Fuentes, Carlos 1928-
FUENTES, Carlos 1928-
PERSONAL: Born November 11, 1928, in Panama City, Panama; Mexican citizen; son of Rafael Fuentes Boettiger (a career diplomat) and Berta Macias Rivas; married Rita Macedo (a movie actress), 1959 (divorced, 1969); married Sylvia Lemus (a television journalist), 1973; children: (first marriage) Cecilia; (second marriage) Carlos Rafael, Natasha. Education: National University of Mexico, LL.B., 1948; graduate study, Institute des Hautes Etudes (Geneva, Switzerland). Politics: Independent leftist. Hobbies and other interests: Reading, travel, swimming, visiting art galleries, listening to classical and rock music, motion pictures, the theater.
ADDRESSES: Home—Mexico City, Mexico; and London, England. Agent—c/o Alfaguara, S.A.-Grupo Santillana, Torrelaguna, 60, 28043 Madrid, Spain.
CAREER: Writer. International Labor Organization, Geneva, Switzerland, began as member, became secretary of the Mexican delegation, 1950-52; Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Mexico City, Mexico, assistant chief of press section, 1954; National University of Mexico, Mexico City, Mexico, secretary and assistant director of cultural dissemination, 1955-56, head of department of cultural relations, 1957-59; Mexican ambassador to France, 1975-77; Cambridge University, Norman Maccoll Lecturer, 1977, Simon Bolivar Professor, 1986-87; Barnard College, New York, NY, Virginia Gildersleeve Professor, 1977; Columbia University, New York, NY, Henry L. Tinker Lecturer, 1978; University of Pennsylvania, professor of English, 1978-83; Harvard University, Cambridge, MA, Robert F. Kennedy Professor of Latin American studies, 1987. Fellow at Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, 1974; lecturer or visiting professor at University of Mexico, University of California—San Diego, University of Oklahoma, University of Concepción in Chile, University of Paris, University of Pennsylvania, and George Mason University; Modern Humanities Research Association, president, 1989—; member of Mexican National Commission on Human Rights.
MEMBER: American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters (honorary).
AWARDS, HONORS: Centro Mexicano de Escritores fellowship, 1956-57; Biblioteca Breve Prize, Seix Barral (publishing house, Barcelona, Spain), 1967, for Cambio de piel; Xavier Villaurrutia Prize (Mexico), 1975; Romulo Gallegos Prize (Venezuela), 1977, for Terra Nostra; Alfonso Reyes Prize (Mexico), 1979, for body of work; National Award for Literature (Mexico), 1984, for "Orchids in the Moonlight"; nominated for Los Angeles Times Book Award in fiction, 1986, for The Old Gringo; Miguel de Cervantes Prize, Spanish Ministry of Culture, 1987; Ruben Dario Order of Cultural Independence (Nicaragua) and literary prize of Italo-Latino Americano Institute, both 1988, for The Old Gringo; Medal of Honor for Literature, National Arts Club (New York, NY), 1988; Rector's Medal, University of Chile, 1991; Casita Maria Medal, 1991; Order of Merit (Chile), 1992; French Legion of Honor, 1992; Menedez Pelayo International Award, University of Santander, 1992; named honorary citizen of Santiago de Chile, Buenos Aires, and Veracruz, 1993; Principe de Asturias Prize, 1994; Premio Grinzane-Cavour, 1994; candidate for Neustadt International Prize for Literature, 1996; Ruben Dario Prize, 1998; nominated for the 2002 Impac Dublin Literary Award for The Years with Laura Díaz; Common Wealth Award for Distinguished Service, 2002; Chubb Fellowship, Yale, 2004; honorary degrees from Bard College, Cambridge University, Columbia College, Chicago State University, Dartmouth College, Essex University, Georgetown University, Harvard University, and Washington University.
La región más transparente, Fondo de Cultura Economica (Mexico City, Mexico), 1958, translation by Sam Hileman published as Where the Air Is Clear, Ivan Obolensky, 1960.
Las buenas consciencias, Fondo de Cultura Economica (Mexico City, Mexico), 1959, translation published as The Good Conscience, Ivan Oblensky, 1961.
La muerte de Artemio Cruz, Fondo de Cultura Economica (Mexico City, Mexico), 1962, translation by Sam Hileman published as The Death of Artemio Cruz, Farrar, Straus (New York, NY), 1964.
Aura (also see below), Era, 1962, reprinted, 1982, translation by Lysander Kemp, Farrar, Straus (New York, NY), 1965.
