Thursday, May 24, 2012

In Memoriam - Carlos Fuentes

Carlos Fuentes (M), among Mexico's most celebrated novelists, has passed away at the age of 83.

Perhaps best known in Canada for his translated novels The Death of Artemio Cruz (M) (1962) and The Old Gringo (M) (1985), which was also later made into a motion picture starring Jane Fonda, Jimmy Smits and Gregory Peck. His most recent novel was Destiny and Desire (M) (2008).

Fuentes is widely recognized as a leading writer in the Latin American Boom, a literary movement that saw an increase of international interest in Latin American novelists in the 60's and 70's. Fuentes was a figurehead of this movement, along with authors Julio Cortázar of Argentina, Mario Vargas Llosa of Peru, and Gabriel García Márquez of Colombia.

Fuentes won many awards and recognitions, including the Miguel de Cervantes Prize, Mexico’s Premio Nacional de Ciencias y Artes (National Prize for Arts and Sciences), and France's Ordre national du Mérite. Although often considered a strong candidate for a Nobel Prize, sadly he was never chosen.

Fuentes' writing is very ideological in nature, thinly veiled commentaries on politics, governments, the drug trade, corruption and national values. Fuentes is attributed with saying that "that literature allowed him to say what would be censored otherwise".

Fuentes was quite prolific, penning 20+ novels (which have been translated into at least 24 different languages), several screenplays, numerous magazine and newspaper essays, co-founded a literary magazine, taught at Harvard, Princeton and Columbia Universities, and so much more .... It should be quite obvious that the man was a huge literary talent.

May he rest in peace.

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