Books by Carlos Fuentes

Carlos Fuentes is the author of more than a dozen novels. He lives in Mexico and London.

DESTINY AND DESIRE by Carlos Fuentes
Released: Jan. 4, 2011

"A compelling novel by one of the masters of contemporary fiction."
A novel of substance about friendship, philosophy and politics set in the "thousand-headed hydra of Mexico City" from the prolific pen of distinguished man of letters Fuentes (The Death of Artemio Cruz, 2009, etc.). Read full book review >
HAPPY FAMILIES by Carlos Fuentes
Released: Sept. 30, 2008

"A lesser work than such fully achieved recent fictions as The Years with Laura Diaz and The Eagle's Throne, but of real interest as a Latin American little brother to John Dos Passos's U.S.A., the book that may have inspired it."
Sixteen cleverly varied short stories, separated by mostly free-verse interludes, form a broad image of modern Mexico in the latest fiction from that country's most prominent writer (The Eagle's Throne, 2006, etc.). Read full book review >
THE EAGLE’S THRONE by Carlos Fuentes
Released: May 16, 2006

"A nerve-grating cautionary tale, and one of his best books."
First published in Spanish in 2002, the veteran Mexican author's ebullient revival of the epistolary novel casts a frosty eye on future (and contemporary) geopolitics. Read full book review >
THIS I BELIEVE by Carlos Fuentes
Released: Feb. 8, 2005

"Either way, This I Believe is full of pleasures. Whatever their setting, the most memorable of these pieces ably show why Fuentes has been so well regarded all these years."
An autumn-of-life exercise in taking stock by the renowned Mexican novelist and essayist (Inez, 2002, etc.). Read full book review >
INEZ by Carlos Fuentes
Released: May 1, 2001

"'What was there between them,' Fuentes's narrator asks, 'that thwarted the continuation of what had been and prevented the occurrence of what never was?' If that makes sense to you, you'll probably enjoy Inez."
The power of music, and the passions aroused by the artistic impulse, are given inexplicably murky expression in this very odd, somewhat disappointing latest from Fuentes (The Years with Laura Díaz, 2000, etc.). Read full book review >
Released: Dec. 1, 2000

"Still, a very satisfying selection—and, at $14, a tremendous bargain."
A solid collection of 39 stories covering an approximate half-century's worth of fiction variously illustrative of the conflicting principles (cited in Fuentes's prefatory essay "The Storyteller") of "immediate effect" espoused by Argentinean Julio Cortázar and "interrelated narrative constellations" as practiced by his countryman Jorge Luis Borges. Read full book review >
Released: Oct. 1, 2000

"A replete and readable portrayal of a fascinating character, and an all-around terrific novel."
A century's worth of Mexican culture and politics is observed through the prism of the life of the eponymous protagonist of this big novel, the most lucid and satisfying fiction of Fuentes's 40-year career (The Crystal Frontier, 1997, etc.).Read full book review >
MYSELF WITH OTHERS by Carlos Fuentes
Released: April 1, 1998

"For all its gloss and sophisticated reach, then, a minor, disappointing book."
The scope of Fuentes' essays is attractively broad—from two elegant pieces of writerly autobiography to long discursions on Gogol, Diderot, Cervantes, and Bunuel, to an admonitory Harvard commencement address on the evils of US insensitivity to Latin America. Read full book review >
Released: Oct. 1, 1997

A sardonic tale about relations between the US and Mexico, by the latter country's acclaimed author of such cosmopolitan fictions as Terra Nostra (1976) and The Campaign (1991), among others. Read full book review >
A NEW TIME FOR MEXICO by Carlos Fuentes
Released: June 1, 1996

"In the end, Fuentes refuses to make a clear, definitive statement on the crises facing Mexico, a sad thing in a writer who once made his country comprehensible to the world."
Desultory essays, mostly uninspired, on Mexico, following closely behind the noted author's execrable roman it clef Diana (1995). Read full book review >
DIANA by Carlos Fuentes
Released: Oct. 1, 1995

"And unless it's simply a makeweight being used to fulfill a contractual obligation, it's hard to understand why Fuentes allowed it to be published."
A roman Ö clef distinguished, so to speak, by feet of the samenot to mention other bodily parts lubriciously (if not lovingly) described. Read full book review >
THE ORANGE TREE by Carlos Fuentes
Released: April 1, 1994

"Exuberantly imaginative and unabashedly sensual, Fuentes, even when the conceits seem strained, never fails to entertain, instruct — and, yes, provoke."
Fuentes continues to interpret the clash between the Old and New Worlds with dazzling imaginative insight in five novellas that span a spectrum of eras and individuals. Read full book review >
Released: April 14, 1992

"Strictly an introduction to a complex subject, but, in its yearning and contradictions, an unusually revealing one."
A companion volume to an upcoming Discovery/BBC TV series, this passionate meditation on Hispanic cultural identity from Fuentes (Constancia, 1990, etc.) unfolds with all the color, urgency, and perhaps inevitable superficiality of a popular documentary. Read full book review >
THE CAMPAIGN by Carlos Fuentes
Released: Oct. 1, 1991