Zona sagrada, Siglo XXI, 1967, translation by Suzanne Jill Levine published as Holy Place (also see below), Dutton (New York, NY), 1972.
Cambio de piel, Mortiz, 1967, translation by Sam Hileman published as A Change of Skin, Farrar, Straus (New York, NY), 1968.
Cumpleaños, Mortiz, 1969, translation published as Birthday (also see below).
Terra Nostra (also see below), Seix Barral (Barcelona, Spain), 1975, translation by Jill Levine, afterword by Milan Kundera, Farrar, Straus (New York, NY), 1976.
La cabeza de hidra, Mortiz, 1978, translation by Margaret Sayers Peden published as Hydra Head, Farrar, Straus (New York, NY), 1978.
Una familia lejana, Era, 1980, translation by Margaret Sayers Peden published as Distant Relations, Farrar, Straus (New York, NY), 1982.
El gringo viejo, Fondo de Cultura Economica (Mexico City, Mexico), 1985, translation with Margaret Sayers Peden published as The Old Gringo, Farrar, Straus (New York, NY), 1985.
Cristóbal Nonato, Fondo de Cultura Economica (Mexico City, Mexico), 1987, translated as Christopher Unborn, Farrar, Straus (New York, NY), 1989.
La frontera de cristal, Alfaguara (Mexico City, Mexico), 1995, translated as The Crystal Frontier: A Novel in Nine Stories.
Diana, the Goddess Who Hunts Alone, introduction by Alfred J. Mac Adam, Farrar, Straus (New York, NY), 1995.
Años con Laura Díaz, Alfaguara (Mexico City, Mexico), 1999, translation by Alfred Mac Adam published as The Years with Laura Díaz, Farrar, Straus (New York, NY), 2000.
Instinto de Inez, Alfaguara (Mexico City, Mexico), 2001, translation by Margaret Sayers Peden published as Inez, Farrar, Straus (New York, NY), 2002.
La silla del águila, Alfaguara (Mexico City, Mexico), 2003.
Also author of Holy Place & Birthday: Two Novellas, Farrar, Straus (New York, NY).
Los días enmascarados (also see below), Los Presentes, 1954.
Cantar de ciegos (also see below), Mortiz, 1964.
Poemas de amor: Cuentos del alma, Imp. E. Cruces (Madrid, Spain), 1971.
Chac Mool y otros cuentos, Salvat, 1973.
Agua quemada (anthology), Fondo de Cultura Economica (Mexico City, Mexico), 1981, translation by Margaret Sayers Peden published as Burnt Water, Farrar, Straus (New York, NY), 1980.
Constancia y otras novelas para vírgenes, Mondadori (Madrid, Spain), 1989, translation by Thomas Christensen published as Constancia and Other Stories for Virgins, Farrar, Straus (New York, NY), 1989.
Inquieta compañía, (title means "Uneasy Company"), Alfaguara (Mexico City, Mexico), 2004.
Todos los gatos son pardos (also see below), Siglo XXI, 1970.
El tuerto es rey (also see below; produced in French in 1970), Mortiz, 1970.
Los reinos originarios (contains Todos los gatos son pardos and El tuerto es rey), Seix Barral (Barcelona, Spain), 1971.
Orquídeas a la luz de la luna (produced in English as Orchids in the Moonlight at American Repertory Theater in Cambridge, MA, 1982), Seix Barral (Barcelona, Spain), 1982.
The Argument of Latin America: Words for North Americans, Radical Education Project, 1963.
(Contributor) Whither Latin America? (political articles), Monthly Review Press, 1963.
París: La revolución de mayo, Era, 1968.
La nueva novela hispanoamericana, Mortiz, 1969.
(Contributor) El mundo de José Luis Cuevas, Tudor (Mexico City, Mexico), 1969.
Casa con dos puertas (title means "House with Two Doors"), Mortiz, 1970.
Tiempo mexicano (title means "Mexican Time"), Mortiz, 1971.
Cervantes; o, La crítica de la lectura, Mortiz, 1976, translation published as Don Quixote; or, The Critique of Reading, Institute of Latin American Studies, University of Texas at Austin (Austin, TX), 1976.
On Human Rights: A Speech, Somesuch Press (Dallas, TX), 1984.
Latin America: At War with the Past, CBC Enterprises, 1985.
Myself with Others: Selected Essays, Farrar, Straus (New York, NY), 1988.
