Carlos Fuentes is a poet and a latin, and therefore tells the truths about our countries and the US with a very objective eye...Since the Where the Air is Clear by him as well, no other book has touched my inner being and left me completely breathless...It is a book that is both timeless and reflective, emotional and philosophical...and most of all one of the most satisfying performances by Carlos Fuentes...Viva Carlos Fuentes, un autor con tanta sabiduria!!!

I would suggest that readers re-read his beautiful prose more than once and refer to this book throughout their lifetime, it is filled with the passion, pulse of individuals who are citizens of the world...

Thank you, thank you...Carlos, for a great magnificent book...

5-0 out of 5 stars The Years With Laura Diaz are magnificent!
This is a novel of great depth, written by a man who has lived his lifeobserving, thinking, asking questions, considering and writing. His great talent lies in speaking for many: for fathers, mothers, sons, lovers, passionate revolutionaries and for each of us.

The Years With Laura Diaz, is as great a mural and testament, and as real and colorful as the Diego Rivera mural that graces its cover. Just as the great mural tells the history and stories of a people, so this magnificently written work shows us the colors and contrasts that richly color our world. Do check out our Guest Reviewer Deborah D/M's full review.

5-0 out of 5 stars Love, Politics, and Life in a Century of Mexico
Carlos Fuentes takes us on a sweeping journey of the 20th century as he reveals the history, culture, and political life of Mexico and the world. Fuentes draws on his own family history to weave a tale oflove and tragedy and of extraordinary people whose lives and work influenced their times.Laura Diaz, the heroine both normal and unusual in her roles as wife and mother--lover and artist, waltzes through the years with grace and vitality.Her honesty and common sense approach to life make her an example for the many lives that she touches. She married a dashing young man in the labor movement andwas thrown into the political mainstream that coursed through Mexico City in the early part of the century.She also was the lover of more than one dashing and famous man as she joined the high life of Spanish-European society that existed in Mexico City.Diego Rivera and Frieda Kahlo became friends of hers, and she traveled with them to the United States as Diego painted his famous--and infamous--series of murals celebrating the workers.As a friend of Frieda's, Laura was able to tell the tragic story of the famous painter and her struggle with health and tragedy. The figure of Santiago, first the murdered brother of Laura and later her son and grandson, symbolizes the heroic persona who fights for what is right only to be cut down before his prime.Laura holds her love of these three in her heart, and eventually it sustains her through her life and into her new career.That in later life she became a famous photographer of the poor and downtrodden is indicative of the love she has for the three Santiagos, and for her husband and lovers, all of whom where involved in the people's movement. This novel encompasses all that is important in life, and it celebrates the courage and vitality of those who are willing to spend their lives for other's causes.Thetracing of Mexico's history from revolution, corrupt politics and visionary idealism, interwoven with Laura's life, is fascinating, and leaves the reader with a better understanding not only of Mexico bul also of the human spirit. ... Read more

11. Los 68 : Paris-Praga-Mexico (Referencias) (Spanish Edition)
by Carlos Fuentes
Paperback: 176 Pages (2005-07-05)
list price: US$13.95 -- used & new: US$20.30
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0307274152
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Chronicle of politics in Mexico, France and Czechoslovakia ... Read more

12. The Buried Mirror: Reflections on Spain and the New World
by Carlos Fuentes
Paperback: 400 Pages (1999-01-15)
list price: US$29.95 -- used & new: US$16.14
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0395924995
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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As the Los Angeles Times said: "Drawing expertly on five centuries of the cultural history of Europe and the Americas, Fuentes seeks to capture the spirit of the new, vibrant, and enduring civilization [in the New World] that began in Spain." Fuentes's singular success in this remarkable endeavor has made the book a classic in its field. (A Mariner Reissue). ... Read more

Customer Reviews (13)

2-0 out of 5 stars Hannibal in Italy
I have just read 35 pages of this highly recommended book. However on page 35 Fuentes writes...Hannibal, badly supplied, repaired back to his Spanish shelter, confirming Roman suspicions etc etc.
I have read nothing about Hannibal ever returning to Spain after arriving in Italy. He campaigned in Italy 16 years, was joined by one of his brothers who lost a battle and was killed, then returned to Carthage where he was defeated at Zama. He fled to the east pursued by the Romans where he committed suicide.
Does anyone have a reference describing Hannibal's return to Spain?

4-0 out of 5 stars Broad brush cultural and political history
Famous Hispanic novelist writes broad brush cultural and political history of the connection between Spain and Spanish America--the "New World" of the subtitle.

He shows how the three threads of Spanish history in 1492--feudalism fighting toward central monarchy, Christianized Europe fighting against the Islamic outpost on the Iberian peninsula, and the three peoples of the Book--Jews, Christians, and Muslims--fighting for survival and cultural footholds in the rebirth of knowledge in the Rennaisance--played out on the projected Utopia of the "New" World.

Good high-level framework for studying South and Central American history.

4-0 out of 5 stars My reflections
Reading this book, helped me see how close to each other we all are. How the Islamic culture and arts are part of the Hispanic world. For instance, a great percent of the words that we use in Spanish derived from the Arabic language. It's a great read!!

5-0 out of 5 stars Best book I have read in a long time

This book isthe English translation of El Espejo Enterrado, by Mexican writerand diplomat Carlos Fuentes.It consists of399 pages divided into 5 parts and 18 chapters which describe the history of the Spanish speaking people from their Cretan and Greek roots, through their development during the Middle Ages, the Renaissance,the Imperial Period, all the way to modern Spain and South America.

The book also includes 5 two page tablestitled The Monarchs of Spainand showingdetailed genealogical information on the families that ruled Spain from 970 ad to the beginning of the 20th century(not included in the Spanish version published by Taurus-Bolsillo 1992), as well as a large number of beautiful black and white and color illustrations (also not included the Spanish version published by Taurus-Bolsillo 1992). I missed such information, when reading the Spanish version, particularly the illustrations, because the author refers to themin the text, often with very detailed descriptions.

The book ends with thecredits,acknowledgements, andindex.

El Espejo Enterradois listed as an essay, although it probably should be classifiedas a history book. Yet it is more than that, because Carlos Fuentes is more than an essayer or a historian.He is a multifaceted artist who sees and describes reality in amore comprehensive as well as captivating manner than the average essayer or historian would.Hence hedoes not just give the description of the events that shaped the history of the Spanish speaking people, he makes them interesting, he makes the reader want to learn more.For example, by discussing theindividuals whose thoughts and actions influenced the decisions of the Spanish speaking people (e.g., Jean Jacques Rousseau and Napoleon);by relating the major world events from which those related to the Spanish speaking people developed (e.g., the Renaissance, the French Revolution, the American Revolution); or by describing the works of some of the major Spanish speaking artists(e.g., Don Quixote, La Vida Es Sueno, Las Meninas, La Maja Desnuda).Hence with this book, you will learn more than the history of the Spanish speaking people, you will meet some of the great thinkers of the Western world, you will be reminded of the history of the Western world, you will learn about the products of the most illuminated minds of the Spanish speaking world.You will also discover about many word origins, (how many among youreading this review know the meaning of the word Saragoza, the origin of the name Malinche, the identity of the woman from whom California got its name, the reason why the Mexicanscall the turkey guacolote). And you will acquire an awful lot of useful information which would otherwise not be easily available all in one book, for example, the real significance of Goya's painting Saturn Devouring his Children".

If you are educated in the history and artistic expressionsof the Western World andinterested in Spain and South America, you will not be able to put this book down until you come to the end.In actual fact, you will probably wish that you never cameto the end.

4-0 out of 5 stars Understanding the Hispanic tradition
The countries of Latin America have collectively had a long and tortured history; starting with the wars between the great native empires, the arrival of Columbus and the Spaniards, and finally US imperialism throughout the 20th century.Now, at the dawn of the 21st century, Latin Americans are more conscious than ever of their past, the contributions both native and European to it, and the state of their current economies, societies and culture.Part of this awakening and collective consciousness is the rise of prominant authors born and raised within the Hispanic world.One of these is Carlos Fuentes from Mexico, who in this book examines the origins and evolution of Latin American peoples, countries, and cultures.Paying attention to the influences from Spain, Portugal, France, various current and ancient native tribes, and now the US, this book shows how modern Hispanic culture came together in ways often violent, haphazard and chaotic.Rarely was one person in charge of this process; rare are the works that dominated this evolution.Outside of the Catholic Church, Latin America knows no equivalent of Sun Tzu's Art of War, Homer's epic poems, or the US Constitution.The author then tries to distill what is best about Latin American culture, and in doing so, points a way forward for Hispanics throughout the Western Hemisphere.Overall, a great book to understand this region of the world, its past, its present, and its probable future. ... Read more

13. La frontera de cristal/ The Crystal Frontier: A Novel in Nine Stories (Spanish Edition)
by Carlos Fuentes
Paperback: 288 Pages (2007-09-01)
list price: US$19.99 -- used & new: US$17.99
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 9705800073
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Using an imaginary glass wall, Carlos Fuentes creates a lens through which he examines the violence, discrimination and racism suffered by Mexican immigrants crossing the border into the US in a quest for a better life. In these nine stories that deal with the separation between Mexico and the Unites States, Fuentes is able to find humor even amongst the tumbling ruins of an immigrant s dream.
Description in Spanish:Nueve relatos sobre la separacion entre Mexico y Estados Unidos. Una ruptura vista desde el cristal del racismo, la discriminacion y la violencia que han padecido los mexicanos al atravesar la frontera, donde los suenos se desvanecen ante la voraz realidad. Y, a pesar de todo, hay en esta obra lugar para el humor. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (4)

5-0 out of 5 stars Para entender las relaciones culturales Mexico-EEUU
Un libro muy ingenioso. Los nueve cuentos tratan diferentes aspectos de la relacion de los inmigrantes mexicanos con "el pais de las oportunidades". Recomiendo este libro por realista, entretenido y sobre todo, porque esta excelentemente bien escrito.

4-0 out of 5 stars Conflicto de identidad
Carlos Fuentes tiene un conflicto de identidad muy grande. El trata de ser mexicano hasta el tuetano pero su formacion fue en diversos paises debido a que su padre era embajador. El siente que debe de demostrar que es mexicano escibiendo sobre mexicanos y sus propios conflictos de identidad. En este libro en particular el resultado es muy bueno, sin duda Fuentes puede tener una narativa muy agil y logra describir muy bien el conflicto de identidad visto desde la comoda posicion de la clase media alta.

