We seem to offer this up each year around this time. Congratulations, grads, and please accept this tidbit of advice from those of us here at S&R: always remember where you’re from, but don’t ever let it keep you from where you want to go.
Carlos Fuentes, Mexico’s dominant literary figure over the past many decades, passed away several days ago. He was a remarkable writer—international in taste (serving as Mexcico’s ambassador to France at one point), but resolutely ground in Mexico’s complex and often tragic history.
Fuentes was probably best known in the US for The Old Gringo, but I always thought this was a relatively slight work compared with some of his other efforts. Reading Terra Nostra and Christopher Unborn were, if not transformative, nonetheless significant literary experiences of my life. He was often associated with the Magical Realism of many Latin American authors, but this was a bit too limiting. He could do everything, much like Vargas Llosa. The Buried Mirror is his history of the continent told from a Latin Perspective, and it’s a fascinating and informative read. Every couple of pages I had to stop and think, I didn’t know that. Continue reading