Buried Mirror: Reflections on Spain in the New World, Houghton Mifflin (Boston, MA), 1992.
A New Time for Mexico, Farrar, Straus (New York, NY), 1996.
El Espejo Enterrado, Alfaguara (Mexico City, Mexico), 2001.
En esto creo, Seix Barral (Barcelona, Spain), 2002, translation by Kristina Cordero published as This I Believe: An A to Z of a Life, Random House (New York, New York), 2005.
Carlos Fuentes: viendo visions, Fondo de Cultura Económica (Mexico City, Mexico), 2003.
(Editor and author of prologue) Octavio Paz, Los signos en rotacion, y otros ensayos, Alianza, 1971.
Cuerpos y ofrendas (anthology; includes selections from Los días enmascarados, Cantar de ciegos, Aura, and Terra Nostra,) introduction by Octavio Paz, Alianza, 1972.
(Author of introduction) Milan Kundera, La vida está en otra parte (Spanish translation of Life Is Elsewhere), Seix Barral (Barcelona, Spain), 1977.
(Author of introduction) Omar Cabezas, Fire from the Mountain, Crown (New York, NY), 1988.
Valiente Mundo Nuevo, Fondo de Cultura Economica (Mexico City, Mexico), 1990.
The Campaign, Farrar, Straus (New York, NY), 1991.
Geografía de la novela, Fondo de Cultura Economica (Mexico City, Mexico), 1993.
El naranjo, o los circulos del tiempo, Alfaguara (Mexico City, Mexico), 1993.
The Orange Tree, introduction by Mac Adam, Farrar, Straus (New York, NY), 1994.
The Writings of Carlos Fuentes, edited by Raymond L. Williams, University of Texas Press (Austin, TX), 1996.
Los cinco soles de México: Memoria de un milenio, Seix Barral (Barcelona, Spain), 2000.
(Author of introduction) Michael L. Sand, editor, Witnesses of Time, photographs by Flor Garduno, Aperture Foundation (New York, NY), 2000.
Contributor to Juan Rulfo: México, Lunwerg Editores (Barcelona, Spain), 2001, translation by Margaret Sayers Peden published as Juan Rulfo's Mexico, Smithsonian Institution Press, 2002, and Nudes/Desnudos: The photographs of Manuel Alvarez, edited by Ariadne Kimberly Huque, Distributed Art Publishers (New York, NY), 2002. Collaborator on several film scripts, including Pedro Paramo, 1966, Tiempo de morir, 1966, and Los caifanes, 1967. Work represented in numerous anthologies, including Antología de cuentos hispanoamericanos, Nueva Decada (Costa Rica), 1985. Contributor to periodicals in the United States, Mexico, and France, including New York Times, Washington Post, and Los Angeles Times. Founding editor, Revista Mexicana de Literatura, 1954-58; coeditor, El Espectador, 1959-61, Siempre, 1960, and Politica, 1960.
ADAPTATIONS: Two short stories from Cantar de ciegos were made into films in the mid-1960s; The Old Gringo was adapted into a film of the same title by Fonda Films, 1989.
WORK IN PROGRESS: A novel about the assassination of Emiliano Zapata.
SIDELIGHTS: "Carlos Fuentes," stated Robert Maurer in Saturday Review, is "without doubt one of Mexico's two or three greatest novelists." He is part of a group of Latin American writers whose writings, according to Alistair Reid's New Yorker essay, "formed the background of the Boom," a literary phenomenon Reid described as a period in the 1960s when "a sudden surge of hitherto unheard-of writers from Latin America began to be felt among [U.S.] readers." Fuentes, however, is singled out from among the other writers of the Boom in José Donoso's autobiographical account, The Boom in Spanish American Literature: A Personal History, in which the Chilean novelist called Fuentes "the first active and conscious agent of the internationalization of the Spanish American novel." Since the 1960s, Fuentes has continued his international influence in the literary world; his 1985 novel, The Old Gringo, for example, was the first written by a Mexican to ever appear on the New York Times best-seller list.
Although, as Donoso observed, early worldwide acceptance of Fuentes's novels contributed to the internationalization of Latin American literature, his work is an exploration of the culture and history of one nation, his native Mexico. Critics note the thematic presence of Mexico in nearly all Fuentes's writing. Robert Coover commented in the New York Times Book Review that in The Death of Artemio Cruz, for instance, Fuentes delineated "in the retrospective details of one man's life the essence of the post-Revolutionary history of all Mexico." Mexico is also present in Fuentes's novel Terra Nostra, in which, according to Washington Post Book World contributor Larry Rohter, "Fuentes probes more deeply into the origins of Mexico—and what it means to be a Mexican—than ever before." Old Gringo, published more than twenty years after The Death of Artemio Cruz, returns to the same theme as it explores Mexico's relationship with its northern neighbor, the United States.
