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Vlad Audio CD – Audiobook, 24 Jul 2012

4.0 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews

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Audio CD, Audiobook, 24 Jul 2012
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--This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
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Product details

  • Audio CD
  • Publisher: Dreamscape Media; Unabridged edition (24 July 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1611207541
  • ISBN-13: 978-1611207545
  • Product Dimensions: 15.3 x 2.9 x 12.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)

Product Description

About the Author

The author of more than a dozen novels and story collections, Carlos Fuentes is Mexico's most celebrated novelist and critic. He has received numerous honors and awards throughout his lifetime, including the Miguel de Cervantes Prize and the Latin Literary Prize. Included among his books are Terra Nostra, Where the Air Is Clear, and Distant Relations. Alejandro Branger is a writer and filmmaker. He lives in New York City. Ethan Shaskan Bumas wrote the story collection The Price of Tea in China, which was a finalist for PEN America West Fiction Book of the Year. He teaches at New Jersey City University. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
A stunning novel that proves conclusively that even the oldest genre archetypes can still be used in new ways. Yves Navarro and his wife Asunción are part of Mexico City's thriving middle class, concerned with status, property, their family's material success... all your typical yuppie obsessions. They're doing well, but Yves' new client, a dispossessed Eastern Europe gentleman, brings with him the promise of reward beyond their wildest dreams.

Vlad is a novel of halves. The first half is about the tension between classes - the new, rootless middle class gazing hungrily at the unattainable status of hereditary nobility. Tangible success vs intangible status. Vlad Dracul taunts and teases Yves and Asuncion, offering them all that they cannot achieve for themselves: immortality, history, privilege. The vampire is also a metaphor (if an obvious one) for colonialism - he's a bloodsucking European, arriving to drain Mexico dry.

The second half is more visceral fare. Mars needz women and Drac wants to get some action. There's a bit of the old Faustian compact buried in here, but mostly Yves is running around like a headless chicken whilst Dracula has his way of things (and people). The conclusion arrives in a suitably squishy fashion. Although the book contains scenes that are slightly stomach-churning, Fuentes makes the point that all of us - fleshy human or lofty immortal - have our physical needs.

This English translation Vlad is out in English from the Dalkey Archives, who also graced it with a stunning cover...
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Nice little story but I was expecting so much more from Fuentes - disappointed it didn't challenge my thinking as I had hoped.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) HASH(0x946d8180) out of 5 stars 19 reviews
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9310930c) out of 5 stars This may not be Fuente's greatest work. but it has the fingerprints of a master all over it. 7 Dec. 2012
By Noovella - Published on
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Fuentes reinvents the Bram Stoker classic in Mexico City, when the count makes the journey from the old country to the new world with a specific goal in mind.

Before he joined the undead, through a ten-year-old girl vampire, he was the fourteen century Romanian ruler, Vlad the Impaler, also known as Dracula. If you don't know Vlad his unspeakable crimes are listed here. And they are not what terrifies you in this well-written short novel filled with graphic imagery.

It is the earnest attorney, Yves Navarro, who is tasked with Vlad's move to Mexico. Dark humor pervades the new tenant's many odd requests such as blackened windows, escape tunnel, and multiple drains.

Yves's domestic life appears tranquil, despite the loss of his eleven-year-old son, who disappeared in the ocean on a beach outing. He and his wife, Asunción, and his little girl live the middle class life. But it is the loss of their son that has opened the door for evil to enter the family.

This tale is more than a horror story; it also reveals the ignorance of ignoring or not noticing problems until it is too late. The reader always knows more than the clueless Yves. The vampire has his eyes on his wife and littler girl.

The book is comical at times with Vlad's fake toupee and mustache, but this novella is truly scary and horrible. Fuentes is an amazing stylist, and the story will creep you out and fill you with terror. This may not be Fuente's greatest work. but it has the fingerprints of a master all over it.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x93dd9768) out of 5 stars Terrifying in its simplicity 12 Oct. 2012
By readlikebreathing - Published on
Format: Hardcover
I think this may be one of my favorite re-imagined versions of Dracula since the original. The book is incredibly short, only about 100 pages as opposed to the Stoker version which is somewhere upwards of 500. But in that incredibly short space of time, Fuentes manages to create a story more chilling than the original. It's a must read for the Halloween season.

