THE OLD GRINGO: A NOVEL
"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.
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