Farewell Carlos Fuentes – you will be greatly missed.
Carlos Fuentes Macías was a Mexican writer and one of the best-known novelists and essayists in the Spanish-speaking world. He has influenced contemporary Latin American literature, and his works have been translated into English and other languages.
When he was 30 years old Fuentes published his first novel, La región más transparente, which became a classic. It was innovative not only for its prose, but also by having Mexico City as its main setting. The novel provides insight into Mexican life, highlighting the mixture of Spanish, indigenous and mestizo, all cohabiting the same geographical area but with different cultures.
The author described himself as a pre-modern writer, using only pens, ink and paper. He asked, “Do words need anything else?” Fuentes mentioned that he detests those authors who from the beginning claim to have a recipe for success. In a speech on his writing process he mentioned that when he starts the writing process he begins by asking, “Who am I writing for?”
He published Las Buenas Conciencias in 1959. This is probably his most accessible novel depicting the privileged middle classes of a medium-sized town, probably modelled on Guanajuato.
His 1960s novels, Aura (1962) and La muerte de Artemio Cruz (1962), are acclaimed for using experimental modern narrative styles (including the second person form) to discuss history, society and identity.
In 1967, during a meeting with Alejo Carpentier, Julio Cortázar and Miguel Otero Silva, Carlos Fuentes launched the project of a series of biographies depicting Latin American caudillos, which would be called Los Padres de la Patria. Although the project was never completed, it provided the base for Alejo Carpentier’s Reasons of State (El recurso del método, 1974) and various other “dictator novels” (novelas del dictador).
Fuentes regularly contributed essays on politics and culture to the Spanish newspaper El País and the Mexican Reforma. He was an observer of Mexico-U.S. relations and critic of the United States’ policies in Latin America. He also wrote Las dos Elenas.
He passed away just a few hours ago.