The story takes place in present day Mexico city, and though a lot of the story is cut out, the elements that remain are absolutely terrifying. It's the small things that Fuentes kept which helped retain the terror. The creepy aspects of the Count's appearance the main character couldn't explain or rationalize, the terrifying sidekick of the Count's, the oddly sexualized moments the stand in for Harker couldn't contend with, subtle things like the lack of mirrors.

However Fuentes takes it a step further, and in a modern day Dracula's house adds subtle touches that both make the Count seem more technilogically savy, as well as more terrifying. At one point something so gruesome happened I thought I would be sick, but in very much the same way Stoker handles it.

All together I love this book, which is published by the Dalkey Archive Press; An non-profit publisher that operates out the University of Illinois. Definitely go check them out, because they publish a lot of international books like this one that get overlooked by major publishers.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x930683fc) out of 5 stars Tonal problems 17 Dec. 2014
By W. Joe Taylor - Published on
Format: Hardcover
An update of Dracula, with the obligatory, “I don’t drink . . . wine” line. I’ve got to say that I expected more in general of this novel. Though there are creepy moments, about four full pages of second-hand gore—-by second-hand I mean “historical” in relating Vlad’s origins—-provide the bulk of horror. I found those pages and their gore gratuitous. As far as the allegory bit about consumerism that some reviewers found—-I didn’t see it. Lawyers galore, yes, but lawyers gotta eat too, yes? I suppose one of the better creepy parts comes with the ending confrontation between ten-year-old daughter and father: “Daddy, I bet you didn’t know that squirrels’ teeth grow inside until they pierce the top of their heads.” His daughter then stuffs a live squirrel into her panties. This scene is followed rapidly by a confrontation between husband and wife, wherein the wife confesses that she enjoys the dangerous sex with Vlad and is bored with her husband. These concluding pages are mostly fine. The idea of God being “unfinished” like a child is also intriguing. For me, though, it was too little, too late. The novel’s overall problem lies in . . . its overall tone. While there are creepy parts, as mentioned, these parts are not pervasive enough to be atmospheric, much less build. And while the narrator is a naïve doofus, he is not exaggerated enough to form a comic or allegoric platform for the novel. Lastly, while there are fine philosophical and psychological insights, these do not appear with the frequency nor the intensity to involve a reader’s intellectual commitment. Alas.
HASH(0x93109744) out of 5 stars "Be careful. At any moment I might show up and surprise you." 24 Nov. 2013
By Michael J. Ettner - Published on
Format: Hardcover
Count Vladimir Radu of Wallachia -- Vlad the Impaler, scourge of fifteenth-century Central Europe -- comes to contemporary Mexico City to settle down and resume the terrors necessary to sustain his eternal life.

If at first the premise sounds to you like a pitch made by a desperate screenwriter to a bunch of schlock-meister cable network execs, don't be misled. In the hands of a purposeful writer like Carlos Fuentes, an author of broad perspective and fluent literary skills, the conventional story line of vampire genre fiction mutates into a compelling allegory. The result is sly -- and deadly serious.

What Fuentes cares about is the unnervingly wayward state of our moral condition. I suspect he approached the writing of this book as an experiment testing whether, through the aura of the Devil, his message of warning could be freshly conveyed. I, for one, think Fuentes achieved his goal.

From the very start of "Vlad" the Devil's infiltration is felt. Page by page small stitches are added to the story's fabric, new notes of dread harbored in a word, a phrase, a gesture, an observation.

The first chapter introduces us to an aged attorney who heads a politically connected firm where the narrator, also an attorney, is employed. This old "holy terror" is a man of "moral flexibility" who comes from "obscure origins." He has "slithered" from one presidential administration to the next, growing in power while displaying "superficial courtesy and empty praise." He behavior is always accompanied by an "ironic smile." Later, in the fourth of 14 short chapters, when Count Vladimir Radu himself is introduced to us ("All my friends call me Vlad," he says), the narrator's reaction is simply this: "He looked like a ridiculous marionette." This blithe judgment is soon replaced by chilling discoveries about Vlad's mission, with terrible consequences for the narrator, his wife, and his daughter.