5-0 out of 5 stars Para el lector que siente ser mexicano en conflicto...?
Al haber leído este libro hace un año y seguir pensando en cada uno deesos cuentos es para mí algo extraordinario.Este libro fue miintroducción a la literatura de Carlos Fuentes, quien es uno de losescritores mexicanos que se merece el elogio que ha recibido durante todosestos años.El hecho de que es un intelectual y escritor en cierta formaexige que nos entregue un producto que no nos falle.Esto ha sido logradoen "La Frontera de Cristal."El "conflicto" que todoslos mexicanos padecemos debido a nuestra situación migratoria entre Méxicoy Estados Unidos ha sido capturado dentro de las páginas de este libro. Cada relato exige del lector entender cada personaje, su personalidad y sudeseo de superación, a pesar del conflicto que se mantiene dentro denuestra sociedad (por ejemplo, el anciano en la silla de ruedas..."Soyyo.").

No cabe duda que Carlos Fuentes entiende todo esto y más.Yes que un escritor que puede mantener una cierta intimidad con su lectorentiende el sufrimiento, la superación personal y la lucha interna del serhumano.

5-0 out of 5 stars Impressive novel about of USA-Mexico presentrelations
In times of NAFTA, the relations between Mexico and USA are very unstables: indocummented migration, racialism, intercultural commnuciation, etc. are topics very importants for them, and they're shaped in Carlos Fuentes' La frontera de cristal. This novelist, maybe most important of today's Maxico and Latin America, give us a nine shortstories of love, immagination, and hope about of possible mexicans and gringos cohabitation in north and south of Rio Grande/rio Bravo for to go through the crystal frontier. ... Read more

14. Agua Quemada / Burned Water (Narrativa (Punto de Lectura)) (Spanish Edition)
by Carlos Fuentes
Paperback: 159 Pages (2008-07-15)
list price: US$9.99 -- used & new: US$9.99
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Asin: 9708120235
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These four short stories all take place in different places throughout Mexico. The characters in each story appear in other stories and their lives intertwine with one another. All compiled pose the reader to question whether any of it is real or simply a mirage. Description in Spanish: ''En estos cuatro relatos confluyen lo tragico y lo festivo, con personajes que transitan por espacios tan dispares y paradojicos como ellos mismos: el general nostalgico de la Revolucion Mexicana corrompida, el lumpen visceral que se convierte en guardaespaldas de su propio verdugo, la anciana que al lado de un nino paralitico no acepta su tiempo y su realidad, y un solteron acaudalado que no alcanza a comprender la pobreza; todos habitantes de una ciudad dolorosa, caotica y resentida: la ciudad de Mexico.'' ... Read more

15. The Eagle's Throne: A Novel
by Carlos Fuentes
Paperback: 352 Pages (2007-03-13)
list price: US$15.95 -- used & new: US$6.27
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Asin: 0812972554
Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars
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Here is a true literary event–the long-awaited new novel by Carlos Fuentes, one of the world’s great writers. By turns a tragedy and a farce, an acidic black comedy and an indictment of modern politics, The Eagle’s Throne is a seriously entertaining and perceptive story of international intrigue, sexual deception, naked ambition, and treacherous betrayal.
In the near future, at a meeting of the United Nations Security Council, Mexico’s idealistic president has dared to vote against the U.S. occupation of Colombia and Washington’s refusal to pay OPEC prices for oil. Retaliation is swift. Concocting a “glitch” in a Florida satellite, America’s president cuts Mexico’s communications systems–no phones, faxes, or e-mails–and plunges the country into an administrative nightmare of colossal proportions.

Now, despite the motto that “a Mexican politician never puts anything in writing,” people have no choice but to communicate through letters, which Fuentes crafts with a keen understanding of man’s motives and desires. As the blizzard of activity grows more and more complex, political adversaries come out to prey. The ineffectual president, his scheming cabinet secretary, a thuggish and ruthless police chief, and an unscrupulous, sensual kingmaker are just a few of the fascinating characters maneuvering and jockeying for position to achieve the power they all so desperately crave.

From the Hardcover edition. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (3)

2-0 out of 5 stars All Hot Sauce, No Enchilada!
Carlos Fuentes has always written lurid melodrama - written it well, if you will - for an audience of readers accustomed to strong flavors. "The Eagle's Throne" is as lurid as any reader could wish, as blatant as a telenovela, and Fuetes's relentless excess has begun to wear out my patience.

It's a futurist novel, set in 2020. The Mexican government has defied "el Norte" and supported OPEC in raising oil prices. The USA has deliberately snafued all satellite communications in Mexico - no e-mail, no cell phones, etc. What a good excuse for the writing of an epistolary novel! Unfortunately, epistolary novels are hard to do well. The character of each character HAS to be evidenced not just in the sense but also in the style of each letter writer. "By your style ye shall be known!" Fuentes doesn't achieve that sort of individuation. His correspondents all sound just like him.

Otherwise, it's an interesting concept, a means of depicting the inner workings of Mexico's governmental class in near-apocalyptic terms. The book reminds me of Sinclair Lewis's great futurist novel "It Can't Happen Here". But the lurid and languid sexual themes weigh so heavily on the satire! Mexico's governmental class IS lurid and loathsome, and corruption IS both endemic and hapless. Not even the next tea-flavored Republican administration in the USA can approach the banal corruption and venal inhumanity of some of the past Mexican administrations, or of the fictional rulers in Fuentes's vision of 2020. But I can't say that Fuentes has offered any insights into "why" or "what to do about it".

