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Hailed as a masterpiece since its publication in 1962, The Death of Artemio Cruz is Carlos Fuentes's haunting voyage into the soul of modern Mexico. Its acknowledged place in Latin American fiction and its appeal to a fresh generation of readers have warranted this new translation by Alfred Mac Adam, translator (with the author) of Fuentes's Christopher Unborn. As in all hi Hailed as a masterpiece since its publication in 1962, The Death of Artemio Cruz is Carlos Fuentes's haunting voyage into the soul of modern Mexico. Its acknowledged place in Latin American fiction and its appeal to a fresh generation of readers have warranted this new translation by Alfred Mac Adam, translator (with the author) of Fuentes's Christopher Unborn. As in all his fiction, but perhaps most powerfully in this book, Fuentes is a passionate guide to the ironies of Mexican history, the burden of its past, and the anguish of its present.


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Hailed as a masterpiece since its publication in 1962, The Death of Artemio Cruz is Carlos Fuentes's haunting voyage into the soul of modern Mexico. Its acknowledged place in Latin American fiction and its appeal to a fresh generation of readers have warranted this new translation by Alfred Mac Adam, translator (with the author) of Fuentes's Christopher Unborn. As in all hi Hailed as a masterpiece since its publication in 1962, The Death of Artemio Cruz is Carlos Fuentes's haunting voyage into the soul of modern Mexico. Its acknowledged place in Latin American fiction and its appeal to a fresh generation of readers have warranted this new translation by Alfred Mac Adam, translator (with the author) of Fuentes's Christopher Unborn. As in all his fiction, but perhaps most powerfully in this book, Fuentes is a passionate guide to the ironies of Mexican history, the burden of its past, and the anguish of its present.

30 review for The Death of Artemio Cruz

  1. 5 out of 5

    Ahmad Sharabiani

    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 rev 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. عنوانها: مرگ آرتیمو کروز؛ مرگ آرتمیو کروز؛ نویسنده: کارلوس فوئنتس؛ تاریخ نخستین خوانش روز بیست و چهارم ماه می سال 1986 میلادی عنوان: مرگ آرتمیو کروز؛ نویسنده: کارلوس فوئنتس؛ مترجم: مهدی سحابی؛ تهران، تندر، 1364؛ در 287ص؛ ترجمه از متن فرانسه؛ عنوان روی جلد مرگ آرتیمو کروز؛ عنوان ثبت شده مرگ آرتمیو کروز؛ موضوع داستانهای نویسندگان آمریکای لاتین مکزیک - سده 20م عنوان: مرگ آرتمیو کروز؛ نویسنده: کارلوس فوئنتس؛ مترجم: مهشید ضرغام؛ تهران، سهروردی، 1364؛ در 373ص؛ ترجمه از متن انگلیسی؛ مرگ آرتمیو کروز، یکی از بهترین نمونه های جریان سیال ذهن، در ادبیات آمریکای لاتین است؛ بخش اعظم رمان، متشکل از گفتار درونی و ذهنی، و شرح حال راوی است؛ ذهن او مدام در رفت و برگشت است، و رخدادهای دوران انقلابیگری و چگونگی فاصله گرفتن او را از آرمانهایش، به تصویر میکشد؛ بخشهایی از رمان، به نقد تفکرات کلیسایی میپردازد، که جستجوی حق و عدالت را، نوعی ناشکری میداند، و میگوید نسبت به آنچه وجود دارد، باید راضی بود، چرا که زندگی کوتاه است، و نباید دنبال افکار بلند پروازانه رفت؛ «کارلوس فوئنتس» در این رمان، ضمن نقد شرایط پس از انقلاب مکزیک، تفکرات محافظه کارانه کلیسایی را نیز، نقد میکند تاریخ بهنگام رسانی 03/04/1399هجری خورشیدی؛ ا. شربیانی

  2. 4 out of 5

    Jim Fonseca

    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 Mexi 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 book Of 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.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Deea

    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 present. “Time… 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 travell 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 present. “Time… 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 more 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 antagonization: “Midday 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 flow.” It 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.

  4. 4 out of 5

    brian

    carlos fuentes is another one of those latin american writers that makes me hate myself. beyond his tremendous skill as a novelist, he's good looking, well dressed, worldly, dashing, daring, and claims to have slept with jean seberg and jeanne moreau. the bastard. and then i come across the article below and all my self-hatred is directed solely at him: the series mentioned would surely be my favorite bunch of books ever written... except they don't exist. "In the fall of 1967 I happened to be i carlos fuentes is another one of those latin american writers that makes me hate myself. beyond his tremendous skill as a novelist, he's good looking, well dressed, worldly, dashing, daring, and claims to have slept with jean seberg and jeanne moreau. the bastard. and then i come across the article below and all my self-hatred is directed solely at him: the series mentioned would surely be my favorite bunch of books ever written... except they don't exist. "In the fall of 1967 I happened to be in London at the same time as the Peruvian novelist Mario Vargas Llosa. We had both read, recently and with admiration, as well as a touch of envy, Edmund Wilson's portraits of the American Civil War in ''Patriotic Gore.'' Sitting in a pub in Hampstead, we thought it would be a good idea to have a comparable book on Latin America. An imaginary portrait gallery immediately stepped forward, demanding incarnation: the Latin American dictators. 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, more 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 more 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.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Ben Winch

    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 p 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 anymore… 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.

