FBI Files on Carlos Fuentes Opened – A Dangerous Communist

FBI documents recently released show that he was considered a dangerous communist and that he should be watched. It isn’t surprising that this mischaracterized him that way, and at this distance seems laughable. You can read about it in English at Huff Po or Spanish at El Pais.

MEXICO CITY — The FBI and the U.S. State Department closely monitored Mexican author Carlos Fuentes for more than two decades because he was considered a communist and a sympathizer of Cuba’s Fidel Castro, recently released documents show.

The documents posted on the FBI’s website this week show the United States denied Fuentes an entry visa at least twice in the 1960s.

In one of the memorandums Fuentes is described as “a leading Mexican communist writer” and a “well-known Mexican novelist with long history of subversive connections.”

 

El escritor mexicano Carlos Fuentes fue sometido a un seguimiento por parte del FBI y el Departamento de Estado que se prolongó al menos durante dos décadas, según los archivos que divulgó la agencia esta semana en su página web. El intelectual, fallecido el año pasado a los 83 años de manera repentina, era visto por los funcionarios estadounidenses como un “destacado escritor comunista”  con una larga historia “de relaciones subversivas”.

Fuentes solicitó visas para entrar en Estados Unidos en varias ocasiones pero hubo instrucciones de retrasar las respuestas. El archivo publicado en su página de Internet, al que tuvo acceso Associated Press, es rico en pruebas que confirman que la agencia estaba atenta a los movimientos del escritor. Uno de los motivos por los que se le negó la entrada al país fue el hecho de haber pertenecido al Partido Comunista Mexicano.

Carlos Fuentes Daughter Cecilia on Carlos Fuentes

Melenio has a letter from Carlos Fuentes only surviving child describing her anguish at her relationship with her father. It is a sad letter (he wasn’t the best father as people who are very busy tend not to be) but one that is interesting when thinking about a writer who was such a personality. (via )

¿Habrás sabido alguna vez cuánto te quise y cuánto te extrañé siempre? Hace muchos años iniciaste una nueva vida con una nueva familia y por alguna razón, decidiste tratar de borrar de tu historia a mi mamá y a mí. Algo imposible porque existimos, porque tuvimos un pasado, porque compartimos momentos reales y porque sé que, a pesar de tu aparente rechazo al cariño y al calor humano, alguna vez me quisiste y me cuidaste. Ahora que leo las cartas que le escribiste a mi mamá durante los quince años que estuvieron juntos, lo compruebo. Siempre había un  dibujito para mí, o palabras tiernas o de preocupación. Yo sé que jamás logré ser la hija que hubieras soñado, pero lo intenté. No. No soy ni alta ni guapa ni sofisticada ni delgada ni culta ni interesada en la política, pero hice mi mejor esfuerzo estudiando y trabajando, siempre tratando de que me abrieras un lugarcito en tu vida. Nunca lo logré.

Carlos Fuentes Interview at Guernica

Guernica has an unpublished interview with Carlos Fuentes from 2006 that is worth reading (you can also listen to it if you scroll to the bottom of the page). It covers politics more than literature, although there is a lengthy section on his admiration for Juan Marse. Fuentes was always a fairly astute political commentator and he has some interesting things to say about immigration and democracy.

Guernica: Do you consider yourself a writer in exile?

Carlos Fuentes: I have never considered myself a writer in exile because I grew up outside of my own country, because my father was a diplomat. Therefore, I grew up in Brazil, Chile, Argentina, the United States, I studied in Switzerland—so I’ve always had perspective on my country—I am thankful for that.

Our greatest novelist ever, Juan Rulfo, the author of Pedro Páramo, never left Jalisco and the states of Mexico where he sold tires and drove around and heard stories—he is the great example of a writer very much bred, rooted in the country, that transforms all he has heard into great art. My position was very different because I had a perspective on Mexico since I was a child. I was a boy of ten when President Cárdenas expropriated the oil holdings of foreign companies, and there was a wave of anti-Mexicanism in the United States. There were big headlines, “Mexican Communists Steal Our Oil,”—then I lost friends at school (I was in grade school), I was looked upon with suspicion. And I was the son of a diplomat; when I heard the news from Mexico I sided with Mexican causes. I grew up in a kind of exile until I was fifteen years old, always outside of Mexico, but always very conscious that I was a Mexican. Yet that gave me a different consciousness of being Mexican from someone who had never left Mexico—so, it worked both ways.

