Individuals such as Mexico s Santa Anna, the peg legged cockfighter who lost the Southwest to President James K Polk s Manifest Destiny or Venezuela s Juan Vicente Gomez, who announced his own death in order to punish those who dared celebrate it or El Salvador s Maximiliano Hernandez Martinez, who fought off scarlet fever by having street lights wrapped in red paper or Bolivia s Enrique Penaranda, of whom his mother said, If I had known that my son was going to be president, I would have taught him to read and write all of them pose tremendous problems for Latin American novelists How to compete with history How to create characters richer, crazier, imaginative than those offered by history Mr Vargas Llosa and I sought an answer by inviting a dozen Latin American authors to write a novella each no than 50 pages per capita on their favorite national tyrant The collective volume would be called Los Padres de las Patrias The Fathers of the Fatherlands , and the French publisher Claude Gallimard took it up instantly Unfortunately, it proved impossible to coordinate the multiple tempos and varied wills of a wide variety of writers who included, if my recall is as good as that of Augusto Roa Bastos character El Supremo, Mr Roa Bastos himself, Argentina s Julio Cortazar, Venezuela s Miguel Otero Silva, Colombia s Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Cuba s Alejo Carpentier, the Dominican Republic s Juan Bosch and Chile s Jose Donoso and Jorge Edwards one of them promised to take on a Bolivian dictator When the project fell through, three of these authors went on to write full length novels of their own Mr Carpentier Reasons of State , Mr Garcia Marquez The Autumn of the Patriarch and Mr Roa Bastos I the Supreme bastard.
El Paso Del Tiempo M S De Treinta A Os Ha Ratificado El Valor Literario De Una Novela La muerte de Artemio Cruz, En La Que El Autor Se Situaba A La Vanguardia De Lo Que Algunos A Os M S Tarde Se Conocer A Como La Nueva Novela HispanoamericanaCarlos Fuentes Sorprendi A Los Cr Ticos Con Una Novela Moderna Y De Enorme Solidez Narrativa Novela De Gran Intensidad Tem Tica, Est Centrada En La Reflexi N Sobre El M Xico Surgido De La Revoluci N, Pero Tambi N Analiza, Con Amargura, Cuestiones Tan Universales Y Permanentes Como La Soledad, El Poder O El Desamor La Mente Del Protagonista Transita Durante Toda La Obra Por La Memoria Y Se Convierte En Un S Mbolo De Salvaci N, Es El Espejo En El Que El Hombre Se Reconoce, El Lugar De Encuentro Con Su Pasado Que Es, A La Vez, Su Futuro You are on your death bed, suffering from an affliction of uncertain causes, Artemio Cruz Surrounded by people you dislike, although they are part of your family, you are drifting from dream to reality, from past to presentTime will exist only in the reconstruction of isolated memory, in the flight of isolated desire, which will be lost once the chance to live is used up, incarnate in this singular individual that you are, a boy, already a moribund old man Your mind is chaotically travelling from a moment in your life to another There is no sense to the order in which you are remembering episodes of your life, both personal and social Past loves, treacheries, escape from poverty and ascent on the wealth scale, history of your losses come in random flashbacks to you And you wake up and listen to fragments of conversation, try to discern gestures or physical traits of the ones around you at present and you are only now seeing the invisible threads connecting your life and your ascent to the development of Mexican revolution and implicitly Mexican history In this random recapitulation of your life, you cling to the memory of people that meant much to you a prostitute who loved you sincerely and not for money and whom you loved than you loved anybody else, your son whom you lost because of the civil war in Spain, your wife Catalina who only meant to take revenge when she married you and so on Going back and forth in time, you keep remembering Regina, the only person who didn t love you for your wealth.
Written in a wonderful narrative style, the story of your life impresses The lyricism and the exceptional beauty of the phrases make the tragedy of your life sharper through antagonizationMidday had barely passed the rays of the sun in decline passed through the root of tropical leaves like water through a sieve, pelting down hard The time of paralyzed branches, when even the river seemed not to flowIt was really not easy to make sense of the disarray that your mind is displaying through Fuentes words, but it was so rewarding when I succeeded in doing so I mentally experienced such wonderfully narrated moments, in spite of their sadness, that I will always remember you like a character who, although highly unlikable, has a certain je ne sais quoi that attracts and stays in your memory alive.
They all say that Fuentes was a genius I now know why.
Carlos Fuentes , americana Castanets Woven Hand Delirium Cordia Fantomas.
It s hard when a good friend recommends a book so highly and you can t come to the party Artemio Cruz, the great Latin American novel I can t see it In synopsis, maybe, it s got everything the genre requires ex revolutionary soldier turned landowner through loveless relationship with big man s daughter becomes corrupt politician and media magnate and reflects, on his death bed, on all the people he s shafted It s the Citizen Kane of Mexico But for all that, to me it doesn t have half the power of Juan Rulfo s Pedro Paramo, which treats of similar themes if less explicitly in a third the space, and if you throw in Rulfo s short stories another 100 pages, still less than Cruz s 300 then I know for damn sure which revolutionary Mexican I ll be siding with Not Carlos Fuentes.
