Letras Libres has a review of Carlos Fuentes’ newest book, Adán en Edén. It is not a faltering review to say the least. The reviewer notes that the book is a tired political novel that is more telanovela (soap opera) than inspired fiction, that his writing style is a mishmash of styles that he seems to have picked up from other authors, but not made his own, just plopped in the middle of his story. The story takes place in a Mexico where the state is corrupt, drug gangs are running wild, and neo-liberal ideas have failed, all of which leaves Mexico in a state of disarray. It is a novel ripped from the headlines. Unfortunately, the headlines are better. More over, he doesn’t seem to have any original solutions.
A political novel whose premise is a country dominated by drug traffickers under the protection of a weak neoliberal state will tend to find its solutions for its problems through fascist leanings on religion, is not a good political novel.
Una novela política cuya premisa es: un país dominado por narcotraficantes nacidos al amparo de la debilidad de un Estado neoliberal tenderá a solucionar sus males mediante recursos fascistas apoyados en la religión, no es una buena novela política.
Ultimately, this book is like his recent books. Just not that good. He is a writer who has published too much (The Years with Laura Diaz anyone?). Apparently, there is some controversy, too, because he has written a character that could be Octavio Paz, and has made him into a selfish and cruel writer only interested in himself and his fame. The reviewer has a hard time believing it, and I can’t say one way or the other. It is all too bad, because I used to love his books.
I think the reviewer finishes the review with his most damning statement:
Adam in Eden is a novel that shows an author tired of literature, that writes because it his job, because he has to continue with the manual ritural brings him to write without ceasing.
Adán en Edén es una novela que muestra a un autor cansado de la literatura, que escribe por oficio, por cumplir un ritual mañanero que lo lleva a escribir sin cesar.