For a moment there I could have become Argentinean or Chilean—I was very bound to my friends, my schools in Santiago and Buenos Aires, but no—no, Mexico has won me over, and do you know why? Because Mexico always was and always will be a mystery for me, a big question mark. What is this country all about? How can I understand it? You know, when García Márquez doesn’t understand the baroque political situation in Mexico, he goes to the National Museum of Anthropology, and stands before the Coatlicue the Mother Goddess of the Aztecs, the gigantic sculpture of block, of serpents, headless, tremendous, of a goddess saying, “I am a goddess not a person—don’t try to find personality in me. I am not Venus—I am Coatlicue, the goddess of serpents.” And when he has stood five minutes in front of Coatlicue, he says, “Now I understand Mexico,” and leaves.

It’s a very complex, mysterious country. I will never understand it fully, and that’s why I write so much about it, in order to try to understand it.

The Last Work of Carlos Fuentes (or the First of the Posthumous to Come Out)

El Pais has an excerpt of a novel he was working on when he passed away. It is called Federico en su balcón and you can read an excerpt of it at El Pais. Given his last works, I’m not sure really how thrilling it will be, but you can be the judge.

Sesenta y seis. Esos son los años que estuvo atrapado Carlos Fuentes por la verdadera pasión de la literatura. Sesenta y seis años que hay entre el descubrimiento que hizo de El conde de Montecristo, a la edad de 17 años, y la escritura de sus dos últimos libros: Personas y Federico en su balcón que dejó a los 83 años, antes de morir el 15 de mayo. El primero son unas memorias sobre los personajes que conoció y el segundo una novela en la que salda cuentas con Nietzsche.

No es solo el legado póstumo de uno de los escritores e intelectuales más relevantes del mundo hispanohablante del último medio siglo. “El significado de Federico en su balcón”, explica Pilar Reyes, editora de Alfaguara que publicará la novela a finales de año, “es que Fuentes nunca pensó que fuera el último. Pero ahora cobra una gran dimensión simbólica. Resume dos aspectos: el Fuentes ciudadano y el literario e intelectual. Es una reflexión sobre el poder y la decisión moral en las pequeñas cosas de la vida. Una especie de combate entre lo público o el poder que incide en la vida de todos y las decisiones pequeñas y privados”.

My Appreciation of Mexican Author Carlos Fuentes, RIP

Carlos Fuentes was one of the first writers who I can really remember inspiring my interest in writing. I was not a reader of literature before I got to college. I read history, but fiction wasn’t something I thought much about. It took sometime for literature to interest me. The first author I can remember was James Baldwin, but after I ran across Juan Rulfo and Carlos Fuentes I saw the real possibilities of great writing. I had been taking one of those classes that only The Evergreen State College could create: one whole quarter (16 credits) dedicated to Mexican literature, history, and culture. It was a truly immersive experience and we read two works of Fuentes: The Death of Artemo Cruz and The Old Gringo. One was a masterpiece and the other one of his many less than stellar efforts. We all knew The Old Gringo was week, but when you have an Artemo Cruz it doesn’t really matter. It was Fuentes at his best: expansive, using history as his tablet, and letting his structural inventions wow young writers to be. After going over his works in class and out, I had to find other books, reading Where the Air is Clear, Aura, Burnt Water, and the Good Conscience shortly after. I particularly identified with the Good Conscience, a coming of age story that was set in Guanajuato, a city I had visited once. Thinking about it now it’s funny that I would find the book so compelling, but he was able to capture something. Later, when I finally made it to Mexico city several I spent a day or two with my head raised, looking for the mansard roofs he had mentioned over and over in Where the Air is Clear, as if finding a sloping roof would explain something about Mexico. It was unnecessary; Fuentes had already constructed a Mexico for me, one that I described in my piece, Just a Handshake is Enough.

