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Inez [Hardcover]

Carlos Fuentes , Margaret Sayers Peden
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)

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Book Description

3 Mar 2003
In this magical story of love and art, life and death, Carlos Fuentes entwines two narratives: one tells of the passion of orchestra conductor Gabriel Atlan-Ferrara for red-haired Mexican diva, Inez Prada; the other of the first encounter in human history between a man and a woman. Berlioz's music for THE DAMNATION OF FAUST brings Atlan-Ferrar and Inez together, and continues to resound on every page of this haunting work. At the same time, the emergent love of neh-el and ah-nel - the original lovers - reminds us of the Faustian pact of love and death. The link between these two stories is a beautiful crystal seal that belongs to Atlan-Ferrara, who is obsessed by its meaning. Maybe this ancient and seductive object gives its bearer the ability to read unknown languages and hear music of impossible beauty INEZ takes place in two eras, one deeply remote and one perhaps yet to come, but the passions evoked in both transcend the limits of time and space.

Product details

  • Hardcover: 160 pages
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing PLC (3 Mar 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0747562601
  • ISBN-13: 978-0747562603
  • Product Dimensions: 21 x 15 x 2.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,395,361 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


‘A worthy addition to Fuentes' varied but persistently exciting oeuvre’ -- Publishers Weekly

‘It is astonishing that in such a short novel Fuentes can pack such complex reflections’ -- Library Journal

‘Passionate … a paean to music and musical genius, to romantic love … Fuentes is at his inventive best’ -- Newsday --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

About the Author

Carlos Fuentes, Mexico's leading novelist, was born in 1928. He has been his country's ambassador to France and is the author of more than ten novels, including THE DEATH OF ARTEMIO CRUZ, THE OLD GRINGO, DIANA, THE GODDESS WHO HUNTS ALONE, and THE YEARS WITH LAURA DIAZ.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Mesmerising ode to music and passion 29 Mar 2005
This is the first novel that I have read by acclaimed Mexican novelist Carlos Fuentes - and it most certainly won't be the last! I was totally captivated by this work from the very beginning and my interest didn't wane throughout. Fuentes' prose is pure magic: a mix of short, punchy sentences and longer, graceful passages; convincing exchanges between the two protagonists, and language that conveys both the primal elemental nature of music and sex, and the lyrical beauty of high art and romantic love. It obviously follows that Margaret Sayers Peden's translation is absolutely first-rate: at no stage does this feel like a translated work.
The main narrative delivers the reminiscences of Gabriel Atlan-Ferrara as the ninety-three-year-old internationally renowned conductor prepares to direct his last public performance, a production of Hector Berlioz's 'The Damnation of Faust'. Atlan-Ferrara's thoughts turn to his tempestuous relationship with strong-willed, electric-haired diva Inez at the junctures in his long life that their paths intersected. In the process, readers are treated to the maestro's insights regarding music, such as whether it is the highest of the arts, and the relationship of conductor with composer, with orchestra and chorus, and with the concert-going public. 'Inez' will be particularly enjoyed by those with an interest in classical music, though it is not necessary to be au fait with Berlioz's 'Faust' to appreciate the references to the opera throughout Fuentes' work.

A secondary narrative runs through 'Inez', comprising the usually shorter, odd-numbered chapters (other than the first).
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.6 out of 5 stars  9 reviews
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A great novel of the great master 11 May 2003
By asadollah amraee - Published on
Carlos Fuentes has written a brief, poetic elegy to love and classical music in his latest novel, "Inez".I have translated it into farsi and it is released just today,May 10th 2003. It weaves together three tales, a love affair spanning decades between Mexican diva and the famous European conductor Gabriel Atlan-Ferrara, that briefly mirrors the political chaos of the the 20th Century; the other, the love affair of two prehitorian Europeans somewhere along the coast of Ice Age Europe, thousands of years ago,The last one is combination of Damnation of Faust by Hector Berlioz and other classical operas of history.It is under tyhe influence of Maria Calas the Greek diva aca La triviata. This terse tale is among the finest examples of recently published literary prose that I've come across and translated into Farsi.I have tried a lot to find a contact address of Carlos Fuentes but in vain.Please read it and enjoy the Novel and help me with an address of the Mastero.
8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Inez - A Magnificent & Magical Novel 7 Aug 2005
By Jana L. Perskie - Published on
If you're a fan of Carlos Fuentes' early novels, like "Aura" and "The Death of Artemio Cruz," then you are bound to enjoy "Inez," (in Spanish, "Instinto de Inez"). In this, his latest book, after "The Years With Laura Diaz," the author returns to the magical world of fantasy, and to some of his favorite themes: creativity and time.