  6. 4 out of 5

    El

    I thought the premise of the story sounded interesting - Artemio Cruz (no relation to that other guy named Cruz) is a corrupt... well, everything: politician, soldier, man. He's on his deathbed now, and the story hops around in time to tell his story of each major event of his life, back to the "present" of his deathbed experience. The premise is great, I love the idea of the bouncing around, the storytelling aspect. But the story itself was not always easy to read, and by that I mean the way tha I thought the premise of the story sounded interesting - Artemio Cruz (no relation to that other guy named Cruz) is a corrupt... well, everything: politician, soldier, man. He's on his deathbed now, and the story hops around in time to tell his story of each major event of his life, back to the "present" of his deathbed experience. The premise is great, I love the idea of the bouncing around, the storytelling aspect. But the story itself was not always easy to read, and by that I mean the way that someone once told me they don't read and they consider James Patterson a "hard" author to read, because he's "difficult". Fuentes feels difficult to me to read, and it may very well be because I am not very well-versed in Mexican history, and I feel if I understood more of the historical context, I would have appreciated the story a lot more than I did. This is my own fault, not the fault of the author's. But the reality is, it did mean I didn't understand a lot of the story. I could understand the corruption and much of the personality and relationships between the characters, but there was a distance I felt to the rest of the story that I can't quite put my finger on, but I've been wondering if it's something I'm not particularly able to put my finger on when it comes to a lot of the Latin American Boom authors, such as some of Gabriel Garcí­a Márquez's writing and what I've read by Jorge Luis Borges so far. Again, I don't blame the authors or the culture, because it's my own fault I don't understand the context in which they wrote. I expect a lot of the emotional distance I interpret in the reading is because of that context which is lost on me. Maybe I'll investigate that and then re-read some of these books and authors that didn't affect me as much as I feel they should have.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Judy

    This novel made a huge impression on me. Read as part of my 1962 reading list, it was the original translation by Sam Hileman, Fuentes's translator throughout the 1960s. Artemio Cruz was a fictional impoverished mulatto. In his teens, he ran away to fight in the Mexican Revolution but later betrayed the ideals of that conflict and through sharp dealing became a wealthy and influential financier. Artemio is dying all the way through the novel, but looking back from his sickbed and through the dr This novel made a huge impression on me. Read as part of my 1962 reading list, it was the original translation by Sam Hileman, Fuentes's translator throughout the 1960s. Artemio Cruz was a fictional impoverished mulatto. In his teens, he ran away to fight in the Mexican Revolution but later betrayed the ideals of that conflict and through sharp dealing became a wealthy and influential financier. Artemio is dying all the way through the novel, but looking back from his sickbed and through the dreams and delirium of illness. The author therefore becomes the voice of the man, an artful and successful method of unwritten autobiography put down on the page by another. While still a soldier, Artemio finds his first, his one and only love. Once she dies of a bullet wound, his ideals become diluted by sorrow. The rise to power involves him in a loveless marriage as well as shady dealing with American investors. Like any good mogul, he also buys a newspaper by which he can spin events to his own benefit and influence politicians. Despite the despicable nature of Artemio's life, I came to care about this man. Like many modern novels of today, the time sequence is tangled but creates the effect of a person coming to terms with his life; seeing how his earlier actions influenced later ones; grappling with the tough questions of honor vs power. As a result, Fuentes presented a history of the revolution through the lens of one man's life. Also by means of straight memory, dream states, and the continuous contrast of Artemios's current struggle with his illness, his doctors, and his family, the author draws the reader into all the conflicting ways any person deals with a life. The writing is powerful, somewhat experimental, and I almost did not want the book to end. I turned the last page and wondered who I could read that writes like this today.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Dusty

    The Great Mexican Novel? The Great Novel of the Latin American "Boom" Generation? However you describe La muerte de Artemio Cruz's greatness, you'll need a capital G. The book, which is generally regarded as Carlos Fuentes's best -- I'll resist endorsing that statement now, for I haven't read any other of his fictional works, but I acknowledge it'd be hard to beat -- tells the sinister, obfuscated story of the failure of the Mexican Revolution by way of the sinister, obfuscated character Artemio The Great Mexican Novel? The Great Novel of the Latin American "Boom" Generation? However you describe La muerte de Artemio Cruz's greatness, you'll need a capital G. The book, which is generally regarded as Carlos Fuentes's best -- I'll resist endorsing that statement now, for I haven't read any other of his fictional works, but I acknowledge it'd be hard to beat -- tells the sinister, obfuscated story of the failure of the Mexican Revolution by way of the sinister, obfuscated character Artemio Cruz. A Mexican Charles Foster Kane, a real-life Ebeneezer Scrooge -- Artemio Cruz is not a likable man. He betrays his lovers, comrades and country for his own personal advancement. He treats his family like financial dependents incapable even of the hard work and disciplined thought he demands from his servants and business partners. He hosts New Years Eve parties just so he can invite less wealthy people into his home and be worshipped. Fuentes organizes the book into sections that do not tell the story chronologically but do repeat the same three-part structure: (1) An important moment in Cruz's life is narrated by an omniscient voice, with occasional inserts by other characters. (2) On his deathbed, and in the first person, Cruz reflects upon the events in his life, justifies his treachery, and expresses his contempt for the "well-wishers" gathered at his bedside. And (3) the voice of Fuentes -- or is it the voice of Revolution? -- directly addresses Cruz, drawing the connection between Cruz's abandonment of ideals and his country's overall corrupt state. Of course, this third section, which is written in the second person, reads like the author's direct reproach not just of Artemio Cruz but of us, the audience, too. Another reviewer has said that Cruz may be the least likable character in Latin American literature. Yes, but is he really that different from any of the rest of us? Fuentes, with reference to Baudelaire, says not. Selfish, scornful, and unworthy of any love and redemption -- Artemio Cruz is our twin / our brother.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Alejandro Bravo