It's no surprise that, at bottom, Fuentes is a moralist. He views our day and age as an arena in which it's easy to find ageless signs of evil. "Vlad" shows how evil insinuates itself into the work environment, corrupts professional duties, and sunders the most intimate of family relationships. In every sphere of life, Fuentes wants us to understand, the temptations of the Devil and his minions are here to provoke the fall of men and the malfunctioning of society.

Although the novel is dark, Fuentes does not forget to give expression to his lyrical talents. In the middle of an evening conversation at the decaying mansion of his boss, the narrator pauses to notice how "the light from the burning logs played on our faces like murky remains of sunlight." A tender recollection of the loss of a child is delivered in heart-breaking language. It ends with a cadence: "This absence that is a presence. This silence that seeks voice. This portrait forever trapped in childhood..."

Adding seasoning to the swiftly told story of "Vlad" are Fuentes' signature interests in issues of social class and politics. One theme I found thought-provoking is the notion that honest work is the most effective antidote to evil. Yet as with any such prescription, this guidance comes with bad side effects. I suspect Fuentes, when introducing the idea, may have had in mind the contrary opinion of the Mexican-born early Marxist, Paul Lafargue, who in his 1883 treatise, (The Right to Be Lazy: Essays by Paul Lafargue), declared the work ethic to be a vampire sucking the blood of modern society.

A final mention should be made of the prominence of attorneys in this tale. They -- and by extension the legal system -- are repeated targets of Fuentes' satire ("the lawyer never spoke without a specific ulterior motive"). "Vlad" would make a great gift for your favorite, or better still, the least favorite -- attorney in your life.
2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x931098f4) out of 5 stars An Invigorating Dark Comedy 24 Sept. 2012
By Man of La Book - Published on
Format: Hardcover
Vlad by Car­los Fuentes is a short novel tak­ing place in Mex­ico City, Mex­ico. The story was part of the 2004 col­lec­tion "Inqui­eta Com­pañía" and recently came out as its own book trans­lated by Ale­jan­dro Branger and Ethan Shaskan Bumas

Count Drac­ula, Vlad, has decided to immi­grate toMex­ico after the may­hem inEast­ern Europe and count­less wars have short­ened his blood sup­plies. Vlad has ves­sels inMex­ico who intro­duce him Yves Navarro, a lawyer, and his wife Asun­ción, a real estate agent.

Yves and Asun­ción have lost a son in sea and Vlad entices them with the promise of see­ing their daugh­ter live for­ever, and remain a child eternally.

Vlad by Car­ols Fuentes takes on an inter­est­ing premise, what if Drac­ula still lived and set­tled inMex­ico City. As one might expect, there is a lot of dark humor in this book, start­ing with the strange requests the client is mak­ing of the real estate agent ("remote", "easy to defend") to the client's look which con­sists of a silly wig and glued on mustache.

What I found to be dif­fer­ent in this book is that the reader knows a lot more than the nar­ra­tor. This style of sto­ry­telling invig­o­rates the dark com­edy and brings a sense of omi­nous fore­bod­ing to banal and mean­ing­less lines said by the famous Count.

In this ren­di­tion of the story, Fuentes mar­ries vam­pire and lawyers - both server as ves­sels for unprin­ci­pled lust with­out ethics. As many vam­pire sto­ries do, they let the fan­tasy and myth reflect on our own lives through anec­dotes and metaphors.

While I'm not much for hor­ror and fear, I think this novel is a gem which clearly illus­trates the essence of great writ­ing, char­ac­ter­i­za­tion and flam­boy­ancy which are dif­fi­cult to pull off. The bal­ance between hor­ror and com­edy, debauch­ery and per­son­i­fi­ca­tion are per­fect and the campy, yet sur­real atmos­phere is almost magical.
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