Wednesday, January 11, 2006

The Years with Laura Díaz by Carlos Fuentes

Reviews of Carlos Fuentes's Los Años con Laura Díaz (The Years with Laura Díaz)

Carlos Fuentes, occasionally dubbed the Mexican Balzac, makes no bones about the grand plans he has for this vast, panoramic novel. "The hell that is Mexico," says one of the characters named Santiago (there are four, they are all related to one another, and they all die miserably). "Are we predestined for crime, violence, corruption, poverty?" Throughout, rhetorical questions, impassioned speeches, fraught dialogues and urgent declarations dominate the book's spoken content; characters are far more likely to debate the heroic or treacherous qualities of Bukharin or the conduct of the Spanish civil war than they are to pass the time of day in idle pleasantries.

But Fuentes is aware that readers need human contact, and thus he gives us Laura Diaz, eye-witness, eavesdropper and occasional participant in the grand march of history - as well as daughter, wife, mother and, in order to give the novel some light entertainment, a rather racy lover of extraordinary stamina.

You can find the full review here.

Carlos Fuentes, perhaps the best-known representative of Mexico's scholarly and artistic community, decided to create his chronicle of the 20th century through fiction -- and through the eyes of a Mexican woman born at the dawn of that century, Laura Diaz. Nobody would wish to question Fuentes' choice of narrative focus. His character sees the whole century from a corner of the world where the view might be clearer -- think of a runner not in the lead of a race, able to see all the other competitors that a leader can't. Mexico, after all, is tucked in close to the boisterous United States, and women, though a rising force, have usually played the role of witness to history.
The epic begins in the spirit of a Zorro-style 19th century Mexican history.

You can find the full review here.

Buy The Years with Laura Diaz at

No comments:

Post a Comment