    I had to read a book for my high school World Literature class and chose to read this book in particular because it seemed to be interesting. I did not know what to expect from this book because it caught me by surprise. The book starts off with a surprise in use of explicitness , the author Carlos Fuentes use rich imagery and other techniques to catch a reader and keep them focused and reading wanting to read on; though the novel is not simple it helps open up your imagination and think about w I had to read a book for my high school World Literature class and chose to read this book in particular because it seemed to be interesting. I did not know what to expect from this book because it caught me by surprise. The book starts off with a surprise in use of explicitness , the author Carlos Fuentes use rich imagery and other techniques to catch a reader and keep them focused and reading wanting to read on; though the novel is not simple it helps open up your imagination and think about what is occurring. Taking place within the Mexican revolution the main character lives through to see modern Mexico rise and be a part of it all. The novel is of a wealthy high class man Artemio Cruz who is in his death bed, lying there at his last moment there is a crowd of people among him many of which never loved him as he see it but only his wealth. He orders for his only loyal friend Padilla to bring a recorder to record his last spoken words. Then we learn of his life through his memories of his climb of poverty to wealth involving corruption, guilt, disloyalty, and affairs Speaking of his experiences of a crucial disturbing war, erasing all emotions from existence because there he meets the woman he loved and desired to live with the rest of his life but is sadly torn from his emotions in disbelief to find her dead. Through memories he slips in and out from dreaming and reliving to reality on his death bed. The book seems to go in a sequence of events starting from his recent memory to the first memory where he goes back to his birth here the novel ends.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Czarny Pies

    This is unquestionably a great novel about the upwardly mobile middle classes under the PRI (Partido Revolucionario Institucional) during the period from roughly 1900 to 1962. Our protagonist Artemio Cruz is on his death bed refusing to make a confession to his priest as the Catholic Church is one enemy he absolutely refuses to pardon. Cruz had been born into a family of very modest means. The Mexican revolutionary wars from 1911 to 1920 set Cruz onto path that will allow him to become very rich. This is unquestionably a great novel about the upwardly mobile middle classes under the PRI (Partido Revolucionario Institucional) during the period from roughly 1900 to 1962. Our protagonist Artemio Cruz is on his death bed refusing to make a confession to his priest as the Catholic Church is one enemy he absolutely refuses to pardon. Cruz had been born into a family of very modest means. The Mexican revolutionary wars from 1911 to 1920 set Cruz onto path that will allow him to become very rich. He rises through the ranks of the army that will ultimately win. In so doing, he acquires the contacts in government and the ruthlessness that will allow him to become very rich. As he lies dying, he knows that his wife and children consider him to have been a brutal thug. He in turn hates them for their hypocrisy. They want to inherit his money and to be able to say their hands are clean both at the same time. This is an excellent book to read for anyone who wants to understand how the Mexicans see themselves and their history in the first half of the 20th century.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Inderjit Sanghera

    An old man on his death-bed reminisces on his past, with the sepulchral prism of death opening his eyes to the emptiness of his achievements; from his days as a young revolutionary, to his relationship with his wife, to his rise in Mexican society as a newspaper magnate, to his innate sense of violence and domination which shaped his relationship with the wider world, 'The Death of Artemio Cruz' is an exploration of the life of a man who too late realises that the things which he felt gave meani An old man on his death-bed reminisces on his past, with the sepulchral prism of death opening his eyes to the emptiness of his achievements; from his days as a young revolutionary, to his relationship with his wife, to his rise in Mexican society as a newspaper magnate, to his innate sense of violence and domination which shaped his relationship with the wider world, 'The Death of Artemio Cruz' is an exploration of the life of a man who too late realises that the things which he felt gave meaning to his life: power, dominion, money and women, in the end only contributed to the corruption of his own soul, resulting in an act of self-abnegation where Artemio struggles to find out what his life actually meant. Was it the first pangs of love he felt for his wife? The feeling of brotherhood he felt as a revolutionary? Or was it that feeling of belonging, of content and happiness which he felt when was nothing but a poor farm-boy, unwanted scion of a landlord, looked after by his poor mulatto uncle, their life upended by an act of violence which the young Artemio is forced to commit to preserve their happiness but which only ends up in sending his life down a further spiral of violence and hatred. Fuentes mixes a number of different styles into the novel, including both first and third person narratives, constant flashbacks or jumps in time as Artemio's fragmented memory reflects on the events which shaped him and points-of-view chapters from different characters in the novel. All of this contributes to a realistic representation of the slow unravelling of Artemio's mind, as Fuentes explores not just the corruption of a man, but of the ideals of the revolutionary as they supplant the very people they overthrew. 'The Death of Artemio Cruz' is Fuentes's greatest novel where he explores not just the corruption of a single man, but of a nation, a continent and an ideal.  

  12. 5 out of 5

    Joselito Honestly and Brilliantly

    Seventy-one-year-old Artemio Cruz is dying. He is a very rich and powerful man, made ruthless, godless and corrupt by his hard childhood and his soldiering during the Mexican revolution during which he had cheated death several times and had done, and suffered, betrayals. After the revolution, through corrupt wheeling and dealing and use of force for self-aggrandizement he became extremely rich. He now owns vast tracks of land, companies, a newspaper and, by himself, he is a major political play Seventy-one-year-old Artemio Cruz is dying. He is a very rich and powerful man, made ruthless, godless and corrupt by his hard childhood and his soldiering during the Mexican revolution during which he had cheated death several times and had done, and suffered, betrayals. After the revolution, through corrupt wheeling and dealing and use of force for self-aggrandizement he became extremely rich. He now owns vast tracks of land, companies, a newspaper and, by himself, he is a major political player. He has a wife and a daughter whom he hates and whom he knows hate him. His wife blames him for the death of their only son who died fighting in the Spanish civil war, perhaps trying to imitate his father's (fraudulent) heroisms during the Mexican civil war but wasn't able to duplicate his survival. Artemio Cruz loved his son. He had another love: a prostitute, during the civil war, whom he had kidnapped yet learned to fall in love with him. He valued this memory of her because it was a love given to him when he was still a nobody. It is not clear what struck him. Maybe a stroke or cancer or a combination of both. Artemio Cruz hears, recalls and vaguely see images. But he's in pain, can't talk and is immobilized. Maybe because of this premise of the plot, or maybe it is the author's style, that this book seems to be in a state of perpetual delirium, like mutterings of a brilliant poet with a soaring fever, hovering between life and death, describing glimpses of heaven and hell

  13. 4 out of 5

    Andrew

    Ah, the mid-century third-world novel. Once, leftist writers throughout Latin America, Africa, and Asia, informed by Brecht and Tolstoy, wrote epics of peasants and landlords, colonizers and compradors, but those days have long since passed... Which sucks. These are the sorts of novels we're forgetting how to read, ones both strongly grounded in a specific place and culture, yet universalist and humanist in their aspirations. Novels from the "third world" are of course still popular, but the ones Ah, the mid-century third-world novel. Once, leftist writers throughout Latin America, Africa, and Asia, informed by Brecht and Tolstoy, wrote epics of peasants and landlords, colonizers and compradors, but those days have long since passed... Which sucks. These are the sorts of novels we're forgetting how to read, ones both strongly grounded in a specific place and culture, yet universalist and humanist in their aspirations. Novels from the "third world" are of course still popular, but the ones that are usually reek of knockoff magical-realist bullshit... enchanted orphans and magic rings and AH GO FUCK YOURSELF. Which is why you should read Carlos Fuentes (along with Pramoedya Ananta Toer, Chinua Achebe, and so forth). They're books about life and poverty and hope for people who are drawn to Dostoyevsky, not those who are drawn to the Hunger Games.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Miriam Cihodariu

    The book is written from the viewpoint of the main character, Artemio Cruz, who is now dying on a hospital bed. Every other chapter, we switch from his incoherent end-of-physical-life thoughts to a clearer style, throwbacks to when he was younger. We are meant to follow how a brave revolutionary loses the love of his life and turns calculated and cold, eventually becoming a tyrant and a corrupt figure in the country for which he once fought. It's all about minor decisions that lead his moral fib The book is written from the viewpoint of the main character, Artemio Cruz, who is now dying on a hospital bed. Every other chapter, we switch from his incoherent end-of-physical-life thoughts to a clearer style, throwbacks to when he was younger. We are meant to follow how a brave revolutionary loses the love of his life and turns calculated and cold, eventually becoming a tyrant and a corrupt figure in the country for which he once fought. It's all about minor decisions that lead his moral fiber astray, in baby steps. The first such selfish decision was deciding to quasi-desert in the middle of battle, once he saw that they will lose that one anyway. It wasn't entirely selfish, since he did it for Regina (the woman he loved), so that he doesn't put her through the pain of losing him. He was thinking that since their love materialized, his body and life don't belong to him anymore, they are hers, hence he cannot harm them. Even after losing her, he was still redeemable. He persuades an old school quasi-aristocratic moneylender to give him his lands and his daughter's hand in marriage, as part of the transition process from the old guard to the new. The daughter, his new wife, decides to hate him although she feels attraction towards him and has to fight her feelings for him often. It's one of those vocations for being a tragic figure and for self-sacrifice kind of thing. Their children will also be lost to him, eventually: the daughter because of her mother and her anti-father education, and the son because although they had a good relationship, he tries to follow in the dad's footsteps and dies on the war front. Every small step of the way, the path leads Artemio Cruz further apart from having a good and fulfilled life or from being on good terms with his wife. Every now and then the narrative gets simply descriptive, third person POV style. Especially in the chapters which are about his life with other women he has lived with throughout his marriage. I like that the story touches some pretty heavy social and historical themes and really makes you feel the vibe of Mexico's renaissance. I also like that it makes you sympathize with the main character somewhat, although he is also repulsive in many circumstances.

  15. 5 out of 5

    David Lentz

    Artemio Cruz is a man whose impending death compels him to look back over the span of his life to re-live its peak experiences. In a real sense Cruz was more than a man living in Mexico during a time of revolution: he is a microcosm of Mexico itself. I deeply respect and admire the inventive, narrative technique, which in some respects is revolutionary. The switch of narrative voice in its person is daring and works brilliantly to make the narrative come alive. The story line becomes personal an Artemio Cruz is a man whose impending death compels him to look back over the span of his life to re-live its peak experiences. In a real sense Cruz was more than a man living in Mexico during a time of revolution: he is a microcosm of Mexico itself. I deeply respect and admire the inventive, narrative technique, which in some respects is revolutionary. The switch of narrative voice in its person is daring and works brilliantly to make the narrative come alive. The story line becomes personal and engaging in the first person and yet more objective in the second and third persons. One really gets to know Artemio in the first person narrative segments. The flashbacks intrigued me in the way that Fuentes used changes in time to serve the narrative as they take the reader to high-points and low points of this man's rise from abject poverty and military adventures to his love affairs and rise to power with its attendant material wealth. Cruz is a fascinating literary figure whose human weaknesses are legion but he is roundly and credibly drawn and leaps off the page by virtue of the narrative technique of Fuentes. The translation by Alfred Mac Adam is elegant, poetic, lyrically rich and does justice to this literary novel: I highly recommend this great translation. This is a great book by a supremely gifted writer and translator: I hope you decide to read Artemio Cruz.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Sidharth Vardhan

    One of top ten Latin American books I have read.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Robert Sheard

    Unfortunately, I got very little from this book. At times it's all but impenetrable, which is disappointing because I loved the premise (a dying man looking back at important moments of his long life). I just didn't have the tools necessary to get into this (Mexican history, etc.).

  18. 4 out of 5

    Laura

    A true masterpiece written by Carlos Fuentes who describes the reminiscences of the death of the main character, a Mexican landlord. As the background, a severe critic to the political Mexican system existing at that time. 4* Aura 4,5* The Death of Artemio Cruz TR Terra Nostra

  19. 4 out of 5

    Kelly_Hunsaker_reads ...

    The Death of Artemio Cruz, by Carlos Fuentes was published in 1962 and is considered a classic and a milestone in Mexican and Latin American literature. It is a book about the Mexican Revolution, about which I know nothing. And I am quite convinced that this is a book I will need to reread some day if I want to take the story in well. It has so much to learn and digest and I think I probably missed a great deal. The story is told by our main character, Artemio Cruz, who lies on his deathbed remem The Death of Artemio Cruz, by Carlos Fuentes was published in 1962 and is considered a classic and a milestone in Mexican and Latin American literature. It is a book about the Mexican Revolution, about which I know nothing. And I am quite convinced that this is a book I will need to reread some day if I want to take the story in well. It has so much to learn and digest and I think I probably missed a great deal. The story is told by our main character, Artemio Cruz, who lies on his deathbed remembering the stories of his life. His family is present, all hoping to hear the stories and understand him better. A priest is there to provide last rites and looking for a deathbed confession. And to add to the craziness his personal secretary is there with audiotapes of some of the dealings that Mr Cruz took part in. You see, Artemio Cruz spent much of his life mired in corruption. As a young man he was naive, innocent and open, but the harder life go (and it got very difficult through the war) the more cynical he became. And that cynicism led to corruption. Eventually he becomes a politician, a tycoon, a journalist... and he is not a nice man. The power in this book is the meandering nature of the narrative, where Cruz is suffering a drawn-out death and is sharing the unreliable narrative of his life. This is significant and powerful because of the ephemeral and untrustworthy nature of memory. Add that to the fact that this man has no real motivation or propensity for honesty and we have to question his record of events.

  20. 4 out of 5

    David

    This was the first Fuentes book I ever read and he hooked me. I am now buying and reading all the rest. He is one of the great writers of the 21st century and totally overshadowed by Garcia Marquez and Vargas Llossa. This book is the story of Artemio Cruz as he reflects upon his life from the Mexican Revolution. He made it rich and did dubvious things to gain power. He seems to have no regrets but I won't give the story away. Written in the early 1960s, Fuentes uses early post modern style which This was the first Fuentes book I ever read and he hooked me. I am now buying and reading all the rest. He is one of the great writers of the 21st century and totally overshadowed by Garcia Marquez and Vargas Llossa. This book is the story of Artemio Cruz as he reflects upon his life from the Mexican Revolution. He made it rich and did dubvious things to gain power. He seems to have no regrets but I won't give the story away. Written in the early 1960s, Fuentes uses early post modern style which means paragraphs can be pages long (like James Joyce). The most monumental section was his use of the F*** word about Mexico. I read it aloud just to get his gyst. It must be powerful in Spanish. However, the flow and train of thought writing blended with the flashbacks made this a "hard to put down book". His language is rich thanks to the translation.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Becky

    There are pros and cons to my annual read-a-book-in-Spanish self-imposed requirement. Pros: 1. I feel oh-so-cultured and smart. 2. My Spanish is back to near-fluent levels by the second half of the book. Cons: 1. I have basically no idea what happened in the first half of the book. 2. It takes freaking forever. Based on what I actually understood, this is a pretty darn good novel about Mexico and an old dude named Artemio. However, shifting perspectives, Mexican idioms, and lots of historical/political There are pros and cons to my annual read-a-book-in-Spanish self-imposed requirement. Pros: 1. I feel oh-so-cultured and smart. 2. My Spanish is back to near-fluent levels by the second half of the book. Cons: 1. I have basically no idea what happened in the first half of the book. 2. It takes freaking forever. Based on what I actually understood, this is a pretty darn good novel about Mexico and an old dude named Artemio. However, shifting perspectives, Mexican idioms, and lots of historical/political context perhaps make this an overly ambitious selection for a gringo.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Sheryll

    I recognize why this is a literary masterpiece, but the only satisfying part of the book for me was when I came to the final page. It never captured my attention or caused a desire to learn more about the Mexican Revolution. At the halfway point I stopped and went back to reread from the beginning to try to understand what was happening and where it might be going. That was slightly helpful, but not enough so that I want to reread the entire book.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Jason

    Fuentes sums up the Mexican reality in the monumental "Chingar" Chapter. If you can read in Spanish, you must read this book in the original language. Something is lost in translation when you read about F*#K for a dozen pages or so. A thought provoking book that should be studied along with the Mexican Revolution and Post-Revolutionary Mexico for adequate historical context.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Mark

    Caveat: This review is specific to my current, idiosyncratic reading needs. Specifically, I need not to have my depression exacerbated. Short version: if you are ill and trying not to focus on your physical being, and would be disturbed by the graphic depiction of the physical decomposition and mental fragmentation of a dying protagonist who is sociopathic, power-consumed, hateful and in no imaginable way sympathetic, don't read this book. Longer version follows. ---------- Some people achieve gre Caveat: This review is specific to my current, idiosyncratic reading needs. Specifically, I need not to have my depression exacerbated. Short version: if you are ill and trying not to focus on your physical being, and would be disturbed by the graphic depiction of the physical decomposition and mental fragmentation of a dying protagonist who is sociopathic, power-consumed, hateful and in no imaginable way sympathetic, don't read this book. Longer version follows. ---------- Some people achieve greatness, and some people assiduously avoid it and have great novels thrust upon them. This one was inflicted on me by my book club, which chose it, presumably, to honor the recently-deceased Fuentes (who unquestionably deserves to be honored). I chose to read the Spanish edition, just because I could and would have felt guilty about doing otherwise, so your mileage may vary, linguistically speaking, if the English translation is especially good or bad, but I think my opinion would be language-invariant over all editions. I'm sure it'd be equally unremittingly depressing rendered into any form of human communication. (Don't get me wrong; it's a powerful, superlatively-well-written, historically- and politically-illuminating novel. Don't read it if you're already dysphoric, though.) Understand that this isn't going to be incisive literary analysis (fat chance of that; sooner will I press a Mack truck than succeed in deconstructing Fuente's narrative technique). I'm really more interested in the politics of power and brutality and oppression. Mikhail Bakunin said that, the day after the revolution, the revolutionary ought to be executed. With the caveat that I don't personally believe in executing anyone, ever, I think that Artemio Cruz makes a pretty good case for Bakunin's assertion. Cruz starts out at the very bottom of the social hierarchy, conceivably with a measure of good intentions in participating in the revolution -- though also an obvious propensity for violence. (He kills his uncle and rapes the woman who's to become the love of his life.) He's more a Mexican Charles Foster Kane, though, than he is the sort of privileged-from-birth man-fratboy sociopathic narcissist that, say, certain right-wing American politicians seem to be.  (He's definitely sociopathic, just not born to the manner.) But he decays spiritually through the flashbacks, if you can put them into any kind of order (as he does physically, in the present) and becomes a monster (though, from my personal perspective, anyone willing to participate in extremities of violence in the first place, no matter what the pretext, doesn't exactly start out from a place of spiritual purity; even revolutionary wars don't enchant me). If Cruz's early life is supposed to redeem him, it doesn't work for me, though his older persona becomes something even more appalling. Winston Churchill, quoting some French general whose name eludes me, is himself famously quoted as having said that young men who aren't liberal have no hearts, and that older men who haven't become conservative have no brains. I remember once declaring to some of my students campaigning for a candidate who shall go nameless that, "as the brainless addressing the heartless," I really didn't like their politics." Why this occurs to me is that I think Fuentes is playing on the perceived ineluctability of this transmogrification from idealist to monster, and it bothers me, because although it may be common, I don't think it is ineluctable. Also, it fails adequately to indict the silver-spoon, cradle-to-grave sociopaths and megalomaniacs, though I'm sure Fuentes has no use for them, either. I have some sympathy for Cruz, mostly because he's dying painfully, and it's excruciating to be asked to partake of that experience vicariously when your own health isn't good, and few of us are immune from health issues. There is kind of a "stereo-optical" effect. Could Fuentes have achieved the same effect without plunging us full-bore into moribundity and putrescence? No, I don't think so. Would I have been more interested in trying to empathize with a character who had exhibited or retained some measure of youthful idealism (and had, consequently, much less (toxic) effect on the world)? Yes, but persistent idealists (e.g., M.L. King, Jr.) are the ones who do actually end up being assassinated, rather than the revolutionaries ripe to become oppressors in their own right, and such a tome wouldn't have been particularly revelatory of the realities of any sort of history or politics. I admire Fuentes. I think he's a kindred spirit, politically and ideologically. But he merely reaffirms my worst perceptions of the world as a place where "feeble conviction" is almost invariably overborne by toxic "passionate intensity," even in the history of one life. It's deeply depressing.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Missy J