Fuentes explained his preoccupation with Mexico, and particularly with Mexican history, in a Paris Review interview. "Pablo Neruda used to say," he told Alfred MacAdam and Charles Ruas, "that every Latin American writer goes around dragging a heavy body, the body of his people, of his past, of his national history. We have to assimilate the enormous weight of our past so that we will not forget what gives us life. If you forget your past, you die." Fuentes also noted that the development of the same theme in his novels unifies them so that they may be considered part of the same work. The author observed in the same interview, "In a sense my novels are one book with many chapters: Where the Air Is Clear is the biography of Mexico City; The Death of Artemio Cruz deals with an individual in that city; [and] A Change of Skin is that city, that society, facing the world, coming to grips with the fact that it is part of civilization and that there is a world outside that intrudes into Mexico."
Along with thematic unity, another characteristic of Fuentes's work is his innovative narrative style. In a New Yorker review, Anthony West compared the novelist's technique to "a rapid cinematic movement that cuts nervously from one character to another." Evan Connell stated in the New York Times Book Review that Fuentes's "narrative style—with few exceptions—relies on the interruption and juxtaposition of different kinds of awareness." Reviewers Donald Yates and Karen Hardy also commented on Fuentes's experimental style. In the Washington Post Book World, Yates called Fuentes "a tireless experimenter with narrative techniques and points of view." In Hispania, Hardy noted that in Fuentes's work "the complexities of a human or national personality are evoked through . . . elaborate narrative devices."
The Death of Artemio Cruz and Terra Nostra are especially good examples of his experimental techniques. The first novel deals with a corrupt Mexican millionaire who, on his deathbed, relives his life in a series of flashbacks. In the novel Fuentes uses three separate narrations to tell the story, and for each of these he uses a different narrator. New York Review of Books contributor A. Alvarez explained the three-part narration of the novel: "Cruz's story is told in three persons. 'I' is the old man dying on his bed; 'you' is a slightly vatic, 'experimental' projection of his potentialities into an unspecified future.... 'he' is the real hero, the man whose history emerges bit by bit from incidents shuffled around from his seventy-one years." In John S. Brushwood's Mexico in Its Novel: A Nation's Search for Identity, the critic praised Fuentes's technique, commenting: "The changing narrative viewpoint is extremely effective, providing a clarity that could not have been accomplished any other way. I doubt that there is anywhere in fiction a character whose wholeness is more apparent than in the case of Artemio Cruz."
Coover observed that in Terra Nostra, Fuentes once again uses a variety of narrators to tell his story. Commenting favorably on Fuentes's use of the "you" narrative voice in the novel, Coover wrote: "Fuentes's second person [narration] is not one overheard on a stage: the book itself, rather than the author or a character, becomes the speaker, the reader or listener a character, or several characters in succession." Spanish novelist Juan Goytisolo similarly stated in Review: "One of the most striking and most successful devices [in Terra Nostra] is the abrupt shift in narrative point of view (at times without the unwary reader's even noticing), passing from first-person narration to second . . . and simultaneously rendering objective and subjective reality in one and the same passage with patent scorn for the rules of discourse that ordinarily govern expository prose." In the Paris Review, Fuentes commented on his use of the second person narrative, calling it "the voice poets have always used and that novelists also have a right to use."
Fuentes's use of the second person narrative and other experimental techniques makes his novels extremely complex. In a New York Times Book Review interview with Frank MacShane concerning the structure of Terra Nostra, Fuentes described the intricacy of the work: "My chief stylistic device in Terra Nostra is to follow every statement by a counter statement and every image by its opposite." This deliberate duplicity by the author, along with the extensive scope of the novel, caused some reviewers to criticize Terra Nostra for being inaccessible to the average reader. Maurer, for instance, called the novel "a huge, sprawling, exuberant, mysterious, almost unimaginably dense work of 800 pages, covering events on three continents from the creation of man in Genesis to the dawn of the twenty-first century," and added that "Terra Nostra presents a common reader with enormous problems simply of understanding what is going on." Newsweek's Peter S. Prescott noted: "To talk about [Terra Nostra] at all we must return constantly to five words: excess, surreal, baroque, masterpiece, [and] unreadable."