5-0 out of 5 stars Letters as a novel
I must admit I'm biased when it comes to Carlos Fuentes and his books; I love then all, even the epic, erudite, novel I've been reading for three or four years and have yet to finish entitled Terra Nostra (Latin American Literature Series). I've read nearly every book published by Mexico's eminent literary scholar and author, Carlos Fuentes, including one ofmy favorites Christopher Unborn, the historical exploration of Spain and it's multicultural influence on the new world entitled The Buried Mirror: Reflections on Spain and the New World, the brilliantly interconnected nine short stories that comprise the novel The Crystal Frontier, his epic, scathing,political examination of Mexico entitledA New Time for Mexico and of course, his classicsThe Old Gringo: A Novel and The Death of Artemio Cruz: A Novel are only a few in English I've read; I've also read many lesser known titles that are in Spanish and that unfortuantely have never been translated. I mention this so that you know I am well versed in the style of Carlos Fuentes. I appreciate his genius, don't always agree with his political slant but highly respect his talents and his way with words that includes an uncanny ability to weave the past with the present and as is the case with this novel, the past. If you have never read any books by Mr. Fuentes I would not suggest this be your first but rather choose one of the aforementioned books. The writer for the Washington Post, Francisco Goldman presents an overview of the novel that captures the essence of the novel in the editorial reviews here at Amazon. Really there is not much to add concerning the novel because Mr. Godman covers all the bases quite well. I can only add that at times I found it difficult to keep track of the characters because all of the book is written as though written in letter correspondence. Distinguishing who was writing to who and the relationships was slow unfolding but eventually madesense as I got into the flow of the book. Carlos Fuentes never ceases to amaze me with his technical and literary brilliance. This is another in a long line of fantastic books by Mr. Fuentes who even at his advanced age continues to write vivid, intense,prose that is both prophetic and contemporary for now and future generations. Recommended for all especailly those interested in reading one of the best writers to emerge from the 20th Century and still be vital.

3-0 out of 5 stars Politics in the Raw
This political satire holds your attention. What makes the reading a bit tedious is the fact that the styles of the various correspondents whose letters constitute the narrative, are not well differentiated, possibly due to translation. While the Mexican political chicanery depicted may seem extreme at times, our own Watergate, Monica L. and Weapons of Mass Destruction do not pale in comparison. ... Read more

16. The Old Gringo: A Novel
by Carlos Fuentes
Paperback: 208 Pages (2007-02-20)
list price: US$13.00 -- used & new: US$0.98
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0374530521
Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars
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One of Carlos Fuentes's greatest works, The Old Gringo tells the story of Ambrose Bierce, the American writer, soldier, and journalist, and of his last mysterious days in Mexico living among Pancho Villa's soldiers, particularly his encounter with General Tomas Arroyo. In the end, the incompatibility of the two countries (or, paradoxically, their intimacy) claims both men, in a novel that is, most of all, about the tragic history of two cultures in conflict.
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Customer Reviews (17)

5-0 out of 5 stars Old Gringo by Carlos Fuentes
This book, written in such simple though eloquent translation, had amazing depth and personal meaning for me. I loved it and have already lent it to a patient for whom I think it would have deep meaning.

5-0 out of 5 stars "What a shame. They're right when they say this isn't a border. It's a scar."
I've heard it more than once, living in New Mexico, from my Hispanic brethren, that "I didn't cross the border, the border crossed me," a not so subtle reference to the enlargement of the United States following the war with Mexico in 1848. Clearly the destinies of these two countries are intertwined, and at one time it was primarily an issue for the Southwestern US, but in the last 30 years, most of the US is involved. A prime, even essential reason to try to understand our relationship from a Mexican perspective, and there is no finer Mexican writer than Carlos Fuentes.

I just re-read this excellent novel, and consider it, along with "The Death of Artemio Cruz," to be his best works, and most accessible. His erudition, and his literary style dazzles. And his anger at power relationships, including those with his northern neighbor, burns white hot. He chose an interesting mix of major and minor characters to tell his story. The "Old Gringo" is revealed at the end of the book to be Ambrose Pierce, who in real life was a sardonic, cynical satirist famous for writing "The Devil's Dictionary," and who disappeared in old age, in Mexico, at the time of the revolt led by Pancho Villa. The two other principal characters are Harriet Winslow, a teacher fleeing an unhappy family situation in Washington, DC, including the ghost of her father who disappeared in Cuba, during the Spanish-American War in 1898. The third is the illiterate General Arroyo, on the side of Pancho Villa, and who possesses the papers that proves he is the true owner to the hacienda that his troops burn.The minor characters are equally fascinating, including La Luna, (she of the moon face), La Garduna, various troops fighting the war, and the "ghosts" of all the principal's fathers.

