Carlos Fuentes passed away on May 15th, 2012, at the age of 83. He will be remembered by this avid reader for his novels The Old Gringo and The Death of Artemio Cruz, along with his wonderful short stories, especially those in Burnt Water. His non-fiction is also very strong (This I Believe & Myself With Others), and pairing it with Milan Kundera’s heightened the effect of both for me. Both men being advocates of the democratic voice in literature, with many of the same literary “precursors.”
Fuentes was one of the chief contributors and promoters of the Latin American “Boom,” along with José Donoso, Jorge Luis Borges, Gabriel García Márquez and Juan Rulfo, his fellow Mexican novelist. It is not a stretch to say that without Fuentes and El Boom, writers such as Daniel Sada and Roberto Bolaño would not have the readership they currently, posthumously enjoy.
Also known for his strong, often courageous political stances, Fuentes supported leftist social-justice movements around the world, which frequently put him at odds with the rich and powerful of many nations, including the USA. Not long after his first brush with literary fame, he was denied entrance to America (in 1963) for political reasons. It took Congress to reverse this in 1967. Fuentes later taught with distinction at several American universities.
He will be missed and reread.