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Carlos Fuentes Macías (born November 11, 1928) is a Mexican writer and one of the best-known living novelists and essayists in the Spanish-speaking world. Fuentes has influenced contemporary Latin American literature, and his works have been widely translated into English and other languages.


Fuentes was born in Panama City, Panamamarker; his parents were Mexican. Due to his father being a diplomat, during his childhood he lived in Montevideomarker, Rio de Janeiromarker, Washingtonmarker, Santiagomarker and Buenos Airesmarker. In his adolescence, he returned to Mexico, where he lived until 1965. He was married to film star Rita Macedo from 1959 till 1973, although he was an habitual philanderer and allegedly, his affairs‚ÄĒwhich he has claimed include film actresses such as Jeanne Moreau and Jean Seberg- brought her to despair. The couple ended their relationship amid scandal and Fuentes then married journalist and now famous interviewer Silvia Lemus. Following in the footsteps of his parents, he also became a diplomat in 1965 and served in London, Paris (as ambassador), and other capitals. In 1978 he resigned as ambassador to France in protest over the appointment of Gustavo Diaz Ordaz, former president of Mexico, as ambassador to Spain. He has also taught courses at Brownmarker, Princetonmarker, Harvardmarker, Pennmarker, Columbia, Cambridgemarker, and George Masonmarker. He is currently teaching at Brown Universitymarker. He was also a friend of the US sociologist C. Wright Mills, to whom he dedicated his book The Death of Artemio Cruz.

He fathered three children. Only one of them survives: Cecilia Fuentes Macedo, born in 1962, now working with TV production. A son, Carlos Fuentes Lemus, died from complications associated with hemophilia in 1999 at the age of 25. A daughter, Natasha Fuentes Lemus (born 31 August 1974), died of an apparent drug overdose in Mexico City 22 August 2005, at the age of 30.


Fuentes published his first novel, La región más transparente, when he was 28 years old, which became a classic contemporary novel. It was innovative not only for its prose, but also by having a metropolis, Mexico Citymarker as its main character. This novel provides an insight into the Mexican culture, which is made up of a mixture with the Spanish, the indigenous and the mestizo: all cohabiting in the same geographical area but with different cultures.

The author describes himself as a pre-modern writer, using only pens, ink and paper.He asks "Do words need anything else?" Fuentes mentioned that he detests those authors who from the beginning claim to have a recipe for success. In a speech on his writing process he mentioned that when he starts the writing process he begins by asking "Who am I writing for? "

He published Las Buenas Conciencias in 1959. This is probably his most accessible novel depicting the privileged middle classes of a medium-sized town, probably modelled on Guanajuato.

His 1960s novels, Aura (1962) and La muerte de Artemio Cruz (1962) are well acclaimed for using experimental modern narrative styles (including the second person form) to discuss history, society and identity.

In 1967, during a meeting with Alejo Carpentier, Julio Cortázar and Miguel Otero Silva, Carlos Fuentes launched the project of a series of biographies depicting Latin American caudillos, which would be called Los Padres de la Patria. Although the project was never completed, it set the bases for Alejo Carpentier's Reasons of State (El recurso del método, 1974) and various other Dictator Novels (novelas del dictador).

His 1985 novel Gringo viejo, the first United States bestseller written by a Mexican author, was filmed as Old Gringo (1989) starring Gregory Peck and Jane Fonda.

In 1994, he published Diana, The Goddess Who Hunts Alone, a fictionalized account of his alleged affair with American actress Jean Seberg. However, the authenticity of this adulterous liaison has been questioned several times.

Fuentes regularly contributes essays on politics and culture to the Spanish newspaper El País and the Mexican Reforma. He is a stern critic of what he sees as American cultural and economic situations typically hidden from mainstream Mexican society.

List of works


  • La Regi√≥n M√°s Transparente (Where the Air is Clear) (1959) ISBN 978-9705800146
  • Las Buenas Conciencias (The Good Conscience) (1959) ISBN 978-9707100046
  • The Death of Artemio Cruz (1962) ISBN 978-0374522834
  • Aura (1962) ISBN 978-9684111813
  • Zona sagrada, (1967)
  • Cambio de piel (A Change of Skin) (1967)
  • Cumplea√Īos (1969)
  • Terra Nostra (1975)
  • La cabeza de la hidra (Hydra Head) (1978)
  • Una familia lejana Also known as "La familia" (1980)
  • Agua quemada (Burnt Water) (1981)
  • Orqu√≠deas a la luz de la luna (1982)
  • Gringo viejo (The Old Gringo) (1985)
  • Crist√≥bal Nonato (Christopher Unborn) (1987)
  • Ceremonias del alba (1991)
  • El naranjo (The Orange Tree) (1993)
  • Diana o la cazadora solitaria (Diana: the Goddess Who Hunts Alone) (1994)
  • La frontera de cristal (The Crystal Frontier) (1995)
  • "A New Time for Mexico" (1996) ISBN 0-374-22170-7 (translated from Spanish by Marina Gutman Castaneda)
  • Los a√Īos con Laura D√≠az (The Years With Laura Diaz) (1999)
  • Instinto de Inez (Inez) (2001)
  • La Silla del √Āguila (The Eagle's Throne) (2003)
  • Todas las Familias Felices (Happy Families) (2006), ISBN 987-04-0557-6
  • La Voluntad y la Fortuna (2008), ISBN 970-58-0446-5