A few years later I lost some of my fascination with his fiction. Perhaps it was the unevenness of his later works. They never seemed to have the exciting sense of a man forging a vision of a country. Instead they showed a man whose fiction seemed to be self absorbed. Even then, however, his literary criticism, his ability to talk about writing and writers was always interesting. His book La geografía de la novela was the first book I ever read in Spanish and was an exciting not because it delved into theory, but because he could make writing and the whole process of literature sound important and vital. For Fuentes, literature was more than games for grad students and that sense of passion you read in any article or heard in any interview was kept him interesting even after his later fiction lost some of its weight. Hearing of his passing was a shocker because just the other day I was reading an article in El Pais about his adventures in Buenos Aires for the book fair. He always seemed to be connected to the literary world and could talk about the newer generations and the same time as Cervantes, and, again, it made reading and writing exciting. In an age of e-books, hand wringing about the future of books, and enfeebled academia, despite Fuente’s flaws he made writing and love of literature seem one of the most important endeavors one could undertake.

RIP/DEP

There are plenty of articles and tributes in Spanish that you might want to read.

From La Jornada

Muere el novelista Carlos Fuentes

Travesías de un narrador

La literatura, faro en un país desviado

From El País

Adiós a uno de los pilares del ‘boom’ latinoamericano

Muere el escritor Carlos Fuentes

  • El novelista ha fallecido hoy a los 83 años en México, donde se encontraba hospitalizado
  • La obra y el rigor político del escritor definieron medio siglo de historia de las letras latinoamericanas
Carlos Fuentes, en 2009. / DANIEL MORDZINSKI
Juan Cruz Madrid 95

Era autor de más de 20 novelas y contaba con el Premio Cervantes (1987) y el Príncipe de Asturias (1994). Escribió obras como ‘La región más transparente’ o ‘La muerte de Artemio Cruz’. El velatorio será privado en su casa. A las 13.00 (hora de México) sus restos llegarán al Palacio de Bellas Artes

Memoria y deseo

Se marcha uno de los grandes intelectuales latinoamericanos. Ningún otro combina así creación literaria y reflexión política

Tiempos de Fuentes

Hace poco le decía a Fuentes que la historia de América Latina no era el recuento de sus fracasos, sino el proyecto de futuro

Reacciones en el mundo de las letras

Escritores y artistas lamentan el fallecimiento del autor de una gran obra conocida como ‘La edad del tiempo’

Nuestro Virgilio

Conocí a Carlos Fuentes dos veces, y las dos cambió mi vida. La primera, en 1984, cuando yo tenía 16 años

‘Una curiosidad universal’

Con él desaparece un escritor cuya obra y cuya presencia han dejado una huella profunda

Carlos Fuentes’ Latest Book – The History of the Latin American Novel – and His Top Ten of the 20th Century

Carlos Fuentes has published a new book on the history of the Latin American novel (La gran novela latinoamericana). It is composed of lectures, reviews and essays that trace the history of the Latina American novel to the present day. Fuentes is usually interesting when it comes to literary history, although I’m not sure if he is completely up on new writers as his list seems a little mid century focused. Nevertheless, it is a good starting point for thinking about the Latin American novel.

El Pais has an article form Fuentes outlining his vision of the best writers of the Latin American novel (outline is the correct word, too, because it is very name centric). And he has a list of his top ten of the 20th century and the 21st century. Considering that we still have 90 years left of this century, I’m not going to put much stock in that list, but here is his list for the last century. Bonus points if you can name the glaring omission.

  • El Aleph-Jorge Luis Borges
  • Los pasos perdidos-Alejo Carpentier
  • Rayuela-Julio Cortázar
  • Cien años de soledad-Gabriel García Márquez
  • Paradiso-José Lezama Lima
  • La vida breve-Juan Carlos Onetti
  • Noticias del imperio-Fernando del Paso
  • Yo el supremo-Augusto Roa Bastos
  • Pedro Páramo-Juan Rulfo
  • Conversación en La Catedral-Mario Vargas Llosa
  • Santa Evita-Tomás Eloy Martínez

Finally, El Pais also has a review of the book, which notes that it is a little uneven, but has moments of real interest.

Este volumen tiene algo de recapitulación y de regreso a viejas lecturas centrales del autor y también de los múltiples seguidores de literatura en español. Quizá incluso algún afortunado lector reconozca en lo que es una imprecisa primera parte (hasta la página 300, más o menos) los materiales de algún curso universitario, aunque no se indica en el texto: da igual, porque en todo caso el tono y el formato tiende a ser el de un curso de novela latinoamericana escrito con la fluidez, la amenidad y la ausencia de los habituales enredos gremiales y verbales.

