Carlos Fuentes, Legendary Mexican Writer, Dies | WAMU 88.5 - American University Radio

NPR : News

Filed Under:

Carlos Fuentes, Legendary Mexican Writer, Dies

Carlos Fuentes, one of the most prolific and best known Spanish-language authors, has died. His death was reported on Twitter by Mexican president Felipe Calderon. The Mexican daily Reforma, which Fuentes often wrote for, reports the author died after experiencing heart problems.

He was 83.

"I am profoundly sorry for the death our loved and admired Carlos Fuentes, writer and universal Mexican. Rest in peace," Calderon wrote on Twitter.

El País, the Spanish newspaper that carried some of his essays, confirmed his death.

El Universal spoke to Consuelo Saizar, director of the National Council for Culture and Arts, who said Fuentes possesed a "great literary body of work."

"He was a vital man like his prose," Saizar said. "And dies without his very much deserved Nobel prize."

In the United States, Fuentes is best known for his novel Gringo Viejo, or The Old Gringo, which was made into a film in 1989 starring Gregory Peck.

Among his major literary awards was the Cervantes Prize in 1987.

Update at 3:39 p.m. ET. A Bit Of Biography:

Fuentes was born in Panama City in 1928. As the obit in El País notes, Fuentes' father was a Mexican diplomat so he moved around quite a bit. He was schooled in places like Argentina, Chile, Brazil and in the United States for eight years.

El País notes that when he was 12-years-old, Fuentes read Cervantes' El Quijote and that left such a mark that "Fuentes turned into one of the premiere experts on the first modern novel."

Update at 3:47 p.m. ET. His Work:

The AP has a bit more on Fuentes' body of work:

"His generation of writers, including Colombia's Gabriel García Márquez and Peru's Mario Vargas Llosa, drew global readership and attention to Latin American culture during a period when strongmen ruled much of the region.

"The Death of Artemio Cruz, a novel about a post-revolutionary Mexico that failed to keep its promise of narrowing social gaps, brought Fuentes international notoriety.

"The elegant, mustachioed author's other contemporary classics included Aura, Terra Nostra, and The Good Conscience. Many American readers know him for The Old Gringo, a novel about San Francisco journalist Ambrose Bierce, who disappeared at the height of the 1910-1920 Mexican Revolution. That book was later made into a film starring Gregory Peck and Jane Fonda."

Update at 3:55 p.m. ET. Searching For Identity, Searching For Differences:

Back in 2002, NPR's Morning Edition spoke to Fuentes. The occassion was his latest novel Inez, the tale of "a lovelorn orchestra conductor, a young Mexican soprano and a mysterious crystal seal."

Very little of that novel was based in Mexico. The lead character, Inez, was Mexican but the action took place across the world.

Fuentes told Bob Edwards that he would be surprised by modern Mexican literature. In the past, he said, Mexican literature was about identity.

"But, now, we have an identity," he said. "We know what it means to be Mexican."

The literature in Inez, he said, goes a step further by focusing on discovering differences.

Edwards, after noting that the author had more than 20 novels under his belt, asked Fuentes where his Nobel prize was.

"My Nobel was is in the pockets of Gabriel García Márquez," he said, adding that Márquez had received the honor for a whole generation of Latin American writers. He said he would leave the prize for a new generation.

Copyright 2012 National Public Radio. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

NPR

Living Small In The City: With More Singles, Micro-Housing Gets Big

Single people represent the fastest growing category of households in the U.S. That's made small dwellings — from micro-apartments to stand-alone tiny houses, a big force in the real estate market.
NPR

Don't Be Fooled By The Fishy Ingredients: This Burger Is Delicious

Chef Marcus Samuelsson has a ritual whenever he travels to a new place — ask the cabdriver, "Where do you eat?" When he did that on a trip to Barbados, he fell in love with a fish sandwich.
WAMU 88.5

Hogan Refutes Claims That His Charter-School Bill Is A Union Buster

More than half of the state's 47 charter schools are located in Baltimore, and Hogan believes making it easier for more to open there — and elsewhere in Maryland — would help close the widening achievement gap between white students and students of color.
NPR

FCC Approves New Rules Intended To Protect Open Internet

The Federal Communications Commission voted along party lines — 3 to 2 — to approve new net neutrality rules that would regulate access to the Internet more like a public utility.

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.