Short stories

  • Los d√≠as enmascarados (1954)
  • Cantar de ciegos (1964)
  • Chac Mool y otros cuentos (1973)
  • Agua quemada (1983) ISBN 968-16-1577-8
  • Dos educaciones. (1991) ISBN 84-397-1728-8
  • Los hijos del conquistador (1994)
  • La frontera de cristal. Una novela en nueve cuentos (The Crystal Frontier) (1995) ISBN 968-19-0268-8
  • Inquieta compa√Ī√≠a (2004)
  • Las Dos Elenas


  • La nueva novela hispanoamericana (1969) ISBN 9682701422
  • El mundo de Jos√© Luis Cuevas (1969)
  • Casa con dos puertas (1970)
  • Tiempo mexicano (1971)
  • Miguel de Cervantes o la cr√≠tica de la lectura (1976)
  • El Espejo Enterrado (The Buried Mirror) (1992) ISBN 8430602658
  • Geograf√≠a de la novela (1993) ISBN 9681640446
  • Tres discursos para dos aldeas ISBN 950-557-195-X
  • Nuevo tiempo mexicano (1995) ISBN 9681902319
  • Retratos en el tiempo, with Carlos Fuentes Lemus (2000)
  • Los cinco soles de M√©xico: memoria de un milenio (2000) ISBN 84-322-1063-3
  • En esto creo (2002) ISBN 9705800871
  • Contra Bush (2004) ISBN 9681914503
  • Los 68 (2005) ISBN 0307274152


  • Todos los gatos son pardos (1970)
  • El tuerto es rey (1970).
  • Los reinos originarios (1971)
  • Orqu√≠deas a la luz de la luna. Comedia mexicana. (1982)
  • Ceremonias del alba (1990)

Further reading


  • The Shattered Screen. Myth and Demythification in the Art of Carlos Fuentes and Billy Wilder. Lanin A Gyurko (New Orleans: University Press of the South, 2009)
  • Lifting the obsidian mask : the artistic vision of Carlos Fuentes. Lanin A Gyurko, 2007
  • Carlos Fuentes' The death of Artemio Cruz (Modern Critical Interpretations). Harold Bloom, 2006
  • Fuentes, Terra nostra, and the reconfiguration of Latin American culture. Michael Abeyta, 2006
  • Carlos Fuentes's Terra nostra and the Kabbalah: the recreation of the Hispanic world. Sheldon Penn, 2003
  • The narrative of Carlos Fuentes : family, text, nation. Steven Boldy, 2002
  • Carlos Fuentes, Mexico and modernity. Van Delden, Maarten, 1998
  • The postmodern Fuentes. Helmuth, Chalene, 1997
  • Specular narratives : critical perspectives on Carlos Fuentes, Juan Goytisolo, Mario Vargas Llosa. Roy Boland, 1997
  • The writings of Carlos Fuentes. Williams, Raymond L, 1996
  • A Marxist reading of Fuentes, Vargas Llosa, and Puig. Dur√°n, V√≠ctor M, 1994
  • Author, text, and reader in the novels of Carlos Fuentes. Ibsen, Kristine, 1993
  • Carlos Fuentes : life, work, and criticism. Gonz√°lez, Alfonso, 1987
  • Carlos Fuentes. Faris, Wendy B, 1983
  • Carlos Fuentes, a critical view. Brody, Robert, 1982
  • The archetypes of Carlos Fuentes: from witch to androgyne. Dur√°n, Gloria, 1980
  • Carlos Fuentes (Twayne World Authors Series). Guzm√°n, Daniel de, 1972


  • El mito en la obra narrativa de Carlos Fuentes, Francisco Javier Ordiz, 2005
  • Los signos del laberinto : Terra nostra de Carlos Fuentes, Carmen V Vidaurre Arenas, 2004
  • Pa√≠ses de la memoria y el deseo : Jorge Luis Borges y Carlos Fuentes, Carmen Perilli, 2004
  • Carlos Fuentes : perspectivas cr√≠ticas, Edith Negr√≠n, 2002
  • Carlos Fuentes desde la cr√≠tica, Georgina Garc√≠a-Guti√©rrez, 2001
  • El lenguaje que somos : Carlos Fuentes y el pensamiento de lo hispanoamericano, Estela Marta Saint-Andr√©, 2001
  • Los escritos de Carlos Fuentes, Raymond L Williams, 1998
  • Carlos Fuentes : 40 a√Īos de escritor, Jos√© Francisco Conde, 1993
  • Interpretaciones a la obra de Carlos Fuentes, Ana Maria Hern√°ndez de L√≥pez, 1990
  • Fabulaci√≥n de la fe : Carlos Fuentes, Fernando Garc√≠a N√ļ√Īez, 1989
  • La obra de Carlos Fuentes : una visi√≥n m√ļltiple, Ana Mar√≠a Hern√°ndez de L√≥pez, 1988
  • Lo fant√°stico en los relatos de Carlos Fuentes : aproximaci√≥n te√≥rica, Gladys Feijoo, 1985
  • El cuento mexicano contempor√°neo : Rulfo, Arreola y Fuentes, Bertie Acker, 1984
  • La narrativa de Carlos Fuentes, Aida Elsa Ram√≠rez Mattei, 1983
  • Los disfraces : la obra mestiza de Carlos Fuentes, Georgina Garc√≠a-Guti√©rrez, 1981
  • Nostalgia del futuro en la obra de Carlos Fuentes, Liliana Befumo Boschi, 1974
  • Aproximaci√≥n a la literatura del mexicano Carlos Fuentes, Luj√°n Carranza, 1974
  • Carlos Fuentes y la realidad de M√©xico, Fidel Ortega Mart√≠nez, 1969
  • Constancia: Y Otras Novelas Para Virgenes, 1990


  1. Article in Jornada 13 November 2007
  2. De los orígenes a la nueva novela histórica paraguaya p.43

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