Category Archives: carlos fuentes

Terra Nostra Is Not The Carlos Fuentes I Thought I Knew

Terra-nostra As far as I know Carlos Fuentes, he's a writer of realist, politically aware narratives that partake in a modernist ethic. True, he's clearly innovative when it comes to style, but in terms of narrative he decidedly keeps things in the camp of the real.

So, 30 pages into Terra Nostra the Louvre is transparent, the Seine is boiling, six-toed infants are being born. Now I understand why they call this book the last great success of the Latin American Boom. (And as you can see by the image to the left, I was fortunate enough to acquire a copy of the edition with the ugliest cover in the history of the Boom.)

Admittedly, I'm only 30 pages into a book that's nearly 800 pages in length, but I'm kind of liking the magical realism edition of Carlos Fuentes. Definitely curious to see where he goes with this.

And while I'm writing about authors of a Fuentesian ilk, I might as well note that Season of Ash by Jorge Volpi sounds like my next great Latin American read. The back copy on this book bills it as Carlos Fuentes meets Richard Powers (and, indeed, the book comes packaged with a rave from the former). Thumbing through it, it kind of looks like one of those grand European narratives of historical unification . . . something along the lines of The Discovery of Heaven, or Omega Minor, with (dare I say it) a hint of Pynchon.


The Surrender is Veronica Scott Esposito’s “collection of facts” concerning how she embraced her true gender.


Two long essays of 10,000 words each on sex in—and out of—literature . . .

The first essay dives in to Nicholson Baker’s “sex trilogy,” explaining just what Baker is up to here and why these books ultimately fail to be as sexy as Baker might wish.

From there the book moves on to the second essay, which explains just why Spaniard Javier Marías does right what Baker does wrong . . .


5 essays. 2 interviews.

All in all, over 25,000 words of Latin American literary goodness.

3 never-before-published essays, including “The Digression”—a 4,000-word piece on the most important digression in César Aira’s career.

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