Other critics, however, have written more positive reviews, seeing Terra Nostra and other Fuentes works as necessarily complex. Village Voice contributor Jonah Raskin found Fuentes is at his best when the novelist can "plunge readers into the hidden recesses of his characters' minds and at the same time allow language to pile up around their heads in thick drifts, until they feel lost in a blizzard of words that enables them to see, to feel, in a revolutionary way." Fuentes also defended the difficulty of his works in a Washington Post interview with Charles Truehart. Recalling his conversation with Fuentes, Truehart quoted him as saying: "I believe in books that do not go to a readymade public....I'm looking for readers I would like to make. ...To win them . . . to create readers rather than to give something that readers are expecting. That would bore me to death."
In 1992 Fuentes produced The Buried Mirror: Reflections on Spain in the New World, a historical work that discusses the formation and development of the Latin American world. The title refers to polished rocks found in the tombs of ancient Mediterranean and Amerindian peoples, presaging, in Fuentes's view, the convergence of these distant cultures. Fuentes wrote that his book is "dedicated to a search for the cultural continuity that can inform and transcend the economic and political destiny and fragmentation of the Hispanic world." Attempting to disentangle the complex legacy of Spanish settlement in the New World, Fuentes first addresses the mixed ethnicity of the Spanish conquerors, whose progeny include Celts, Phoenicians, Greeks, Romans, Arabs, and Jews, and the consequent diversity produced in Latin America through war, colonization, and miscegenation.
Praising Fuentes's intriguing though broad subject, Nicolas Shumway wrote in the New York Times Book Review, "The range of the book is both its principal defect and its chief virtue. Beginning with the prehistoric cave paintings at Altamira in Spain and ending with contemporary street art in East Los Angeles, Mr. Fuentes seeks to cover all of Spanish and Spanish-American history, with frequent digressions on a particular artist, political figure, novel or painting." The Buried Mirror, according to David Ewing Duncan in a Washington Post Book World review, is "invigorated by the novelist's sense of irony, paradox and sensuality. Here is a civilization, he says, that defies whatever stereotypes we may hold, a society at once erotic and puritanical, cruel and humane, legalistic and corrupt, energetic and sad." Guy Garcia noted in Time that the book "represents an intellectual homecoming for Fuentes, who conceived of the project as 'a fantastic opportunity to write my own cultural biography.'"
Four years later Fuentes followed with A New Time for Mexico, a collection of essays on the internal injustice and international indignity suffered by Mexico. Viewed as a sequel to his 1971 publication, Tiempo mexicano (translated as "Mexican Time"), Fuentes addresses current events in his native country, including political reform, the Chiapas rebellion, social inequities, and the significance of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) for Mexico and its perception in the United States. Though noting the bias of Fuentes's strong nationalism, Roderic A. Camp maintained in Library Journal that his "brief cultural vignettes" are "appealing and insightful." A Publishers Weekly reviewer commended Fuentes's "lapidary, lyrical meditations on Mexico as a land of continual metamorphosis."
The Orange Tree offers five novellas whose subjects span several centuries, each connected by the image of the orange. For Fuentes the orange tree signifies the possibilities of beauty, sustenance, transplantation, and rejuvenation. Its seeds were introduced to Spain through Roman and Moorish invaders, reached the New World with the conquistadors, and have flourished since. Fuentes illustrates various manifestations of violence, deception, and suffering by recounting episodes from the conquest of Roman Iberia and Mexico, a contemporary corporate takeover, and the death wish of an American actor.
"In all this intercourse between Old World and New, Rome and Africa and Spain, past and present," Alan Cheuse wrote in Chicago's Tribune Books, "Fuentes makes the older material resonate with all of the exotic and yet familiar attraction of compelling human behavior." Michael Kerrigan praised the work in a Times Literary Supplement review, noting that "The challenge and opportunity The Orange Tree presents its reader are those of escaping from 'a more or less protected individuality' into a wider existence of multiple possibility and a cyclical history that holds past and present in simultaneity and in ceaseless renewal." Kerrigan concluded, "What strikes the reader first in Fuentes' work may be his erudition and intellectual rigour, but what remains in the mind is his sympathy, his concern to commemorate the countless lives sacrificed in pain and obscurity so that we might live."
