The Los Angeles Times pays tribute to the life of Mexican writer Carlos Fuentes who died Tuesday, March 15, 2013 at the age of 83. Fuentes was a prolific writer who crafted over 30 novels and non-fiction works. He was an outspoken and frequent critic of Mexican politics and government. As the story goes, he told Mexican President Felipe Calderon that the war on drugs would not end until the U.S. acknowledged its part in illicit drug trafficking.
The generation of rebellious, educated Mexican intellectuals who command respect worldwide for their authority, integrity, and pointed commentary are aging. Fuentes was part of the Latin American 1960’s and 1970’s “El Boom” of literary giants including Gabriel Garcia Marquez and Jorge Mario Pedro Vargas Llosa who poked at the failures of social and political idealism and action through their writings.
“He wrote of a post-revolutionary Mexico, where the revolutionaries had become business entrepreneurs and bourgeoisie,” said Homero Aridjis, a prominent Mexican poet and writer who knew Fuentes for decades. “Styling himself after Dickens and Balzac, he wrote novels that formed a kind of ‘Mexican Comedy,’ a deep portrait of Mexican society, economy and politics.”
Fuentes last column for the Mexico City paper, Reforma, appeared on Tuesday, the day he died. In this, he posited why the three candidates for President were taking petty jibes at each other instead of focusing on important issues.
Who is there to step in and carry-on in the great tradition of the Mexican reformists?
Fuentes passing is a reminder about the importance of speaking out for justice and to pay due respect to the great talent that Mexico contributes to the world of art, culture and literature.
Fellow blogger Shannon Pixley Sheppard includes a list of Carlos Fuentes’ works below and writes:
It was the California connection that allowed for my introduction to the writings of Fuentes. The acquaintance came through The Old Gringo, a fictionalized story of the disappearance in Mexico, during the Mexican Revolution, of real life writer and US Civil War veteran, Ambrose Bierce. Following the Civil War, Bierce wound up in California, where he was a contributor to the literary journal, The Argonaut, founded and edited by one of my relatives, about whom, Bierce wrote a typically acerbic epitaph: Here lies Frank Pixley — as usual. So, in my ongoing attempt to unravel some of the mysteries surrounding living and being in Mexico, reading the The Old Gringo was a no-brainer. As The Guardian’s obituary of Carlos Fuentes concludes,
Throughout his life, wherever he lived, Mexico was the centre of Fuentes’s artistic preoccupations. In his late 70s, he provided a typically graphic description of the attraction he felt for his own land: “It’s a very enigmatic country, and that’s a good thing because it keeps us alert, makes us constantly try to decipher the enigma of Mexico, the mystery of Mexico, to understand a country that is very, very baroque, very complicated and full of surprises.”
Carlos Fuentes is not uncontroversial, but you should see for yourself. If you are not familiar with his writings, you might want to visit your local library and checkout a book or two. For those in Oaxaca, the Oaxaca Lending Library has the following titles: