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Mexican writer Carlos Fuentes dies, aged 83

Posted by Ana, on 16 May 2012. Comments: 0

Carlos Fuentes, Mexico's most celebrated novelist and a leading figure in Latin America's 20th century literary boom of the 1960s and 70s, has died in hospital in Mexico City. He was 83 and reportedly suffered a sudden internal haemorrhage.

Always prolific, Fuentes wrote plays, essays, and political commentary, but he was best known for his novels.

The first to gain much international attention was the The Death of Artemio Cruz that dissected the disappointments associated with Mexico after the 1910 revolution and the failure of its promises to bring social justice. It was published in 1962.

His novel The Old Gringo, about an American journalist who disappeared during the Mexican Revolution, was turned into a film starring Gregory Peck and Jane Fonda.

Fuentes other best known novels include Terra Nostra, The Good Conscience and Aura, a mystery that contains an amorous encounter under a crucifix with a black christ. The book caused a furore in 2001 when a conservative religious interior minister attempted to have it dropped from his daughter's school reading list.

Fuentes was always identified with the left but usually with qualifications.

The writer maintained a particularly complex relationship with the one party regime of the Institutional Revolutionary Party that governed Mexico from 1929 to 2000. He resigned as ambassador to Britain in 1968 in protest at a massacre of students in Mexico City. He nevertheless accepted the job of ambassador to France in 1975, resigning again two years later.

In the run up to this year's presidential election he described Enrique Peña Nieto, the PRI's candidate and favourite to win, as "small for the size of the challenges facing the country."

Fuentes, who in later life divided his time between Mexico City and London, had three children in two separate marriages. Two died tragically, one from complications due to haemophilia and the other from a heart attack.

Classically elegant as well as cosmopolitan and erudite, the moustachioed author admitted affairs with actresses Jeanne Moreau and Jean Seberg.

Fuentes was often mentioned as a possible winner of the Nobel Prize that was awarded to his regional contemporaries Gabriel Garcia Marquez and Mario Vargas Llosa.

He did receive the Cervantes Prize and the Prince of Asturias Prize, the biggest awards in the Spanish-speaking world, in 1987 and 1994.

(The Guardian, 2012)

Find Carlos Fuentes' works in our online bookshop.


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