In 1995 Fuentes published Diana, the Goddess Who Hunts Alone, a semi-autobiographical novel that follows a love affair between an unnamed, married Mexican novelist and an American film actress, Diana Soren. The fictional romance, however, contains obvious parallels to the author's real-life affair with film actress Jean Seberg. Mirroring actual events surrounding the liaison between Fuentes and Seberg, the writer meets Soren at a New Year's Eve party in 1969 and follows her to a Santiago film location where they enjoy a passionate, albeit brief, relationship. After several months of literary conversation and tenuous intimacy, the self-absorbed writer is abandoned by the unstable actress, who maintains a second relationship via telephone with a Black Panther, and keeps a photograph of her last lover, Clint Eastwood, by her bed.
Though the book received mixed reviews, Rosanne Daryl Thomas observed in Chicago's Tribune Books that the novel reveals "the tensions between imagination, language and reality, between generosity born of love and the profound selfishness often found in artists." Thomas concluded, "Carlos Fuentes takes off the mask of literary creation and reveals a man nakedly possessed by a desperate passion. Then he raises the mask to his face and tells a fascinating, frightening tale of heartbreak."
While Fuentes's innovative use of theme and structure has gained the author an international reputation as a novelist, he believes that only since Terra Nostra has he perfected his craft. "I feel I'm beginning to write the novels I've always wanted to write and didn't know how to write before," he explained to Philip Bennett in a Boston Globe Magazine interview. "There were the novels of youth based on energy, and conceptions derived from energy. Now I have the conceptions I had as a young man, but I can develop them and give them their full value."
Fuentes delivered a narrative history of twentieth-century Mexico and insightful commentary on his country's past in The Years with Laura Díaz. The novel turns on the life story of Laura Díaz, a woman whose passionate nature and dramatic love life place her close to many of the key people and events in recent Mexican history. The story is narrated by Laura's grandson, who has traveled to Detroit to photograph murals by Diego Rivera—paintings that feature Laura's image. As Laura's story unfolds for readers, her interactions provide a way for Fuentes to present discourses on political subjects such as the opposition between fascism and communism. "Fuentes's emotional commitment to his subject shows in the lucidity of the book's underlying intellectual dialogues," commented a Publishers Weekly reviewer, who added that the author animates his commentary "with a learned lyricism that should make this volume one of his most admired and memorable." Some reviewers voiced reservations about The Years with Laura Díaz, finding the book overburdened with social discourse and reflection. Richard Eder, writing in the New York Times Book Review, noted that the heroine was "not much more than an effigy." While acknowledging that the author "writes well of places, ideas, confrontations," Eder felt that "it is characters that defeat him." Emiliana Sandoval, a writer for Knight-Ridder/Tribune News Service, described Laura as frequently "maddeningly opaque, just a pair of eyes through which we look at Mexico." But while warning that The Years with Laura Díaz is "not light reading," Sandoval ultimately recommended it as "evocative and absorbing." And Library Journal contributor Jack Shreve stated, "this fictionalized memoir brilliantly recaptures the turbulent and exciting history of twentieth-century Mexico....This roman fleuve of a novel can hardly fail to entertain and enlighten."
Describing his writing method to Caleb Bach for Americas, Fuentes said, "I work from seven to noon, when I go out on my walk. By then I feel I've said what I want to say and am at peace with myself. I am a Calvinist! That's my rhythm, I go right on through the weekend. When I get tired after three or four weeks, I go off on vacation to the beach, read novels, walk, see other things." Bach commented, "Any reader who has entered the Fuentian realm never fails to be astounded by the spectacular somersaults he makes through time and space, audacious games he plays with fact and fiction, the precarious balancing act he performs."
Part of the genius of Fuentes is his involvement in different worlds and his ability to bring them together. He does not separate art from politics. Officially he was Mexico's ambassador to France in the seventies, but his works have always taken on the role of ambassador as well. Fuentes continued to meditate on Mexico in many of the essays found in En esto creo, published in 2002 and in 2003 with the novel La silla del águila. These books use different genres, but both discuss Mexico's growing pains and its place in the world. In an article for Financial Times, John Authers and Sara Silver characterized La silla del águila as a "devastatingly accurate futuristic novel of politics," adding that "Fuentes' idea was to use a thriller set in the future to warn about the present. But he worries that his fantasies could turn into prophesies." These worries are not without merit, since some of his visions from Cristóbal Nonato, published in 1989, were quite accurate.
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Authors in the News, Volume 2, Gale (Detroit, MI), 1976.
Brushwood, John S., Mexico in Its Novel: A Nation's Search for Identity, University of Texas Press (Austin, TX), 1966.