La segunda parte está más cerca de la reunión de reseñas y artículos breves sobre la narrativa más reciente -es decir, en torno a los últimos cuarenta años- y pierde también algo de la personalidad lectora que exhibe Fuentes en la primera, cuando se concentra en una sola novela o un solo autor por extenso, con originalidad, con incursiones frecuentes y jugosas en su autobiografía civil y cede incluso a la confidencia lujosa: su determinación de no conocer a Borges personalmente para preservar “la sensación prístina de leerlo como escritor”, la felicidad de conocer a un desarmante Juan Carlos Onetti o las múltiples alusiones a Alfonso Reyes que aparecen en el texto (aunque algún último lector del manuscrito en la editorial debió advertir las repeticiones de anécdotas y hasta frases divertidas, como la de Philip Roth).

What Some Spanish Speaking Authors Are Reading This Summer

El Pais has a list of what some Spanish Speaking authors among others are reading this summer. A couple caught my eye, especially Jose Emilio Pacheco and Fuentes who mentions his newest book (something I doubtful will be that good, sorry). Although, I think I like what Elena Poniatowska said, I don’t read anything any different from the rest of the year.

José Emilio Pacheco

Ciudad de México (México, 1939). Premio Cervantes 2009, su último poemario es ‘La edad de las tinieblas’ (Tusquets)Hago como si hubiera verano en México y me propongo leer o releer la serie Sergio Pitol traductor, organizada por Rodolfo Mendoza. Pitol es uno de los grandes traductores del idioma, a la altura de Ricardo Baeza y Mario Verdaguer. Como Borges y Cortázar, él se forjó en estas versiones que nunca dejaremos de agradecerle. Entre los clásicos recomiendo en especial El corazón de las tinieblas Otra vuelta de tuerca. Entre los descubrimientos (lo fue para mí),Las puertas del paraíso, de Jerzy Andrzejewski.

Carlos Fuentes

Ciudad de Panamá, 1928. Autor mexicano y premio Cervantes 1987. En septiembre publicará el ensayo ‘La gran novela latinoamericana’ y el libro de relatos ‘Carolina Grau’ (Alfaguara)

Siempre llevo historia y novela, un poco de todo. Pero este verano estoy dedicado a Giacomo Leopardi, debido a que uno de los cuentos de mi próximo libro, Carolina Grau, está dedicado a él. Así es que ahora, al releerlo, quiero ver si el cuento me ha gustado o me ha distanciado de él o si lo he traicionado o respetado o si hice bien en invocarlo. Es una especie de mea culpa retrospectiva, como todas, donde primero cometes el pecado y luego se pide perdón. Como estoy en Italia, estoy leyendo también un libro muy interesante: Roma, de Robert Hughes, que trata desde la fundación de la ciudad hasta Berlusconi. Es una gran historia de la ciudad, ¡espléndida!

Interview with Carlos Funtes – Mexico needs an overhaul – at Literal Magazine

Literal Magazine has an interview with Carlos Funetes about Mexico and its directions for the future. Of late I have found him a better political commentator than a novelist and the interview, which mentions his newest book, makes that clear. The interview is in English and Spanish.

Rose Mary Salum: In 2010, Vlad was published. Why the vampire theme?

Carlos Fuentes: This was before the theme became fashionable. I used to watch vampire movies when I was a child. Bela Lugosi would give me a terrible fright whenever I saw him. So I said, Dracula the Vampire is always hanging out in Europe. When is he coming to America? Well, he came in to New Orleans in the Tom Cruise movie, but he’s never come to Mexico. Perhaps because he would be competing with too many local vampires… it’s terrible. But he finally came to Mexico and settled down there, under the name of Vlad.

[…]

RMS: As an editor and writer living in the United States, it concerns me that not enough books are being translated. In your opinion, what’s going on?

CF: What’s going on is that this country, the United States, has become very provincial. When I started out, my editors, Farrar, Straus and Giroux, were publishing Francois Mauriac, Alberto Moravia, and ten or fifteen foreign novelists. Now there’s no one. Those of us who have been established for a long time, like Gabriel García Márquez, Vargas Llosa, or myself, have kept on publishing, but almost out of condescendence. There is no interest in new writers, in the vast quantity and quality of writers we have in Hispanic Ameirca. This country has become very self- absorbed and preoccupied, and it still does not understand what is going on in the world. Barack Obama, who is a great president, is trying to tell Americans, “We are not alone, we are not the only ones,” but it is very hard for them to accept that the era of the United States is over.