Gabriel Atlan-Ferrara, a dynamic and celebrated symphony conductor, reflects back on his life, at age 93, and realizes that only death awaits him. These reflections reveal his great passion for one woman, and for music. They also disclose the conductor's view of the world, and destiny, as he confronts death. "El muerto no sabe lo que es la muerte, pero los vivos tampocos" ("The dead don't know what death is, but neither do the living"). The past holds for him the memory of his love for the red-haired, dark eyed Inez. Gabriel has a shimmering glass seal, a mysterious object "sufficient unto itself." This seal might bestow upon its bearer the ability to see past, present and future, to hear music of impossible beauty, and to read unknown languages. The maestro hopes to find, in the crystal seal, the impossible reflection of Inez and a return to a time when they were together - to transcend time, distance and space through their love.

The crystal also provides the link between two intertwining stories - that of Atlan-Ferrara and his memories, and a parallel narrative which records Inez' dreams - a poetic love story telling of the first encounter in human history between a man and a woman. "Inez" is an extraordinary tale which contrasts love and obsession, life and death, male and female.

Alan-Ferrara encountered Mexican opera singer, Inez Prada, three times over the course of his lifetime. The first time was during the 1940 London blitz. This was when he initially heard her sing. In 1949 they met again in Mexico City. She had become a renowned diva. Atlan-Ferrara had moved-up in his career also, and was now one of the world's most important orchestra conductors. Their last meeting took place in London, 1967, when the conductor decided to break all the rules of traditional opera. Each time they met they were performing Berlioz's opera, "The Damnation of Faust." It is "the opera that permits me to travel in time...," Fuentes said in an interview. "It is Berlioz who invents this original dissonance, this extraordinary mystery of the origin of music and the origin of voice."

Fuentes also stated that Alan-Ferrara is "modeled on one of the greatest conductors of the 20th century, the Romanian Sergiu Celibidache." The young Mexican soprano, Inez, Fuentes says was inspired by the legendary Maria Callas.

Margaret Sayers Peden's translation is excellent and captures Fuentes' language as well as any translation could.

Carlos Fuentes, probably Mexico's greatest living writer, is the author of more than twenty books and has received many awards for his accomplishments as a novelist, essayist, and commentator, among them the Cervantes Prize in 1987. Major themes in Fuentes' work are the power of fantasy, national identity, and the promise and failure of the Mexican revolution. Fuentes has frequently been mentioned as a candidate for the Nobel Prize for literature. His father made him read Mexican history when he was a boy, which Fuentes saw as a history of crushing defeats, especially when compared with the United States. "I learned to imagine Mexico before I ever knew Mexico," he once said.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Simple yet rich 18 April 2006
By Enrique Torres - Published on
I've read nearly every book wrtten by Carlos Fuentes and found ths one to be great but not his best. Somewhere between great and mind blowng would be more accurate. I only wish it were longer. Carlos Fuentes , the master story teller never fails to produce works that will stand the test of time as great literary pieces. Written in a short story format the story is nonetheless epic. Fuentes manages to use language to carry you beyond the incidents you are reading about , he opens up your mind to possibilities through his use of passages that are fluid streams of thought. There are several good customer and editorial descriptions of the actual storyline but suffice to say that Fuentes goes out of bounds , beyond the limits and back as he interweaves a story with another, carrying you through a time machine tunnel where the light you see is your own thought process being ignited. His concepts are relatively simple in comparison to some of his other works but there is always so much more to a Fuentes book. This is a book that is best enjoyed read over a short period of time, a few hours, a day or a weekend to become completely engulfed in. I read this over a few hours sessions in the Baja California desert where there were few interruptions or distractions. This is an excellent short book in a long list of great Carlos Fuentes novels. This story is a gripping fantasy and an emotional rollercoaster that is beautifully written, and highly recommended.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Thought provoking, engaging etc... 3 July 2004
By M. J. Smith - Published on
This slim volume is well-described in the editorial reviews; I feel no need to repeat that information. The strength of this novel is in its power to force reflection - on the nature of art (music in general, the role of the musician/conductor in particular), the relationship of human passion to art, and the relationship between man and woman. The first switch in stories, from that of the conductor to the ice age lovers, leaves the reader momentarily baffled. At the first return to the contemporary story, however, the interrelationships become clear. Thereafter, the structure of the novel seems natural. At the novel's end, the reader is left with many unanswered questions which in this case leads to a desire to reread, picking up interrelationships not noticed in the first reading.
This is not a "perfect" book but it is well worth your time.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Fuentes' excellence at the culmination 1 Oct 2012
By Davey Jones - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition
Fuentes achieves in less than novel length what most writers fail to achieve in a lifetime of unending novels. A lifetime of pursuing a single lover and only in old age understanding what loving that individual means. Inez (Ee-ness) consolidates the apogee of the author's writing excellence in an easy, quick-paced read about star-fated love never quite coming to fruition.
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