Conde Ortega, José Francisco and Arturo Trejo, editors, Carlos Fuentes: 40 años de escritor, Universidad Autónoma Metropolitana (Mexico City, Mexico), 1993.
Contemporary Literary Criticism, Gale (Detroit, MI), Volume 3, 1975, Volume 8, 1978, Volume 10, 1979, Volume 13, 1980, Volume 22, 1982, Volume 41, 1987, Volume 60, 1991.
Dictionary of Hispanic Biography, Gale (Detroit, MI), 1996.
Dictionary of Literary Biography, Volume 113: Modern Latin American Fiction Writers, First Series, Gale (Detroit, MI), 1992.
Donoso, José, The Boom in Spanish American Literature: A Personal History, Columbia University Press (New York, NY), 1977.
Encyclopedia of World Biography, second edition, seventeen volumes, Gale (Detroit, MI), 1998.
Faris, Wendy B., Carlos Fuentes, Frederick Ungar (New York, NY), 1983.
Feijoo, Gladys, Lo fantástico en los relatos de Carlos Fuentes: aproximación teórica, Senda Nueva de Ediciones (New York, NY), 1985.
García-Gutiérrez, Georgina, editor, Carlos Fuentes desde la crítica, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (Mexico City, Mexico), 2001.
García Núñez, Fernando, Fabulación de la fe: Carlos Fuentes, Universidad Veracruzana (Xalapa, Mexico), 1989.
González, Alfonso, Carlos Fuentes; Life, Work, and Criticism, York Press (Fredericton, New Brunswick, Canada), 1987.
Helmuth, Chalene, The Postmodern Fuentes, Associated University Press (Cranbury, NJ), 1997.
Herández de López, Ana María, La obra de Carlos Fuentes: una visíòn múltiple, Pliegos (Madrid, Spain), 1988.
Hispanic Literature Criticism, Gale (Detroit, MI), 1994.
Ibsen, Kristine, Author, Text, and Reader in the Novels of Carlos Fuentes, P. Lang (New York, NY), 1993.
Lindstrom, Naomi, Twentieth-Century Spanish American Fiction, University of Texas Press (Austin, TX), 1994.
Ordiz, Francisco Javier, El mito en la obra de Carlos Fuentes, Universidad de León (León, Spain), 1987.
Plimpton, George, editor, Writers at Work: The Paris Review Interviews, Sixth Series, Penguin, 1984.
Short Story Criticism, Volume 24, Gale (Detroit, MI), 1997.
Van Delden, Maarten, Carlos Fuentes, Mexico and Modernity, Vanderbilt University Press (Nashville, TN), 1998.
Williams, Raymond Leslie, The Writings of Carlos Fuentes, University of Texas Press (Austin, TX), 1996.
World Literature Criticism, Gale (Detroit, MI), 1992.
Americas (English edition), April, 2000, Caleb Bach, "Time to Imagine," p. 22; January-February 2002, Barbara Mujica, review of Instinto de Inez, p. 62.
Antioch Review, winter, 1998, review of A New Time for Mexico, p. 114.
Book, May-June 2002, Beth Kephart, review of Inez, p. 77.
Booklist, September 1, 2000, Veronica Scrol, review of The Years with Laura Díaz, p. 6; November 1, 2000, Brad Hooper, review of The Vintage Book of Latin American Short Stories, p. 519; April 1, 2002, Donna Seaman, review of Inez, p. 1283.
Boston Globe Magazine, September 9, 1984.
Financial Times, July 1, 2004, John Authers and Sara Silver, "A visionary approach: Mexican writer and democrat Carlos Fuentes' cautionary writing has a knack of predicting his country's political future," p. 26.
Foreign Policy, March-April, 2004, Christopher Dominguez Michael, "Mexico's former future," pp. 84-85.
Hispania, May, 1978.
Hispanic, June, 1998, review of The Crystal Frontier, p. 70.
Journal of Latin American Studies, Amit Thakkar, review of Juan Rulfo's Mexico, pp. 393-394.
Kirkus Reviews, April 15, 1996, p. 575; September 1, 1997, review of The Crystal Frontier, p. 1328; April 1, 2002, review of Inez, p. 441.
Knight-Ridder/Tribune News Service, November 15, 2000, Emiliana Sandoval, review of The Years with Laura Díaz, p. K24.