RMS: And perhaps this has to do with deteriorating standards of education…

CF: They have deteriorated terribly; education is no longer the priority it once was. But above all, the issue is how the United States sees itself in relation to the rest of the world.

Carlos Fuentes on Mario Vargas Llosa and Latin American Dictators

El Pais has an essay from Carlos Funtes on Mario Vargas Llosa and Latin American dictators. It is mostly about the dictatorship in the Dominican Republic. There were a couple of items that caught my in particular. The first is a project that never came to be, but one can imagine what it might have ben like, a book by Latin America’s greatest authors writing 50 pages or so about a dictator.

Vargas Llosa y yo invitamos a una docena de autores latinoamericanos. Cada uno debería escribir una novela breve -no más de cincuenta páginas por dictador- sobre su tirano nacional favorito. El volumen colectivo habría de llamarseLos padres de las patrias. Nuestro editor francés, Claude Gallimard, se convirtió en el padrino del proyecto. Por desgracia, a la postre resultó imposible coordinar los múltiples tiempos y las variadas voluntades de los escritores que, si mi memoria es tan buena como la de El Supremo de Augusto Roa Bastos, incluían, además de Vargas Llosa y yo mismo, al propio Roa, el argentino Julio Cortázar, el venezolano Miguel Otero Silva, el colombiano Gabriel García Márquez, el cubano Alejo Carpentier, el dominicano Juan Bosch, a los chilenos José Donoso y Jorge Edwards (Donoso prometió ocuparse de un dictador boliviano; su mujer, María Pilar, nació en ese penthouse de las Américas). Al fracasar el proyecto, tres de los escritores mencionados decidieron seguir adelante y concluir sus propias novelas: Carpentier (El recurso del método), García Márquez (El otoño del patriarca) y Roa Bastos (Yo el Supremo).

[…]

Iniciado por Valle-Inclán en Tirano Banderas (1926) el tema del abuso del poder, el autoritarismo despótico y la distancia entre la ley y la práctica, se continúa, con los Ardavines de Gallegos, el don Mónico de Azuela, el Pedro Páramo de Rulfo, el Caudillo de Guzmán y ya citados, los dictadores de Roa Bastos, García Márquez y Carpentier. La diferencia en Vargas Llosa es que no apela a un seudónimo literario o a una figura simbólica, sino que nos refiere a un dictador concreto, personalizado, con nombre, apellido y fechas certificables de nacimiento y muerte: Rafael Leónidas Trujillo Molina, Benefactor de la Patria Nueva, Restaurador de la Independencia Financiera y Primer Periodista de la Nación, aunque los dominicanos, para no meterse en aprietos, lo llamaron “Mr. Jones” o “Mr. Jackson”.

Another Review Of Carlos Fuentes Newest Novel

Alan Cheuse in the San Francisco Chronicle has a review of Carlos Fuentes’ newest novel Destiny and Desire. Surprisingly, he gives it a mixed, but ultimately positive review, something I haven’t seen when reading a Fuentes review for some time. ( Via the Complete Review)

Uncover a seemingly complicated plot in which these two apparent lifelong comrades stand opposed to each other in an attempt by one of them to create a coup against the sitting president. Throw in the beautiful Asunta Jordan, who manages Monroy’s affairs (and is having one with him and, with his permission, with other lucky men now and then). Mix in a mysterious female aviator who charms Josué, toss in an old law school prof who may be guiding the friends in their seemingly random behavior. Flavor with a prisoner in Mexico’s worst prison who is free to go but remains by choice in captivity – and add a layer of rhetoric to the narrative that makes for long passages that soar into the stratosphere but sometimes weigh down the plot. Do all this, and you have the narrative equivalent of that antique Mexican dish called posole, a savory stew of corn, meat and spices.

You can endure the rhetorical element in the novel – the narrator himself points out that in Mexico “we mistake rhetoric for reality” – if you recognize it as part of the narrator’s characteristic way of talking about the world, the same tendency that eventually gets him to lose his head. And it’s that head itself, which you meet at the beginning, that gives you a neat horizon point as you read along, knowing that at any moment Josué will lose it.

Still, the rhetoric seems to be the fat on the meat in this stew, and I wish Señor Fuentes had trimmed it away. With that layer still present, the novel seems merely an interesting story. Without it most readers would have declared the leaner book absolutely brilliant. Who doesn’t want to get lost (and then found again) in a taut drama about the power politics and soulful fate of a great if tormented country?