    The plot sounded promising. Right at the beginning, the reader comes across a dying Artemio Cruz. He is surrounded by his wife Catalina, their daughter Teresa, a priest and a doctor. But internally, Cruz curses them, he just wants to see his assistant Padilla and make sure that Padilla is safeguarding the audio recordings of his business dealings and the money. Then with each subsequent chapter, we see flashbacks of Cruz' life; as a poor, young soldier during the Mexican Revolution, his one true The plot sounded promising. Right at the beginning, the reader comes across a dying Artemio Cruz. He is surrounded by his wife Catalina, their daughter Teresa, a priest and a doctor. But internally, Cruz curses them, he just wants to see his assistant Padilla and make sure that Padilla is safeguarding the audio recordings of his business dealings and the money. Then with each subsequent chapter, we see flashbacks of Cruz' life; as a poor, young soldier during the Mexican Revolution, his one true love affair with Regina during the Revolution, how he betrayed Catalina's brother and sought Catalina to marry her and the land she would inherit...finally, the book ends with Cruz' childhood. Maybe it is because I don't know much about the Mexican Revolution. Maybe the English translation of the book can't convey what the original Spanish version wants to say. Or maybe I just lost the plot somewhere in the middle. The narrator's voice changes all the time, from first to second to third narrator. I never did understand why Artemio Cruz became evil. Why he harbored such bitter feelings towards his wife. Why he was so dissatisfied with life that he didn't care that he was acting against the ideals he fought for during the Revolution. The author Carlos Fuentes wanted to depict this hypocrisy and how things rarely change. Every generation has its own rotten apples. "That's the drama. They're all there is. I don't know if you remember the beginning. It was only a short time ago, but it seems so far away... When the leaders didn't matter. When we weren't doing this to raise up one man but to raise up all men. [...] Before it degenerated into factions. Whenever the Revolution passed through a village, the debts of the peasants were wiped out, the money lender's property was confiscated, the political prisoners were let out of jail, and the old bosses were run out. But just look at how the people who thought the Revolution was not to puff up leaders but to free the people are being left behind. [...] A revolution starts in the battlefields, but once it gets corrupted, even though military battles are still won, it's lost. And we're all to blame. We've let ourselves be divided and directed by the lustful, the ambitious, the mediocre. Those who want a real, radical, intransigent revolution are, unfortunately, ignorant, bloody men. And the educated ones only want half a revolution, compatible with the only thing they really want: to do well, to live well, to take the place of Don Porfirio's elite. That's Mexico's drama."

  26. 5 out of 5

    Vicky G

    La muerte de Artemio Cruz es una novela cautivadora que cuenta la vida y los recuerdos de Artemio Cruz en su lecho de muerto. Me encantó el lenguaje de esta novela, lo cual ilumina los pensamientos críticos y secos de Artemio Cruz. El vagar entre lo presente y el pasado se hace de una manera verdaderamente fascinante, y me parece que es bastante fisiológicamente preciso. Las memorias, los cuales son provocados por olores o palabras u observaciones, nos enseñan la vida vergonzosa y corrompida de La muerte de Artemio Cruz es una novela cautivadora que cuenta la vida y los recuerdos de Artemio Cruz en su lecho de muerto. Me encantó el lenguaje de esta novela, lo cual ilumina los pensamientos críticos y secos de Artemio Cruz. El vagar entre lo presente y el pasado se hace de una manera verdaderamente fascinante, y me parece que es bastante fisiológicamente preciso. Las memorias, los cuales son provocados por olores o palabras u observaciones, nos enseñan la vida vergonzosa y corrompida de un hombre ya al morirse. La perspectiva de la historia mexicana me interesó mucho porque Fuentes encarna lo corrompido y lo egoísta del gobierno mexicano en Artemio Cruz. Carlos Fuentes nos enseña a través de las experimentaciones de este personaje la búsqueda de una identidad mexicana y las luchas de un país latinoamericano. The death of Artemio Cruz is a captivating novel that recounts the life and memories of Artemio Cruz on his deathbed. I loved the language in this novel, which illustrated the critical and dry thoughts of Artemio Cruz. The drifting into and out of consciousness and the memories that these trips evoke is done in a truly fascinating way, and it seems to me that this depiction could be physiologically accurate. The memories, which are provoked largely by smells, words, or observations, show us the shameful and corrupt life of a man on the cusp of death. The historical perspective of Mexico also greatly interested me because Fuentes incarnates the corruption and selfishness of the Mexican government in the character of Artemio Cruz. Carlos Fuentes shows us through the experiences of this character the search for a Mexican identity and the struggles of a Latin-American country.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Kristel