Library Journal, January, 1994, p. 96; January, 1995, p. 77; January, 1996, p. 81; May 1, 1996, p. 112; August, 1997, review of The Crystal Frontier, p. 137; July, 1999, review of Los Años con Laura Díaz, p. 76; October 1, 2000, Jack Shreve, review of The Years with Laura Díaz, p. 147; August, 2001, David Garza, review of Instinto de Inez, p. S33, Isabel Cuadrado, review of Los cinco soles de México: Memoria de un milenio, p. S48; May 15, 2002, Barbara Hoffert, review of Inez, p. 124.
London Review of Books, May 10, 1990, p. 26.
Los Angeles Times Book Review, April 10, 1994, p. 6; October 26, 1997, review of The Crystal Frontier, p. 9; December 14, 1997, review of The Crystal Frontier, p. 4.
Nation, February 17, 1992, p. 205.
New Perspectives, spring, 1994, p. 54.
New Statesman, August 26, 1994, p. 37; September 29, 1995, p. 57; July 17, 1998, review of The Crystal Frontier, p. 46.
Newsweek, November 1, 1976.
Newsweek International, May 17, 2004, Scott Johnson "Carlos Fuentes: A Tropical Stalinism," p. 72.
New Yorker, March 4, 1961; January 26, 1981; February 24, 1986; November 3, 1997, review of The Crystal Frontier, p. 109.
New York Review of Books, June 11, 1964.
New York Times Book Review, November 7, 1976; October 19, 1980; October 27, 1985, Earl Shorris, review of The Old Gringo, p. 1; October 6, 1991, p. 3; April 26, 1992, p. 9; October 22, 1995, p. 12; October 26, 1997, review of The Crystal Frontier, p. 20; December 7, 1997, review of The Crystal Frontier, p. 60; December 20, 1998, review of The Crystal Frontier, p. 28; November 12, 2000, Richard Eder, review of The Years with Laura Díaz, p. 8.
Observer (London, England), April 1, 1990, p. 67; November 28, 1999, review of The Picador Book of Latin American Stories, p. 14.
Paris Review, winter, 1981.
Publishers Weekly, April 15, 1996, p. 55; August 11, 1997, review of The Crystal Frontier, p. 381; November 10, 1997, review of A New Time for Mexico, p. 71; September 18, 2000, review of The Years with Laura Díaz, p. 85; November 6, 2000, "December Publications," p. 72; May 6, 2002, review of Inez, p. 35.
Review, winter, 1976.
Review of Contemporary Fiction, spring, 2001, Steve Tomasula, review of The Years with Laura Díaz, p. 191; fall, 2002, Christopher Paddock, review of Inez, p. 165.
Saturday Review, October 30, 1976.
School Library Journal, September, 2001, David Garza, "Inez's Instinct," p. 533; June, 2003, Bruce Jensen, review of The Seat of Power, p. SS36.
Time, June 29, 1992, p. 78.
Time for Kids, September 20, 2001, Ronald Buchanan, "Telling Mexico's story: Author Carlos Fuentes shares his unique view of Mexico with the world through his books, plays, stories and essays," p. 6.
Times Literary Supplement, June 10, 1994, p. 23; September 29, 1995, p. 27; February 20, 1998, review of A New Time for Mexico, p. 27; June 5, 1998, review of The Crystal Frontier, p. 24.
Translation Review Supplement, July, 1997, review of A New Time for Mexico, p. 14, review of Diana: The Goddess Who Hunts Alone, p. 38.
Tribune Books (Chicago, IL), April 19, 1992; April 11, 1994, p. 6; December 17, 1995, p. 3.
Village Voice, January 28, 1981; April 1, 1986.
Washington Post, May 5, 1988.
Washington Post Book World, October 26, 1976; January 14, 1979; March 29, 1992; October 19, 1997, review of The Crystal Frontier: A Novel in Nine Stories, p. 1.
World Literature Today, autumn, 1994, p. 794; spring, 1997, review of La Frontera de Cristal, p. 354.
Center for Book Culture Web site,http://www.centerforbookculture.org/(August 2, 2004), Debra A. Castillo, "Travailing Time: An Interview with Carlos Fuentes."
Librynth Web site, http://www.themodernworld.com (August 2, 2004), biography of Carlos Fuentes.
Mexico Connect Web site,http://www.mexconnect.com (1999), Jim Tuck, "Rebel, Internationalist, Establishmentarian: The Meadering Road of Carlos Fuentes."
Speakers Worldwide Web site,http://www.speakersworldwide.com (2000), biography of Carlos Fuentes.*