In regards to the Mexican-American relationship, consider: "Haven't you ever thought, you gringos, that all this land was one ours? Ah, our resentment and our memory go hand in hand." In real life Bierce worked for a period for the king of the "Yellow Press," William Randolph Hearst, a precursor to "Fox News," and Fuentes provides scathing critiques: "he had attacked it by orders of his boss Hearst, who had enormous investments in ranches and other property and feared the Revolution; but as he couldn't say, Go protect my property, he had to say, Go protest our lives, there are North American citizens in danger, intervene!" and Bierce reflected on his own role: "...wary of his journalist's tendency to form the instant stereotype that enabled the stupid masses to understand in a flash and feel flattered for it; a tag for everything, that was the Bible of his boss, Mr. Hearst." Towards the end, a reporter, shades of our recent adventure in Iraq, asks: "Don't you want us to save Mexico for democracy and progress, Miss Winslow?" Fuentes also tells the "best history," the history that we did not know, and forced me to consult Wikipedia concerning the American invasion of Vera Cruz in 1914.

But the book is so much more than about political or power relations. It really is about the changes that events unforeseen force on the characters. How they react to events. And Fuentes style of foreshadowing, and backing and filling, like pixels in a picture is impressive. For example, on the first page you learn that a female character might have given her child the name of "Tom Brook," but it is more than half way through the novel that you learn why, under Fuentes wry guidance.

The book is also very much about what passes for love; and this includes a particular passage of eroticism, both in terms of the physical and physiological, that could rival any in literature. "No, I had him." The frontiers are more than that formed by a river, called the Grande in the North- they are also about crossing our internal ones.

Overall, a superlative read, richer the second time around, and an essential read for all Americans. `Tis a pity that the book has a low Amazon rating, due to its assignment to students who would have learned far more picking grapes for a month with our friends from the South.

3-0 out of 5 stars There had to be a new violence to end the old one
Carlos Fuentes's book is an ambitious project: the disappearance of the great American writer Ambrose Bierce and his fictional confrontation with Pancho Villa and his army in Mexico.

Both face defeat.
Ambrose Bierce `believed he could shape the destinies of others through a journalism of accusation and satire', `while my lord and master of the press cannibalized my anger for the greater glory of his political interests and his massive circulation and his massive bank accounts.'
Mexico and its people `conquered by a destiny of defeat: slaves and rustlers, never free men, except by being rebels.' Why this rebellion? `Because we are tired of a world ruled by the caciques, the Church, and the strutting aristocrats.'

Carlos Fuentes is a brilliant writer: `The mountains rose like worn, dark-skinned fists and the old man imagined the body of Mexico as a gigantic corpse with bones of silver, eyes of gold, flesh of stone and balls hard as copper.'
But, another author, J. M. Coetzee, tackled the same theme in his book `The Master of Petersburg', where another famous author F.M. Dostoyevsky is confronted with Russian anti-tsarist terrorism. While J. M. Coetzee wrestles with the problem of political violence head-on, Carlos Fuentes slides into another `Cambio de Piel" and explicit sex.

A big opportunity missed.

3-0 out of 5 stars The Old Gringo
I have recently finished The book titled, The Old Gringo.To be honest, it wasn't really a very appealing book to me.The book is about a man nicknamed the old gringo who is from the United States who comes to Mexico to die.Also, a young woman named Harriet Winslow comes to Mexico to teach children.
The old gringo joins forces with a man named Thomas Arroyo who is a general to wipe out the rest of the mexican rebels after the war.The old man is very brave and he walks straight into battle with no fear and defeats his enemies.His wish is to die in Mexico and be a good looking corpse.Harriet Winslow at first doesn't do anything for a while however because she has not arrived at her destination where she will teach the children.
The old gringo fearlessly wins many battles and seems to be a quiet and calm person at first. However, later in the story he opens up to Harriet Winslow and is shown to be a cruel man on the inside.He claims that he is the reason that one of his sons commited suicide.He wishes to die a way different than the rest of his family.
Harriet eventually gets to her destination and begins teaching.She does very well with teaching the children English.Eventually the old gringo says that he is afraid of falling in love with Harriet because he wants to die alone.Harriet becomes quite attracted to Thomas Arroyo who later tells her that he wishes to kill the old gringo.The old gringo laughs when Harriet tells him this and says that he is not worried at all.
As the book reaches an end, the old gringo passes away however i will not tell you how and Harriet and Thomas appear to be interviewed about everything that happened.
I would recommend this book to mature people because a lot of the content in the book requires maturity.That is my review of the Old Gringo by Carlos Fuentes.

5-0 out of 5 stars Healing the frontiers of the heart and mind
Judging by previous comments on The Old Gringo, many readers are perusing the novel for the content relating to the fate of American writer Ambrose Bierce.To read Fuentes' novel for that purpose is to miss the fine points of the novelist's craft.Or, perhaps, The Old Gringo has simply gotten better since it was first published in 1985.It seems to me that the main premise of The Old Gringo is that Mexico and the United States should get to know each other, become less of a mystery to each other.This premise has become more true over the past two decades--particularly as the immigration debate heats up.Near the end of the novel, the revolutionary fighter Inocencio Mansalvo, looks from "What a shame.They're right when they say this isn't a border.It's a scar."To understand that view, the reader has to have read the previous 185 pages.

As a reader, I feel I ought to offer a compelling reason for others to seriously pick up this book--something more substantial than simply to read how Fuentes fictionalizes Bierce, a real person with a well-documented life.What I find so wonderful here is that Fuentes manages to teach me about Mexico and the United States without preaching, without stopping the flow of the story.First of all, the key to how Fuentes constructed the plot is that he knew enough about American life--he spent much of his youth in Washington, D.C.--that he could see very clear reasons how an American journalist like Ambrose Bierce would purposefully go to Mexico in the 1910s.The conjunction of actual, historical events gave Fuentes the main structure: the Mexican revolution coming as Bierce was aging, feeling bitter about his broken family, regretting that he had written lies for a William Randolph Hearst newspaper.It's believable that Bierce desired to escape his own life but didn't want to commit suicide.