 

New Carlos Fuentes Novel, Destiny and Desire, Reviewed at New York Magazine

New York Magazine has a review Destiny and Desire (La Voluntad y la Fortuna), which unfortunately is more about him than the book. It starts off alright but goes into all his controversies (not a bad thing if you don’t know about them). However, I mention the review because it shows, albeit briefly, where Fuentes is and why I think he is one of those writers who should have stopped writing or at least with less frequency.

The emos who hang out in Mexico City’s Insurgentes Circle, distant relations of our own kohl-eyed musical mopes, face constant harassment from corrupt police and local punks. Some of them have also been forced to contend with the intrusive questions of a handsome, weathered, impeccably dressed gentleman of 82 who occasionally likes to listen, uncomprehending, to their lingo. “They invent language all the time,” says Carlos Fuentes, Mexico’s most prominent author, who still spends hours wandering the vast plazas and narrow alleys of his country’s capital. “It’s a language I, at times, cannot understand.”

Destiny and Desire is the 24th novel by Fuentes, one of the architects of the sixties’ “Latin American Boom” in literature (along with friends “Gabo” García Márquez, Julio Cortázar, and 2010 Nobel laureate Mario Vargas Llosa). The novel is a tracking shot of modern Mexico City as seen through the eyes of two ambitious frenemies, Josué and Jericó (Cain and Abel is the working archetype), caught in the swirl of dirty politics, narco-trafficking, and a burgeoning telecommunications monopoly. Its more surreal touches—potent symbolism, magic, long polemics, and disorienting leaps in time—bring to mind the best of Latin Boomer lit, including Fuentes’s own classic, The Death of Artemio Cruz, published in English in 1964. It also showcases Fuentes’s need to stay current in his ninth decade—as in the incongruous phrase “Hug it out, bitch,” which telegraphs Jericó’s mysterious international activities.

You can thank the author’s wife, Mexican journalist Silvia Lemus, for the disconcerting (though perfectly logical) Entourage reference; Fuentes has never seen the show. “That’s what my wife is here for,” he says. “She keeps me up on popular culture. I’m a telephone and fax man.” The only American TV he follows, avidly, is Mad Men. “It’s quite fascinating … the American version of Victor Hugo’s Les Misérables.” His favorite character is Bert Cooper, “the boss who doesn’t wear shoes. He’s the only likable guy. The others are horrifying.”

 

BabeliAmérica Spain-Latin America On-line Literary Conference Starts Monday

Babelia y El Pais have created an on-line conference that will from Monday October 4 to 10. It will feature authors and artists from Latin America. Babelia will have interviews, profiles, conversations, and other digital means of getting to know the invited artists from Latin America as they discuss the different paths of culture in Latin America. Those participating are the film makers Claudia Llosa (Perú), Marcelo Piñeyro (Argentina), Paz Fábrega (Costa Rica) y Óscar Ruiz (Colombia); the folk singer Jorge Drexler (Uruguay);  the writers Martín Caparrós (Argentina), William Ospina y Héctor Abad Faciolince (Colombia), Iván Thays (Perú), Élmer Mendoza y Jorge Volpi (México); Wendy Guerra (Cuba); the artists Carlos Garaicoa (Cuba) y Miguel Calderón (México); the historian Felipe Pigna (Argentina) and the Puerto Rican Band Calle 13. Carlos Fuentes will open the proceedings.

Except for the time zone issue, it looks like a good conference:

BabeliAmérica. Maloca cultural-virtual es un escenario digital multimedia e interactivo a través del cual invitamos a todos los internautas a disfrutar y vivir, del 4 al 10 de octubre, dos eventos clave en la capital española: VivAmérica, organizado por Casa de América, y Ágora. América Latina, 100 voces diferentes. Un compromiso común, organizado por la Fiiapp (Fundación Internacional y para Iberoamérica de Administración y Políticas Públicas).

Con una programación propia y variada, por BabeliAmérica pasarán más de veinte personajes que están marcando los derroteros culturales y artísticos de América Latina. Entre ellos los cineastas Claudia Llosa (Perú), Marcelo Piñeyro (Argentina), Paz Fábrega (Costa Rica) y Óscar Ruiz (Colombia); el cantautor Jorge Drexler (Uruguay); los escritores Martín Caparrós (Argentina), William Ospina y Héctor Abad Faciolince (Colombia), Iván Thays (Perú), Élmer Mendoza y Jorge Volpi (México); Wendy Guerra (Cuba); los artistas Carlos Garaicoa (Cuba) y Miguel Calderón (México); el historiador y experto en el bicentenario Felipe Pigna (Argentina) y la banda de música puertorriqueña Calle 13.

