Carlos Fuentes, writer and polemicist, has passed on at the age of 83. In his sixty-year writing career, he published more than 60 works, including novels, short stories, essays and plays. His 1985 novel, El Gringo Viejo (The Old Gringo), was the first Mexican book to get on the New York Times bestseller list. Four years later, it was made into a Hollywood film.
Fuentes was born in Panama to Mexican parents, and he spent his childhood in several Latin American capitals before starting school in Washington DC. It was while he was in Washington that he began writing: “I started my own magazine with drawings, commentary, news, and film reviews. I took it round all the apartments in the block. I didn’t get much reaction, but from then on I knew I wanted to be a writer.”
In his first novel, La Región Mas Transparente (Where the Air Is Clear), Fuentes describes life in Mexico City in the 1940s and 50s. His experimentation with language and style in the book got him the attention of reviewers within and outside of Mexico. Through his second novel, La Muerte de Artemio Cruz (The Death of Artemio Cruz), he gained recognition as a young, leading Latin American writer.
Fuentes won many awards in his career, including Mexico’s Alfonso Reyes prize (in 1979), and the prestigious Premio Miguel Cervantes from Spain (in 1987), as well as honorary doctorates from universities in the US and Britain.
Carlos Fuentes died on May 15 2012 from a massive haemorrhage. He is survived by his wife, Silvia, and his daughter, Cecilia. His legacy will never be forgotten.
Culled from The Guardian