The author's masterstroke was to invent the main character, Harriet Winslow.Fuentes was confident enough as a writer that Miss Winslow is entirely believable.Harriet's interior monologue, the thoughts that come from her deep consciousness, are real enough--physical enough--to carry the responsibility of serving as the frame for the novel.Harriet is back in Washington, D.C. remembering the old gringo and General Tomás Arroyo, the "moon-faced" woman, and the other Mexican people she knew.Fuentes provides the music of the text: the careful detail, the balance between spoken dialogue and interior monologue, the Mexican characters' exact reasons for needing a revolution against the oppressive hacienda system.The Mexican characters are very clear about what they hoped for: freedom of movement in their own nation without fear of the wealthy land owners, freedom to choose whom they could love and marry--basic civil liberties.But there is something more.Fuentes makes clear that the human mind has very deep places: if the reader thinks that Americans and Mexican are all surface with no consciousness, read again.

The Old Gringo is also an existentialist novel, intensely philosophic, an argument for a profoundly nuanced politics: "And the frontier in here?" the North American woman had asked, tapping her forehead."And the frontier in here?" General Arroyo had responded, touching his heart."There's one frontier we only dare to cross at night," the old gringo said."The frontier of our differences with others, of our battles with ourselves."

If we read enough about Mexico and American relations, perhaps we can find healing for the wound, for the scar that is the border.Read.Enjoy.Be intrigued.
... Read more

17. Cuentos Naturales/ Natural Stories (Spanish Edition)
by Carlos Fuentes
Paperback: 168 Pages (2007-09-30)
list price: US$17.99 -- used & new: US$11.99
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Asin: 9707701234
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After his first work, Los días enmascarados, was published in 1954, it became clear to all that Carlos Fuentes is one of the contemporary masters in the art of short story writing. This volume includes, among other stories, Vieja moralidad, Las dos Elenas, Malintzin de las maquilas, La sierva del padre, and La línea de la vida.

Description in Spanish:Desde su primera obra publicada, el volumen Los días enmascarados(1954), empezó a quedar claro que el autor es uno de los maestros contemporáneos del arte de escribir cuento. Esta obra incluye, entre otros, Vieja moralidad, Las dos Elenas , Malintzin de las maquilas, La sierva del padre y La línea de la vida. ... Read more

18. Cambio De Piel/a Change of Skin (Spanish Edition)
by Carlos Fuentes
Mass Market Paperback: 627 Pages (2001-03-01)
list price: US$9.99 -- used & new: US$6.41
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Asin: 846630245X
Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars
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A road trip takes four people into a mental and metaphorical labyrinth that will end with an unexpected tragic ritual. The world of American myths and the key questions of the European culture converge in this ambitious and successful novel that depicts a Mexican man of this century tormented by doubts about the present, the weight of the past, and fear of the future.

Description in spanish: El Domingo de Ramos de 1965 cuatro personajes inician un viaje hacia Veracruz y se detienen en Cholula, ciudad de las pirámides aztecas. En el laberinto de sus galerías se internarán las dos parejas, como en un descenso a los infiernos, que concluirá con una tragedia ritual inesperada.

"Ficción total" en palabras del propio autor, "Cambio de piel" indaga en el mito del México prehispánico y en el holocausto europeo a través de la memoria de sus protagonistas para decirnos que, en definitiva, todas las violencias son la misma violencia. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (3)

3-0 out of 5 stars I recommend other books of the same author.
I agree with A Reader's opinion. It is ambitious mentioning the past of Indios, Holocaust, etc, but it is to difficult, complicated and symbolic in a way.

5-0 out of 5 stars Cambio de piel, 1967
I haven't read this book yet, I just bought it but regarding the review about the "boring pop art and classics" style, I think it is important to notice that maybe this book fits more in the 60's style just because it was written in the 60's, 1967 to be accurate!

2-0 out of 5 stars A boring mix of pop art and the classics.
Although this book earned the Seix Barral award, it is poor compared to other works of Fuentes. A failed attempt to make a novel with many significant levels. A lenguage experiment that results awful. It might havebeen interesting in the sixties, but thirty years later is not worth it. Anovel that won't stand the test of times. ... Read more

19. The Good Conscience
by Carlos Fuentes
Paperback: 148 Pages (1987-03-01)
list price: US$16.00 -- used & new: US$7.00
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Asin: 0374507368
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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The Good Conscience is Carlos Fuentes's second novel.The scene is Guanajuato, a provincial capital in Central Mexico, once one of the world's richest mining centers.The Ceballos family has been reinstated to power, and adolescent Jaime Ceballos, its only heir, is torn between the practical reality of his family's life and the idealism of his youth and his Catholic education.His father is a good man but weak; his uncle is powerful, yet his actions are inconsistent with his professed beliefs. Jaime's struggle to emerge as a man with a "good conscience" forms the theme of the book: can a rebel correct the evils of an established system and at the same time retain the integrity of his principles?
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Customer Reviews (1)

4-0 out of 5 stars The Good Conscience
This is an excellent novel written by Carlos Fuentes that describes a struggle between self-integrity and self-interest. ... Read more

