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The Death of Artemio Cruz (FSG Classics) Paperback – 3 Feb 2009

4.4 out of 5 stars 9 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 307 pages
  • Publisher: Farrar Straus Giroux (3 Feb. 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0374531803
  • ISBN-13: 978-0374531805
  • Product Dimensions: 13.9 x 2.1 x 20.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 154,655 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

This is more than a retranslation of a masterpiece. It amounts to a restoration: here is the magnificent book that Fuentes wrote originally, superbly rendered by Alfred Mac Adam into an English version that precisely meshes with Fuentes's Spanish.--Douglas Day

Carlos Fuentes is perhaps the only living Latin-American writer who has it in him to do for his country what Euclides da Cunha did for Brazil in "Os Sertoes," and to make the passion of the land's rebirth and repossession comprehensible to the outsider.--Anthony West "The New Yorker "

Remarkable, in the scope of the human drama it pictures, the corrosive satire and sharp dialogue.--Mildred Adams "The New York Times Book Review "

This is more than a retranslation of a masterpiece. It amounts to a restoration: here is the magnificent book that Fuentes wrote originally, superbly rendered by Alfred Mac Adam into an English version that precisely meshes with Fuentes's Spanish. Douglas Day

Carlos Fuentes is perhaps the only living Latin-American writer who has it in him to do for his country what Euclides da Cunha did for Brazil in "Os Sertoes," and to make the passion of the land's rebirth and repossession comprehensible to the outsider. Anthony West, "The New Yorker"

Remarkable, in the scope of the human drama it pictures, the corrosive satire and sharp dialogue. Mildred Adams, "The New York Times Book Review""

About the Author

Carlos Fuentes (1928-2012) was one of the most influential and celebrated voices in Latin American literature. He was the author of 24 novels, including "Aura," "The Old Gringo" and "Terra Nostra," and also wrote numerous plays, short stories, and essays. He received the 1987 Cervantes Prize, the Spanish-speaking world's highest literary honor.

Fuentes was born in Panama City, the son of Mexican parents, and moved to Mexico as a teenager. He served as an ambassador to England and France, and taught at universities including Harvard, Princeton, Brown and Columbia. He died in Mexico City in 2012.


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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Carlos Fuentes tells not just the life of a man, but he tells of the life of Mexico. Within the swirling text the reader is drawn from the death of Cruz to his birth, and we learn more than just his story. It is captivating. The story made me cry, it made me hate the protagonist, and in the end, it made me understand and love him. Truly one of the best books I've ever read. It is the type of story that the deeper you go, the more you feel your mind racing ahead to find the answers Fuentes is teasing you with.
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Format: Paperback
If you have any desire to write a piece of fiction then this is a book you have to read. You want to write in 1st, 2nd, or 3rd person? Fuentes employs all three within a single novel and makes it work. You want to learn how to manipulate the elements of time and space to create an experiential effect for a reader? Using mere words? Even through a translation, Fuentes can show you that it can be done.
Any analysis will not do this work justice. If you believe that the ultimate function of great fiction writing is to find a way to somehow transcend the limits of the written word, to give the reader an experience that defies material explanation, then Fuentes is the writer for you. You will forget your structuralist, post-structuralist, deconstructionist, and post-modernist theoretical follies and consider yourself nearly a formalist after this book. You may even be able to read a T. S. Eliot essay without throwing up. This book will change you. If you like to pretend you are a writer, YOU HAVE TO GET THIS BOOK!
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Format: Paperback
...as well as an incisive depiction of the universal human condition. I first read this book 25 years ago, when I was half a world away from Mexico. Figured it merited a re-read now that I am only 250 miles from the murderous violence that is Juarez, now, alas, light years away from Dylan's "Tom Thumb's Blues."

Carlos Fuentes is the essential Mexican writer, and I do consider this his best work. It was first published in Spanish in 1962 and dedicated to C. Wright Mills, of The Power Elite; LISTEN, YANKEE - The Revolution in Cuba and others, and who died in that same year. He called Mills the "true voice of North America" and the "friend and comrade in the Latin-American struggle."

The novel commences with the protagonist, Artemio Cruz, on his death bed. The year is 1959. Cruz was born in the late 19th century. Fuentes tells the story of Cruz, against the background of the story of Mexico itself, in a series of chapters with varying dates over that period, and Fuentes also uses flashbacks from the death bed. In one chapter the author even manages to reach back to the beginning of the 19th century, and briefly covers French rule in the middle of that century. There is the perennial political instability and fighting; with an old elite landowner class being wiped out, and a new class of "revolutionaries" quickly replicating the old class, much as Orwell depicted in Animal Farm: A Fairy Story.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I've read much by other reviewers on this book and a lot seems to focus on it's changes of person, tense and sense. I enjoyed the book immensely, not just for what it is but also for what it represents and also for the debate that it always raises.
I have no problem with the change in viewpoint - from 'I' to 'You' to 'He' - in fact I really enjoyed this chimerical form of being able to say 'look, this is a different viewpoint'. I found this to be really Joycean - or possibly even more like Joyce's compatriot Beckett. I love that sense of dislocation whereby you have to read the novel like stream of consciousness. But Fuentes is neither Joyce nor Beckett (maybe more Beckett-like as he is really trying to make people think without resorting to the tell-mode).
There are so many debates within this book. Debates about 'the revolution', debate between young and old Mexico without even going into the narrative that makes up this book.
Fuentes is a master of conveying things without the reader being aware that he is being worked on. I would sincerely urge those that failed to make it with this book to give it another try, to loosen up your mind and let the book flow over you. It is an excellent piece of work and probably the best example I have read of new Latin American magical.

Please read the book. Apart from Pedro Paramo it is probably the most enjoyable book I have read from Mexico and certainly the deepest within the new Latin American mystical realism group. Onward to Arltt.
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By jacr100 VINE VOICE on 23 Dec. 2012
Format: Paperback
An ageing and ill-at-heart Cruz lies bedridden, surrounded by his family and business associates. They hanker for his will and disclosure on how he plans to divide his large business interests/estate, while the hero himself is content to reflect on his life gone by (while also having a joke at his brethren's expense).

Cruz is a newspaper magnate and political powerhouse who has risen from nothing to become a one-man industry. Needless to say he hasn't always abided by the rules along the way, and it is the dirt and filth that he has been privy to that drives the tale. Fuentes divides the book into periods of time, each one instrumental in shaping the Cruz we have lying in bed. Jumping from the Mexican civil war, to the closing of a business deal, to the dangerous machinations of politics, Fuentes is able (as many others have pointed out) to tell the tale of modern Mexico through the eyes of a single man. Towards the end of each chapter the action returns back to the present day Cruz and his battle with a decaying body. These are not as exciting or as necessary as the "action" but they do allow Fuentes to showcase another style of writing.

Like many key novels of the Latin American Boom, modernism is evident. There are multiple narrators (with very often little to discern between the competing voices) and at times this multiplicity also cuts across two or three time periods within the space of a few lines. The text is not linear and as a result what you read later will change what you read 200 pages prior - thus I can only imagine that this book is an even richer read second time around. You do find yourself carrying around six or seven different versions of Cruz at various points in his life.
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