"Exasperatingly expository and episodic—but, still, Fuentes manages to persuade us of the Spanish-American rationale for a continuing revolution and to explore (very unsystematically) the 'possibility of establishing a relationship with God through language."
With this first volume of a projected trilogy about 19th-century revolutionary Spanish America, the prolific Fuentes (Constancia, 1990; Christopher Unborn, 1989; etc.) offers a baggy, robust tale about a political kidnapping and its human consequences. Read full book review >
Released: April 1, 1990

"Fuentes' fans may appreciate his wire-walking here, while others will be reminded of better things he's done."
This second collection (Burnt Water, 1980) of five long stories from Fuentes (Christopher Unborn, The Old Gringo, etc.) is full of sound, fury, and various linguistic innovations, as well as a sustained meditation on the relationship between art and life. Read full book review >
Released: Aug. 1, 1989

"Fuentes, sometimes too erudite for his own good, gets it together here—developing an inventive literary conceit into a multilayered meditation on the plight of contemporary Mexico."
A postmodern extravaganza narrated by a fetus: his conception on Twelfth Night begins the book and his birth on Columbus Day ends it, and in between those two events is a feast of language concerning a despoiled Mexico. Read full book review >
THE OLD GRINGO by Carlos Fuentes
Released: Nov. 1, 1985

"Excessively hectoring and deterministic, a book that's unusually soapy and obvious from a writer as often adroit as Fuentes."
Set during the era of the Villa uprising in Mexico, 1916, Fuentes' book tracks the mysterious passage made by cynic/satirist Ambrose Bierce, at age 71, into then very dangerous Mexico, the place where he wished to end his life: "But maybe he was carrying a different fear, one he voiced as he crossed the frontier: 'I'm afraid that each of us carries the real frontier inside.'" Bierce is a mass of regrets—mostly because the cavalier manner of his literary persona undermined his capacity for family love—and in Mexico he seeks a stark finale for his life, an expiation. Read full book review >
Released: March 8, 1982

"So—though patient readers may find themselves gradually appreciating the meditative yet tough-minded approach here, the mode of ruminant distillation—this novel is one of Fuentes' less successful experiments: anemic when it attempts to be limpid and (even more so than usual with Fuentes) without the controlled craft to match its ambition."
Fuentes rarely sets an easy task for himself in his novels; usually, in fact, he takes on some sociological, political, or philosophical enormity. Read full book review >
BURNT WATER by Carlos Fuentes
Released: Oct. 1, 1980

"In general, however, stories are a less hospitable form for this writer than are novels, and the single ideas here mostly seem merely tantalizing, not a full measure."
Urbane stories—almost all set in Mexico City. Read full book review >
THE HYDRA HEAD by Carlos Fuentes
Released: Jan. 5, 1978

"A bumpy ride, then, serious but unsure of itself, neither smoothly entertaining nor genuinely provocative."
In marked contrast to Fuentes' last novel, the broad-keeled and mythic Terra Nostra, this is a spy mystery, a sort of object fable linking the subterranean and inherently puzzling Mexican character to shady, cloak-and-dagger goings-on. Read full book review >
TERRA NOSTRA by Carlos Fuentes
Released: Oct. 1, 1976

"The prose is incantatory but ultimately exhausting."
History and the dream interpenetrate in this outsized novel which summons into fevered, hallucinatory existence the Spain that conquered the author's native Mexico. Read full book review >
TRIPLE CROSS by Carlos Fuentes
Released: Sept. 29, 1972

"But it is better to suspend such judgments and accept these as exquisitely gaudy, unique cultural hybrids."
Collected here in one volume, short novels by three of Latin America's most conspicuously, perhaps obtrusively, sophisticated writers. Read full book review >
CHANGE OF SKIN by Carlos Fuentes
Released: Jan. 22, 1967

"Assured critical attention."
Carlos Fuentes is Mexico's leading contemporary writer and this while probably his most ambitious novel, is also his most amorphous—lacking any narrative action to give definition to the inchoate flux of ideas, images, and endless memories of a past which is at time collective, at times personal. Read full book review >
AURA by Carlos Fuentes
Released: Nov. 1, 1965

"Black on black, with all the accoutrements of the classic horror tale, this attains a fatalism that is the fullest realization of fantasy."
A novella by the author of Where the Air is Clear, The Good Conscience, and' The Death of Artemio Cruz finds him at brilliant dark play as he swiftly carries the horror to its proof and inevitable fulfillment. Read full book review >
Released: June 15, 1964

"The publishers will support it accordingly."
Seventy-one years old, wasted and sick with a degrading intestinal affliction, Artemio Cruz lies in bed and remembers — remembers and lives while the priest administers extreme Unction. Read full book review >
WHERE THE AIR IS CLEAR by Carlos Fuentes
Released: Nov. 7, 1960

"Written with a fervor that is both fierce and compassionate this is a complex, powerful novel of huge scope."
"In Mexico City there is never tragedy but only outrage", says the poetic and tormented voice of this tumultuous philosophical and political novel. Read full book review >