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News from the Empire Paperback – April 7, 2009


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 880 pages
  • Publisher: Dalkey Archive Press; First English Translation edition (April 7, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1564785335
  • ISBN-13: 978-1564785336
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 6.1 x 1.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #393,836 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. Operatic and beautiful, del Paso's lush cautionary tale of empire building chronicles the brief and disastrous reign of Ferdinand Maximilian of Austria and Marie Charlotte (Carlota) of Belgium, emperor and empress of Mexico from 1863 to 1867. Seeking to redefine herself, Carlota embraces her new role as empress while Max flounders. They are usurpers, and while Benito Juarez, rightful ruler of the republic, abandons the capital to them, the seat of power stays with him as he watches from the periphery and refuses to acknowledge European rule. Desperate, spiraling into madness and wary of impending disaster, Carlota sails to Europe and begs the European monarchies for help that will never arrive. Outliving everyone, Carlota, elderly and insane, still in love with both her lost husband and her lost empire, is left to lament of Mexico, I am mother to them all because, Maximilian, I am their history and I am mad. This moving and engaging epic about the twilight of European monarchy and the struggles of the people they imposed themselves on may be considered a Mexican War and Peace. (Apr.)
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Review

Operatic and beautiful -Publishers Weekly


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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Ted Olsen on April 6, 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
News from the Empire gives a detailed history of the failure of France's nation building project in Mexico, an account of Maximilian's death at the hands of Benito Juarez' soldiers and Carlotas' protracted madness. A history written by the man whom many of us believe to be Mexico's greatest writer, Fernando del Paso. Those who love his Palinuro will find many of del Paso's same qualities of style in News from the Empire. Missing is the Joycean humor and ruthless puns. Here one is reminded more of Faulkner's loaded paragraphs and densely populated narrative; or of Ford Madox Ford's use of the unreliable narrator in the mad empress who is equally frustrating and equally demanding of our close reading. In other words, this is very much a modern novel: it requires us to be careful readers, then tempts us back for a second reading in which we discover a work even more delightful than the one we had first considered. I love this type of writing, works that demand some effort on my part. I would also add that I have now read both the Spanish original and the new English translation and find the latter to be amazing in its ability to retain the voice and style of the original.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Jack Epperson on December 2, 2009
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Just the best thing I've read since discovering Asturias or Garcia Marquez. As sensual as Terra Nova and as informative as an encyclopedia. Like all Balzac in a single volume. I'll re-read and re-read this again and again. Interior monologues worthy of Joyce or Faulkner intertwined with clinically precise historic reporting. As obscure as Eliot and as direct as a newspaper. I'm overwhelmed.
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By Daniel Benavente on March 24, 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
great book, amazing story. Hard to believe this was real. This is a great book to understand Mexico's struggle to its independence.
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Fernando Del Paso is one of Mexico's great novelists, and News from the Empire, about the ill-fated monarchy of Maximiliano and Carlota, is his masterpiece.
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3 of 15 people found the following review helpful By R2 on March 29, 2012
Format: Paperback
I decided to read this book based on its popularity in Mexico, I usually like to read books based on historical facts. I was quickly dissapointed with this book...

The Author Fernando del Paso did a really good research on the characters involved in this historical drama, but then he pictured them mostly in very intimate and erotic situations, he also denigrates them all describing them as ridiculous fools in a very coward manner considering they're not alive to defend themselves. This takes much of the characters' historical interest away.

Carlota's crazyness is described in about 50% of the book, it gets tiring and she's also portrayed repeatedly in very sexual denigrating situations.

Erotism of very bad taste keeps repeating over and over throughout the book to a point where it's absolutely unnecesary.

I believe a book reveals the author's soul, well in that case Mr. del Paso could be described as a very perverted person.

In the end, the book left a very bad taste of mouth, it's hard to believe people in Mexico actually labeled this book as the best novel of the last decades when in reality it seems more like a porn novel and all it's characters downgraded to ridiculous fools.

If you want a good read about this historical time period I highly recommend Felix Zu Salm Salm's Diary, and Jose Luis Blasio's book on Maximilian.
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