What s good about Artemio Cruz It s got some rip roaring action, some serious drama, mainly in the flashbacks to the Revolution, which take up at least half of the narrative The words seem to fly off Fuentes s pen it moves fast And by the end you re left with an elemental, hard boiled, cartoon like tapestry of revolutionary Mexico that is not dissimilar to a Sergio Leone film, though lacking the soundtrack and the humour, and given an extra heft by its aura of historical accuracy and, yes, passion It s deeply felt, but as if felt by some autistic given to only one strain of feeling some bitter sensualist fixated on thwarted love and evil Which is fine of course we need those books too But it s limited That said, there s some epic sequences here the battle in the ravine and Cruz s subsequent escape into the mine and duel with the rival Colonel springs to mind as the best of them Still, to this reviewer it all seems kind of pat The death bed reflections of a corrupt magnate Yeah, well there d better be a twist in there And maybe that s what Fuentes had in mind with the to me, arbitrary, elementary, mechanical supposedly experimental structure, an unvarying repeated A B C in which A is a third person flashback focussed on Cruz, never omniscient , B is a first person view of the hospital room, and C is some second person inner monologue which seemed like sheer show business to me, unnecessary for anything but establishing Fuentes s avant garde credentials, and dated into the bargain Is it only me who associates the late 60s early 70s with freeform poetic stream of consciousness Doris Lessing s Briefing for a Decent into Hell, another hospital death bed interspersed by flashbacks story, springs to mind Tellingly, the third person occupies by far the most space here, and I for one gritted my teeth through the other sections for the sake of a return to this main body of the story A sample but I look at my fingernails when I reach out to touch my frozen feet which I no longer feel, I look at my brand new blue, blackish fingernails that I ve put on especially to die, ahhh it won t go away, I don t want that blue skin, that skin painted over with lifeless blood, no, no, I don t want it, blue is for other things, blue for the sky, blue for memories, blue for horses that ford rivers, blue for shiny horses and green for the sea, blue for flowers, but not blue for me, no, no, no, ahhh ahhh and I have to lie back because I don t know where to go, how to move, I don t know where to put my arms and the legs I don t feel, I don t know where to look, I don t want to get up any And so on Now, far be it from me to demand that every sentence in a book be beautiful Pedro Paramo, for example, has many sentences that, taken alone, don t make much of an impression at all But they re to the point That above passage, and pages and pages like it, I d just as soon Fuentes had thrown in the trash But you start cutting a big jangled mess like this and you just might find all you have left is a kind of James M Cain wartime potboiler, and I dare say that s not what Fuentes was going for Might have made a better read than this, though Spare me the trimmings.
La muerte de Artemio Cruz The Death of Artemio Cruz, Carlos Fuentes The Death of Artemio Cruz is a novel written in 1962, by Mexican writer Carlos Fuentes It is considered to be a milestone in the Latin American Boom Artemio Cruz, a corrupt soldier, politician, journalist, tycoon, and lover, lies on his deathbed, recalling the shaping events of his life, from the Mexican Revolution through the development of the Institutional Revolutionary Party His family crowds around, pressing him to reveal the location of his will a priest provides extreme unction, angling for a deathbed confession and reconciliation with the Church while Artemio indulges in obscene thoughts about the birth of Jesus his private secretary has come with audiotapes of various corrupt dealings, many with gringo diplomats and speculators Punctuating the sordid record of betrayal is Cruz s awareness of his failing body and his keen attachment to sensual life Finally his thoughts decay into a drawn out death 1986 1364 287 20 1364 373 The book s title is truth in advertising We are at the deathbed of a man 71 years old He reminisces about his life and in the process gives us a mini history of modern Mexico He also tells us in overly medical detail about his pains and symptoms His wife, daughter and son in law are usually by his bedside and he despises all of them.
Like many men who were in war, in his old age he goes back to those events as the most significant in his life In Artemio s case it was episodes during the Mexican Revolution civil war of roughly 1910 1920 where he fought and won on the side of the revolutionaries overthrowing the landed estate owners and other rich people But Artemio lost his idealism and eventually became one of the 1% he helped overthrow He was elected to national politics and promptly used his position to accrue wealth He dealt in railroads and timber and minerals and farmland He bought land outside ever expanding Mexico City He married the daughter of a wealthy land owner and took over his estate He had a son that he encouraged to fight in the Spanish Civil War where the son died His wife ends up hating him for their son s death and for ruining her father s estate The feeling is mutual.
In all his business affairs Artemio felt that an accident of geography had him born on the Mexican side of the border in his heart he belonged on the other side with the Norte Americanos the Donald Trump characters he wheeled and dealed with The book jumps around in time chronologically from past to present and sometimes becomes confusing as we go from 1919, at the time of the fighting, then back to 1913 when he met the love of his life who was killed in the war then to the death of his son in Spain in the 1930 s In the last chapter, 1889, we learn details of his birth and childhood at the end of the bookOf course he had many mistresses along the way and we learn of his relationships with some of these His fantastic wealth is illustrated when we read of his annual New Year s bash for 100 of Mexico s elite at his exquisite mansion Food and singers and waste all around as low paid busboys hustle drinks and cooks slave in the kitchen But all Artemio is left with are memories of the war and of his first love, and the taste of ash.