20. The Crystal Frontier
by Carlos Fuentes
 Paperback: 280 Pages (1998-10-15)
list price: US$14.00 -- used & new: US$6.99
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Asin: 0156006200
Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars
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From Mexico’s preeminent man of letters, “a Balzacian novel in nine masterly stories” (Vanity Fair) that explores the “uneven and painful meshing of two North american cultures” (Washington Post Book World). A New York Times Notable Book of the Year.A Los Angeles Times Best Book of the Year. Translated by Alfred Mac Adam.
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Customer Reviews (13)

5-0 out of 5 stars drew me in and made me think!
I read this book a while back in a Spanish Literature class. I absolutely loved it, it made me think about so many imigration issues that I had not even known existed before. This book is written as a novel, and a novel with a purpose at that. If you are against immigration of the Latin Americans into the USA, then this book may be the one to get you to understand that they are real people and not just percentages and numbers leading to American job loss.

Carlos Fuentes has a point in writing this book, it seems many reviewers haven't understood that, or they don't agree with him. That is fine, it is fine to disagree. But the way this book is written it does deserve a full 5 star rating. Give it a try.

2-0 out of 5 stars Ambivalent novel long on poetry,short on solutions
Tedious novel in the form of nine linked stories shows Mexican life from multiple angles, none too flattering. The crystal frontier of the title is, of course, the U.S.-Mexican border; what matters here is less the border as geopolitical fact and more its impact on the Mexican psyche. The author aims his barbs at both sides of the border; there's little surprising here except perhaps for the portrayal of a disdainful Mexican upper class that couldn't care less about how the other half lives or whether it lives or starves. Book clubs will find this a useful tool for stirring up discussion on the illegal drug and immigration issues whether they read through to the end or not; those who do will be rewarded with a chapter written half in normal prose and half in surreal fragmentary lines of poetry, the effect of which is not unlike sitting through a Tarkovsky double-feature.

2-0 out of 5 stars An Underwhelming Brew
Whenever I travel to a country, I like to take along some fiction written by someone from that country to read while I'm there. So, for my first trip to Mexico, Fuentes seemed like the logical choice, and since I tend to enjoy short stories, this "novel in nine stories" seemed to fit the bill. However, for the most part, I found it both thematically and stylistically underwhelming, rather tedious, and it didn't give me any new insights into the dynamic and complex relationship between the U.S. and Mexico. The nine pieces are very tangentially connected to Don Leonardo, a rather generic shady, wealthy Mexican businessman who exists at one end of the socioeconomic spectrum. He's able to move easily across the "crystal frontier" between Mexico and the U.S. -- whether by flying first class to New York or being chauffeured to El Paso in his Mercedes.

In "A Capital Girl", a beautiful girl from Mexico City with few prospects finds security with her godfather Don Leonardo, and although she marries his son, she becomes the old man's mistress. Surely this is allegorical, although I'm not quite sure what to make of it. In "Spoils", Juan Zamora is able to attend Cornell Medical School through the machinations of Don Leonardo. While there, he explores his homosexuality and unable to reconcile his identity, flees back home. "Spoils" is in some ways the most fantastical and enjoyable of the stories, as an eminent Mexican food critic sits discovers a Mexican genie in a bottle of salsa. However, it's simultaneously a tediously diatribe against American food (which I'm not particularly a fan of either) which gets all too shrill.

"The Line of Oblivion" is an ineffective rambling stream of consciousness monologue from a wheelchair-bound old man at a border protest. "Malintzin of the Maquilas" is probably my favorite segment of the whole book, as it is the most direct and apparently "realistic" of the lot. It follows a young woman who works in a border factory assembling television sets, and her relationships with several coworkers and a feckless boyfriend. It's more compelling than the others because the socioeconomic themes feel more at home in this particular setting, with these characters. Unfortunately, it's also marred somewhat by a predictable (and unnecessary) bit of melodrama at the end.

"Las Amigas" is simply a terrible story about the relationship between a very wealthy and a very racist elderly Chicago woman and her Mexican maid. It's really, really bad, but not quite as ridiculous as the title story, "The Crystal Frontier". This is about a hardworking, solid Mexican man forced to take a job as a contract window washer in New York in order to earn a living. There, he experiences an incredibly cheezy moment of "connection" with a typical American businesswoman who's working over the weekend. They kiss through the glass -- it's so awful it beggars belief. "The Bet" stands a little removed from the rest of the book, as it chronicles the relationship between a Mexican tour guide and a Spanish woman he meets and falls for, while also telling of a time from the past when he and his friends used to pick on the town's simpleton. The final story, "Rio Grande, Rio Bravo" attempts to bring together the book's themes (and some of the characters) in a climactic nighttime border crossing but collapses in ridiculous bloodbath involving neo-Nazi skinhead bikers!

My main disappointment with this book is that I didn't feel like I learned anything or gained any perspective. The storytelling is pretty awkward for the most part, and the translated prose felt affected and pretentiously overwritten. There are some interesting characters who are brought to life (at least on the Mexican side, every single Anglo in the book is either an out and out racist or subconsciously prejudicial), but the situations there are put in are often too artificial. The next time I look for a book my a Mexican writer, I think I'll try and find something by someone much younger and closer to the ground -- despite the evident good intentions there's an air about Fuentes' writing which makes him seem utterly removed from the plight of people he's trying to write about in most of these stories.

2-0 out of 5 stars A Fragile Crystal
Carlos Fuentes is a major author in Mexican literature, with notable successes in history and fiction. In this book of 266 pages, he introduces us to the lives of a spectrum of persons living on both sides of the Mexican Border, particularly with Texas.He speaks with authority about the historical injustices involved in the American conquest of Texas, the War on Mexico, and our continuing hostile dependency on each other.The Americans need cheap labor and the Mexicans need jobs.In nine vignettes (chapters), he gives us a glimpse into the lives of various persons on both sides of the border.The Mexicans come North to go to school legally or to do menial work illegally or legally.The message in this book is quite clear.We want the Mexicans when we need them to do tasks cheaply that our own labor force will not do.We do not want the Mexicans when they become dependent on us and stress our social system for such things as health care or education.Carlos Fuentes points to the type of economic slavery that this creates, not much better than the era of slavery which Abraham Lincoln fought against.Fuentes achieves some balance in showing also the internal corruption of Mexico, and the many ways that they miss opportunities to improve themselves.The vignettes are funny, sad, passionate, and sometimes lacking in clear focus.Some characters fade into and out of various chapters creating a fabric of impressions about the life on the border.The reader has to relax and let the images flow past, with the poetic inserts by Fuentes about the various conflicts.This is clearly not his best book but in some ways it perhaps reveals more of his own most heartfelt conflicts which accumulated while he spent many years as a child and young adult in the USA.It is a particularly good book to read while you are traveling near the Mexican border and can get your own impressions of this SCENE.

1-0 out of 5 stars A ROLL OF THE EYES
Anytime you write a bunch of short stories and try to thread them together with a cameo of characters from previous stories you're going to get into trouble. Because that's what it ends up being. A bunch of short stories that is said to comprise a "novel". It's hard to remember who's who from one story to the next because you've only been exposed to the characters for a short glimpse.

"The Crystal Frontier" is an unimaginative attempt at metaphor concocted by Fuentes to symbolize the frontier between Mexico and the United States. That boundary is not only the physical presence of the Rio Grande River but also of the differences between cultures.

The character that threads the stories together is a powerful Mexican businessman named Leonardo Barroso whose main export to America is cheap labor. He is introduced in the first story, called "A Capital Girl" in which he sets up his bookish son to be married to a beautiful girl. He also sets her up to be his mistress. Like a demented Amelie, Leonardo has a direct or indirect impact on all the short stories that follow. I guess it has something in common with chaos theory, but instead of a butterfly causing a hurricane, here we have a money grubbing exploitive Enron type affecting lives that he knows nothing about.

A few of the earlier stories are interesting and good. "Pain" is about a doomed love affair between two medical students, one of which got a scholarship from Leonardo. "Spoils" was a great story about a famous food critic and chef who offers his philsophy of why America is obese. It is also in that story that the book starts to destroy itself for me. Fuentes starts coming in through his characters about how America stole half of Mexico and about how we are inferior to the europeans in culture. It is in this story that Americans begin to be stereotyped as ruthless buzzards that are eating off the flesh of Mexico. I won't get into a rant just yet.

The rest of the stories in the "novel" run the gamut from average to poor and some are just downright an affront to the intellegence of a brain dead squirrel and are unreadable. Two of the most awful are the short story the book was named for, "The Crystal Frontier"and the last story in here, called "Rio Grande, Rio Bravo". "Frontier" is about a Mexican who is a complete failure in his hometown who is contracted to work in New York. His work is to clean the windows of an immense glass skycraper. While he is cleaning he notices a woman working, not knowing that she's there on a Saturday to get away from her domestic problems. There's this whole big moment where they basically fall in love just looking at each other straight out of a harlequin novel. It was just so cliched and awful.

For sheer Ed Wood sorriness "Rio Grande" takes the cake. All the characters in the earlier stories are brought together in an episode centering on an illegal crossing of Mexicans into Texas. Here we have the cliched white border guard who never goes out in the sun because he's afraid of tanning and showing the darkness inherit in his genes and who is sort of a closet Adolph Hitler. We have his subordinate, an American of Mexican descent, who is in a cliched scene where he confronts an illegal alien and is engrossed in a loving hug with him. Let's not forget the arrival of a Nazi skinhead motorcycle gang who proceed to slaughter the Mexicans right on cue. Oh boy. The horror. The horror. This book is so ludicrous it makes me sick. Oh, it is also interspersed with a Neruda-wannabe poem recounting Mexico's history.

I will soon be donating this book to my local library. Fuentes' prose is overblown and pompous. He tries so hard to be a poet but it can never be. It says on the back of the jacket that he is Mexico's greatest novelist. I weep for Mexico. I agree that America takes advantage of Mexico but Mexico also takes advantage of us. It's a cycle that has benefits and drawbacks but I think both countries ignore the problems. Sometimes I don't understand why Mexico has never been able to get its act together and why there even has to be the problems we have. Fuentes seems to place most if not all the responsibility on the US. He does place some blame on Mexico itself when he states that "whoever said Mexicans have the right to be well-governed?"
Obviously he likes the politics in his country enough to be an ambassador to France for it. And I have a lot of suspicion for a man who "champions the poor" when he divides his time between Mexico City and London. It must be rough trying to get by on the little amount of money he makes. ... Read more

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