    I read a translation by Alfred Mac Adam. This is the story of Artemio Cruz. The reader is introduced to Artemio as he lays dying. The story is told in a series of stream of conscious technique. Artemio takes us back in his life but not in chronological order and then back to the sick room where he is surrounded by his wife, daughter, granddaughter, the priest and Padilla. The author is really telling the story of Mexico through the life of Artemio. Artemio Cruz is not a real person but the revol I read a translation by Alfred Mac Adam. This is the story of Artemio Cruz. The reader is introduced to Artemio as he lays dying. The story is told in a series of stream of conscious technique. Artemio takes us back in his life but not in chronological order and then back to the sick room where he is surrounded by his wife, daughter, granddaughter, the priest and Padilla. The author is really telling the story of Mexico through the life of Artemio. Artemio Cruz is not a real person but the revolution is real. Artemio suffers many losses of ones he loved, he hardens himself to feel nothing and he resolves to never look back, yet on his death bed, Artemio does look back. The book starts very slow and it is hard to know where you are but somewhere along in the book it starts to come together and then it is very good. Because this work, looks at time in an illogical way, the work is appropriately tagged magical realism. "Time exists in a kind of timeless fluidity and the unreal happens as part of reality. Once the reader accepts the fait accompli, the rest follows with logical precision (Angel Flores, Magical Realism in Spanish American Fiction. Magical Realism. Ed. Zamora and Faris, p. 113-116). This work could also be tagged stream of conscious, Mexico, Latin American Literature, historical literature.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Amy

    This is my second venture into Fuentes, the first being "The Crystal Frontier." While "Crystal" was seemingly a bunch of short stories and "Artemio" is written as diary entries, I thought there was a definite connection in their forms. In "Crystal" the short stories often feature a lot of the same characters and all work together to paint a picture of existence on the literal and figurative "border." "Artemio" sometimes feels like disjointed anecdotes since the diary entries are not chronologica This is my second venture into Fuentes, the first being "The Crystal Frontier." While "Crystal" was seemingly a bunch of short stories and "Artemio" is written as diary entries, I thought there was a definite connection in their forms. In "Crystal" the short stories often feature a lot of the same characters and all work together to paint a picture of existence on the literal and figurative "border." "Artemio" sometimes feels like disjointed anecdotes since the diary entries are not chronological and Artemio seems to be the only character that appears in each section although his personality is different depending on what aged Artemio is featured. We get Artemio as a child, the soldier, the lover, the wealthy landowner, newspaper owner, etc. He also has many different ladies in his life corresponding to each of his developments. I also couldn't help but think of Beckett's "Malone Dies" while reading this. Both stories are told as a man is on his deathbed recounting memories and dreams from his life. I think "Artemio" is a bit more straightforward, but also serves another purpose as to create a version of Mexico's history between 1900 and 1960.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Jana

    I should have known going in that since A) we chose it for our Classics/Impossibles group and B) Harold Bloom edited an interpretation of the book featuring multiple essays, I was in for a challenge. I found it beautifully written in parts and exasperatingly difficult in parts. And after reading the first essay (Structure and Theme in Fuentes' La muerte de Artemio Cruz...way more interesting than the title sounds!) I see that I have much to learn about the book I just finished. But I still found I should have known going in that since A) we chose it for our Classics/Impossibles group and B) Harold Bloom edited an interpretation of the book featuring multiple essays, I was in for a challenge. I found it beautifully written in parts and exasperatingly difficult in parts. And after reading the first essay (Structure and Theme in Fuentes' La muerte de Artemio Cruz...way more interesting than the title sounds!) I see that I have much to learn about the book I just finished. But I still found it immensely engaging and satisfying to read. I really hope to reread it soon. Note to self (and others) when I do reread it: Be monogamous. This book and no others for the time it takes to read. 300 pages of faithfulness. I did not follow that advice the first time through. Plot in a nutshell: Artemio is dying. Flashbacks in 1st, 2nd, and 3rd person - yo-tu-el, non-chronologically give us puzzle pieces to put together the story of his life. Including his origin & youth, the Mexican Revolution, his rise to fame and power, his loves and losses. Fascinating.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Trenton Judson

    This book blew me away! Fuentes narrative style is nothing short of genius. He takes a man's life and presents the man in a way that none of us like to imagine that we are: human. It seems that so many of us either idealize or demonize people, including ourselves, instead of seeing what we really are, which is something unique and capable of mistakes and goodness. Fuentes also weaves in some historical information about Mexico and that gives it an authenticity that is very personal and intriguin This book blew me away! Fuentes narrative style is nothing short of genius. He takes a man's life and presents the man in a way that none of us like to imagine that we are: human. It seems that so many of us either idealize or demonize people, including ourselves, instead of seeing what we really are, which is something unique and capable of mistakes and goodness. Fuentes also weaves in some historical information about Mexico and that gives it an authenticity that is very personal and intriguing. You really want to go and eat papayas and sit in the desert with a young Artemio and talk the politics of the day. I won't ruin it for those of you who haven't read the book, but the timeline is just great also and it makes for a very fitting end. Please, if you get the chance and you like literary fiction, check this one out.

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