Carlos Fuentes 1928 - 2012
Carlos Fuentes who passed away last week at the age of 83 left behind a multifaceted legacy that most writers can only dream of. Up until the very day he died, he was an active, larger-than-life presence in the literary, political, social and intellectual life of his native México, and one imagines his influence will still be felt long after the memory of him as a flesh and blood human being is gone.
He was lionized in his own country, but his influence on the literary environment in this one should not be underestimated. It was Fuentes, along with Gabriel García Márquez, Mario Vargas Llosa and Julio Cortázar, who, sometime around 1975, shouldered their way up to that big table in the back of Elaine’s and demanded to be seated.
The literary establishment of the time had gotten pretty insular. Not, I think, from any conscious exclusionary bent, but out of sloth and the three martini lunch. Why bother looking under the proverbial and geographic rock for new talent when Updike, Roth, Oates and a handful of others continued to crank out solid, good-selling, literate novels year after year?
Through force of talent and vision, Fuentes and the others brought great Latin American writing to many folks living and reading North of the Rio Grande who hadn’t imagined there was such a thing. I don’t think it’s overstating their impact to say that their success opened U. S. publishers' eyes to a whole other world and they lead the way for authors from other regions into American bookstores and (occasionally) onto the New York Times bestseller list. Writers like Japan’s Haruki Murakami, India’s Arundhati Roy and Amitav Ghosh, Egypt’s Naguib Mahfouz, Turkey’s Orhan Pamuk and Nigeria’s Chinua Achebe among many others are direct and eminently deserving beneficiaries of the Latin American influx of the 70s and 80s known as El boom.
Materials by Carlos Fuentes at your Harris County Public Library
Fiction in English and Spanish
Aura / Aura
Christopher Unborn / Cristóbal Nonato
Crystal Frontier: A Novel in Nine Stories / La frontera cristal
Destiny and Desire / La voluntad y la fortuna
The Eagle’s Throne / La Silla de Águilar
Happy Families / Todas las familias felices
Inez / Instinto de Inez
The Death of Artemio Cruz / La muerte de Artemio Cruz
The Old Gringo / Gringo viejo
The Orange Tree / El naranjo
Terra Nostra / Terra Nostra
The Years with Laura Diaz / Los años con Laura Diaz