BabeliAmérica te acercará a todos estos y más personajes y a sus obras a través de vídeos, entrevistas, conversaciones, encuentros digitales, crónicas, diarios de la jornada, álbumes fotográficos, reportajes y una mesa redonda basada en las preguntas que ustedes formulen a los invitados, en la sede madrileña de EL PAÍS, y que podrán seguir desde sus computadores en vivo y en directo; o en el lenguaje del medio: en streaming. Será el viernes 8 de octubre y el nombre de los tres invitados lo revelaré mañana.

Como ya he dicho, la inauguración de esta fiesta en la Maloca cultural-virtual corre por cuenta de Carlos Fuentes desde Nueva York. Un día antes de que el casi centenar de creadores y otras tantas actividades entre exposiciones, foros y mesas redondas invadan Madrid. Pero antes, a las 11 de la mañana, ELPAIS.com lanzará en la Red ese escenario cultural y digital, donde se presentará toda la programación propia que llevaremos hasta sus computadores, basados en la oferta de los eventos madrileños. También se explicará en que consiste cada una de las seis secciones o salas previstas cada día, con sus respectivos horarios, que se irán llenando de contenido a medida que avance la semana, y que usted podrá consultar cuando quieran. Esas secciones son Autorretrato, Protagonistas, La cita, Diario del anfitrión, Encuentro digital y Sesión Eskup América.

Sólo basta entrar en ELPAIS.com o en este blog de Babelia, Papeles perdidos, a partir de mañana, para conocer las diferentes actividades y vivirlas desde cualquier lugar del mundo.

Carlos Funtes Remembers Carlos Monsiváis

El Pais has an interesting reflection from Carlos Fuentes about his friend, the late writer Carlos Monsiváis. He sounded like quite the iconoclast, at least, as Fuentes saw him. A man of diverse passions and a seeming voracious appetite for knowledge. Worth the read or Google translate.

Me inquietaba siempre la escasa atención que Carlos prestaba a sus dietas. La Coca-Cola era su combustible líquido. No probaba el alcohol. Era vegetariano. Su vestimenta era espontáneamente libre, una declaración más de la antisolemnidad que trajo a la cultura mexicana, pues México es, después de Colombia, el país latinoamericano más adicto a la formalidad en el vestir. Creo que jamás conocí una corbata de Monsiváis, salvo en los albores de nuestra amistad.

Compartimos una pasión por el cine, como si la juventud de este arte mereciera memoria, referencias y cuidados tan grandes como los clásicos más clásicos, y era cierto. La frágil película de nuestras vidas, expuesta a morir en llamaradas o presa del polvo y el olvido, era para Monsiváis un arte importantísimo, único, pues, ¿de qué otra manera, si no en el cine, iban a darnos obras de arte Chaplin y Keaton, Lang y Lubitsch, Hitchcock y Welles? Y no se crea que el “cine de arte” era el único que le interesaba a Carlos. Competía con José Luis Cuevas en su conocimiento del cine mexicano y con el historiador argentino Natalio Botana en películas de los admirables años treinta de Hollywood.

Javier Marias – I Would Like to Be Sherlock Holmes – Spanish Only Video

El País in celebration of the Madrid Book Fair has a video of Javier Marias explaining that if he were to be any character he would like to be Sherlock Holmes. It is a brief interview, but fun for its willingness to pick a character that might not seem the most literary—although, that is not something I would claim as I like the early stories of Doyle. Unfortunately, it is only in Spanish.

Carlos Fuentes New Book: A Tired Work From a Tired Writer – Letras Libres

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.

Carlos Fuentes Wins for El Yucatán de Lara Zavala

Carlos Fuentes has won the González-Ruano prize for journalism for the article El Yucatán de Lara Zavala which is a book review of Península, península, by Hernán Lara Zavala. The article is interesting if you are interested in Mexican history and literature and gives a brief history of the Mexican authors who have used history in their works. The also sounds interesting. You can read another review at Letras Libres too.