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The Old Gringo by Carlos Fuentes
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The Old Gringo (1985)

by Carlos Fuentes

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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667None14,339 (3.49)1 / 49
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English (12)  Spanish (1)  French (1)  All languages (14)
Showing 1-5 of 12 (next | show all)
Ambrose Bierce, an American short story writer, went into Mexico in 1914 to cover the Mexican Revolution by finding and traveling with Poncho Villa. He disappeared without a trace. Fuentes has written this novel in which he suggests what may have happened to Bierce.

Not the easiest read as Fuentes infuses the narrative with much philosophical meandering the slows the story. ( )
  lamour | Feb 5, 2014 |
a Sad book, but trying to deal with the relationship of USA - Mexico. The essential mystery of what happened to Bierce, the noted misanthrope remains unsolvable, so it is a good beginning for this meditation on unequal relationships. Stands up well to a reread. ( )
  DinadansFriend | Sep 22, 2013 |
Reads too much like an essay -- a lot of abstract narrative, not much fictive involvement (not sure how else to put it). The writing kept me at a distance from the story, and I lost interest in it. Picked up this copy at a library book sale. ( )
  BobNolin | Aug 24, 2013 |
First line:
~ Now she sits alone and remembers ~

This was an odd book.

I found the writing lyrical, poetic and, as a result of that, really enjoyed it. It read like a fairy tale a lot of the time. However it was an odd book.

I appreciated the depiction of the culture of the Mexican revolution and the cultural differences of the two Americans in the story. I was thoroughly caught up in the story of Ambrose Bierce and the fact that he was a real person who, virtually disappeared into Mexico and was never heard from again.

I did find some it confusing and so that is why I am not giving it a higher rating. Enjoyed it though! ( )
  ccookie | Jul 21, 2012 |
The old gringo is a former journalist who lost everything due in part to his job. In his own words, he is "A contemptable, muckraking reporter at the service of a baron of the press as corrupt as any I denounced in his name, I attacked the honor and dishonor of all men, without distinction. In my time, I was feared and hated." As a reporter, he also saw many events which disturbed him greatly. As an old man, he comes to Mexico with a mission, to die, to make amends and to fight with Pancho Villa. Only some of his goals are achieved.

Would I recommend................Although I found some of the story muddled with memories most of the novel is written with stark clarity. It's the muddle that prohibited me from giving this novel a 5/5 but it came very, very close. I look forward to reading more of Fuentes in the future. ( )
  Carmenere | Jun 26, 2012 |
Showing 1-5 of 12 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (3 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Carlos Fuentesprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Peden, Margaret SayersTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Epigraph
But who knows the fate of his bones
or how often he is to be buried?
--Sir Thomas Browne
What they call dying
is merely the last pain.
--Ambrose Bierce
Dedication
To William Styron whose father included me in his dreams of the American Civil War.
First words
Now she sits alone and remembers.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0374530521, Paperback)

One of Carlos Fuentes's greatest works, The Old Gringo tells the story of Ambrose Bierce, the American writer, soldier, and journalist, and of his last mysterious days in Mexico living among Pancho Villa's soldiers, particularly his encounter with General Tomas Arroyo. In the end, the incompatibility of the two countries (or, paradoxically, their intimacy) claims both men, in a novel that is, most of all, about the tragic history of two cultures in conflict.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:28:51 -0400)

(see all 6 descriptions)

"The Old Gringo tells the story of Ambrose Bierce, the American author, soldier, and journalist, and of his last mysterious days in Mexico living amoung Pancho villa's soldiers - particularly his encounter with one of Villa's generals, Tomas Arroyo, as well as with a spirited young american woman named Harriet Winslow. In the end, the incompatibility between Mexico and the United States (or paradoxically, their intimacy) claims both Bierce and Arroyo, in a novel that is, most of all, about the tragic history of these two cultures in conflict."--From publisher description.… (more)

» see all 3 descriptions

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