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The Death of Artemio Cruz by Carlos Fuentes
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The Death of Artemio Cruz (1962)

by Carlos Fuentes

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Spanish (6)  English (6)  Dutch (1)  French (1)  Swedish (1)  All languages (15)
Showing 1-5 of 6 (next | show all)
I read a translation by Alfred Mac Adam. This is the story of Artemio Cruz. The reader is introduced to Artemio as he lays dying. The story is told in a series of stream of conscious technique. Artemio takes us back in his life but not in chronological order and then back to the sick room where he is surrounded by his wife, daughter, granddaughter, the priest and Padilla. The author is really telling the story of Mexico through the life of Artemio. Artemio Cruz is not a real person but the revolution is real. Artemio suffers many losses of ones he loved, he hardens himself to feel nothing and he resolves to never look back, yet on his death bed, Artemio does look back. The book starts very slow and it is hard to know where you are but somewhere along in the book it starts to come together and then it is very good. Because this work, looks at time in an illogical way, the work is appropriately tagged magical realism. "Time exists in a kind of timeless fluidity and the unreal happens as part of reality. Once the reader accepts the fait accompli, the rest follows with logical precision (Angel Flores, Magical Realism in Spanish American Fiction. Magical Realism. Ed. Zamora and Faris, p. 113-116). This work could also be tagged stream of conscious, Mexico, Latin American Literature, historical literature. ( )
  Kristelh | Nov 16, 2013 |
Had to read this in college. If it was written in chronological order, I might have enjoyed the book more. Very hard to read. ( )
  Lupita_Garza-Grande | Aug 14, 2013 |
Typical words people would use: difficult, pretentious, complicated. I prefer "over my head". Artemio Cruz is a rich old man lying on his deathbed, and the book is a mish-mash of his dreams and memories of his life told in various styles, narrated from different points of view. It definitely had its moments: I was gripped by the climax of his activities during the civil war. I also found the style easy-going and evocative on occasion, as in the part with a weekend prostitute. But most of it was a strange style made up of feverish imaginings and stream-of-consciousness writing, and I really struggled to understand what he was talking about half the time. I often couldn't figure out which character was responsible for quoted speech, and Fuentes certainly commits that annoying crime of having several pages of dialogue, back-and-forth, single line of quoted speech after line after line, with no narrative interjections or asymmetry to indicate which character each half belongs to. When I was younger I would count it out but now I honestly can't be bothered; reading is meant to be fun and interesting, not laborious. Even when the words and grammar made sense, the meanings were usually hard to "get": after half a book of tension I discovered what the horse-crossing-the-river phrase was referring to, only to be left wondering, without resolve, what it meant.

All that aside, it's not worthless. Even the grammatically confused stream-of-consciousness passages, annoying and opaque as they were, at least conveyed a strong impression of what it might be like to die slowly of illness.

Oh, one last problem: I don't need my characters to be heroes, but Artemio Cruz is, without giving too much away in the form of spoilers, a completely pathetic wanker for whom I have very little sympathy. And I'm not talking about misdemeanors, but crimes which today would land you in prison for life.
1 vote seabear | Jun 11, 2013 |
Tour de Force allegory that explores the complexities of Mexican national identity. The complicated narrative (divided into a third person omniscient that retells the key moments in AC's life; the 1st person stream-of-conscious rants of the bed-ridden and dying AC; and the 2nd person self-recriminations of AC's conscience) invites comparisons to W. E. B. DuBois's notion of double-consciousness. This is a difficult book, but an important book. Nonetheless, beyond the technical dexterity of Fuentes style, the tales, particularly the 3rd person stories that make of the bulk of the novel, are quite compelling in their own right: battles in Spain and Mexico, intrigues with American business, not to mention the clumsy love affairs AC continually finds himself in all make for compulsive reading. That Fuentes overlays Cruz's biography on top of the key moments of Mexican history generates even more interest. A truly amazing book. ( )
  mark1722 | Mar 13, 2009 |
This is my second venture into Fuentes, the first being "The Crystal Frontier." While "Crystal" was seemingly a bunch of short stories and "Artemio" is written as diary entries, I thought there was a definite connection in their forms. In "Crystal" the short stories often feature a lot of the same characters and all work together to paint a picture of existence on the literal and figurative "border." "Artemio" sometimes feels like disjointed anecdotes since the diary entries are not chronological and Artemio seems to be the only character that appears in each section although his personality is different depending on what aged Artemio is featured. We get Artemio as a child, the soldier, the lover, the wealthy landowner, newspaper owner, etc. He also has many different ladies in his life corresponding to each of his developments.

I also couldn't help but think of Beckett's "Malone Dies" while reading this. Both stories are told as a man is on his deathbed recounting memories and dreams from his life. I think "Artemio" is a bit more straightforward, but also serves another purpose as to create a version of Mexico's history between 1900 and 1960. ( )
  araridan | Apr 6, 2008 |
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» Add other authors (18 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Carlos Fuentesprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Kliphuis, J.F.Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Vuyk-Bosdriesz, JohannaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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I wake ... the touch of that cold object against my penis awakens me.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0374522839, Paperback)

Hailed as a masterpiece since its publication in 1962, The Death of Artemio Cruz is Carlos Fuentes's haunting voyage into the soul of modern Mexico. Its acknowledged place in Latin American fiction and its appeal to a fresh generation of readers have warranted this new translation by Alfred Mac Adam, translator (with the author) of Fuentes's Christopher Unborn.

As in all his fiction, but perhaps most powerfully in this book, Fuentes is a passionate guide to the ironies of Mexican history, the burden of its past, and the anguish of its present.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 14:05:26 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

Seventy-one-year-old Mexican financier recalls the turbulent days of his life, as he lies dying.

» see all 2 descriptions

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