Sex, politics, Mexico and the enigmas of identity are the themes that have preoccupied — even, at times, obsessed — Carlos Fuentes for his entire writing life, and he brings them together once again, in full regalia, in his smashing new novel, "The Eagle's Throne." Here, though, they feel less like obsessions than like old friends, the trusted longtime companions of the novelist's working days. By now, they're so familiar to Fuentes, and to one another, that they mingle freely, casually, almost flirtatiously. Fuentes has gathered them all in one place many times before, usually for grave, summit-level meetings in ambitious novels like "The Death of Artemio Cruz," "The Old Gringo" and "The Years With Laura Díaz." This is the first time he's thrown them a party.
Which is not to say that "The Eagle's Throne" is unambitious. Fuentes doesn't put finger to keyboard without having at least one fairly large idea to get off his chest, and over the years he has managed to store up more than a couple of big ones about the subject he addresses here: the exercise of practical politics.
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