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Vlad Hardcover – July 18, 2012

19 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"A deliciously barbed bagatelle from a fiction master, with perhaps a strain of allegory for a world devoured by rapaciousness." - Publishers Weekly
--This text refers to the Audio CD edition.

About the Author

The author of more than a dozen novels and story collections, Carlos Fuentes is Mexico's most celebrated novelist and critic. He has received numerous honors and awards throughout his lifetime, including the Miguel de Cervantes Prize and the Latin Literary Prize. Included among his books are Terra Nostra, Where the Air Is Clear, and Distant Relations.

Alejandro Branger is a writer and filmmaker. He lives in New York City.

Ethan Shaskan Bumas wrote the story collection The Price of Tea in China, which was a finalist for PEN America West Fiction Book of the Year. He teaches at New Jersey City University.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 112 pages
  • Publisher: Dalkey Archive Press; Tra edition (July 18, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1564787796
  • ISBN-13: 978-1564787798
  • Product Dimensions: 0.5 x 0.1 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,076,803 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Noovella on December 7, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Fuentes reinvents the Bram Stoker classic in Mexico City, when the count makes the journey from the old country to the new world with a specific goal in mind.

Before he joined the undead, through a ten-year-old girl vampire, he was the fourteen century Romanian ruler, Vlad the Impaler, also known as Dracula. If you don't know Vlad his unspeakable crimes are listed here. And they are not what terrifies you in this well-written short novel filled with graphic imagery.

It is the earnest attorney, Yves Navarro, who is tasked with Vlad's move to Mexico. Dark humor pervades the new tenant's many odd requests such as blackened windows, escape tunnel, and multiple drains.

Yves's domestic life appears tranquil, despite the loss of his eleven-year-old son, who disappeared in the ocean on a beach outing. He and his wife, Asunción, and his little girl live the middle class life. But it is the loss of their son that has opened the door for evil to enter the family.

This tale is more than a horror story; it also reveals the ignorance of ignoring or not noticing problems until it is too late. The reader always knows more than the clueless Yves. The vampire has his eyes on his wife and littler girl.

The book is comical at times with Vlad's fake toupee and mustache, but this novella is truly scary and horrible. Fuentes is an amazing stylist, and the story will creep you out and fill you with terror. This may not be Fuente's greatest work. but it has the fingerprints of a master all over it.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By readlikebreathing on October 12, 2012
Format: Hardcover
I think this may be one of my favorite re-imagined versions of Dracula since the original. The book is incredibly short, only about 100 pages as opposed to the Stoker version which is somewhere upwards of 500. But in that incredibly short space of time, Fuentes manages to create a story more chilling than the original. It's a must read for the Halloween season.

The story takes place in present day Mexico city, and though a lot of the story is cut out, the elements that remain are absolutely terrifying. It's the small things that Fuentes kept which helped retain the terror. The creepy aspects of the Count's appearance the main character couldn't explain or rationalize, the terrifying sidekick of the Count's, the oddly sexualized moments the stand in for Harker couldn't contend with, subtle things like the lack of mirrors.

However Fuentes takes it a step further, and in a modern day Dracula's house adds subtle touches that both make the Count seem more technilogically savy, as well as more terrifying. At one point something so gruesome happened I thought I would be sick, but in very much the same way Stoker handles it.

All together I love this book, which is published by the Dalkey Archive Press; An non-profit publisher that operates out the University of Illinois. Definitely go check them out, because they publish a lot of international books like this one that get overlooked by major publishers.
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Format: Hardcover
Count Vladimir Radu of Wallachia -- Vlad the Impaler, scourge of fifteenth-century Central Europe -- comes to contemporary Mexico City to settle down and resume the terrors necessary to sustain his eternal life.

If at first the premise sounds to you like a pitch made by a desperate screenwriter to a bunch of schlock-meister cable network execs, don't be misled. In the hands of a purposeful writer like Carlos Fuentes, an author of broad perspective and fluent literary skills, the conventional story line of vampire genre fiction mutates into a compelling allegory. The result is sly -- and deadly serious.

What Fuentes cares about is the unnervingly wayward state of our moral condition. I suspect he approached the writing of this book as an experiment testing whether, through the aura of the Devil, his message of warning could be freshly conveyed. I, for one, think Fuentes achieved his goal.

From the very start of "Vlad" the Devil's infiltration is felt. Page by page small stitches are added to the story's fabric, new notes of dread harbored in a word, a phrase, a gesture, an observation.

The first chapter introduces us to an aged attorney who heads a politically connected firm where the narrator, also an attorney, is employed. This old "holy terror" is a man of "moral flexibility" who comes from "obscure origins." He has "slithered" from one presidential administration to the next, growing in power while displaying "superficial courtesy and empty praise." He behavior is always accompanied by an "ironic smile." Later, in the fourth of 14 short chapters, when Count Vladimir Radu himself is introduced to us ("All my friends call me Vlad," he says), the narrator's reaction is simply this: "He looked like a ridiculous marionette.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Man of La Book on September 24, 2012
Format: Hardcover
Vlad by Car­los Fuentes is a short novel tak­ing place in Mex­ico City, Mex­ico. The story was part of the 2004 col­lec­tion "Inqui­eta Com­pañía" and recently came out as its own book trans­lated by Ale­jan­dro Branger and Ethan Shaskan Bumas

Count Drac­ula, Vlad, has decided to immi­grate toMex­ico after the may­hem inEast­ern Europe and count­less wars have short­ened his blood sup­plies. Vlad has ves­sels inMex­ico who intro­duce him Yves Navarro, a lawyer, and his wife Asun­ción, a real estate agent.

Yves and Asun­ción have lost a son in sea and Vlad entices them with the promise of see­ing their daugh­ter live for­ever, and remain a child eternally.

Vlad by Car­ols Fuentes takes on an inter­est­ing premise, what if Drac­ula still lived and set­tled inMex­ico City. As one might expect, there is a lot of dark humor in this book, start­ing with the strange requests the client is mak­ing of the real estate agent ("remote", "easy to defend") to the client's look which con­sists of a silly wig and glued on mustache.

What I found to be dif­fer­ent in this book is that the reader knows a lot more than the nar­ra­tor. This style of sto­ry­telling invig­o­rates the dark com­edy and brings a sense of omi­nous fore­bod­ing to banal and mean­ing­less lines said by the famous Count.

In this ren­di­tion of the story, Fuentes mar­ries vam­pire and lawyers - both server as ves­sels for unprin­ci­pled lust with­out ethics. As many vam­pire sto­ries do, they let the fan­tasy and myth reflect on our own lives through anec­dotes and metaphors.

While I'm not much for hor­ror and fear, I think this novel is a gem which clearly illus­trates the essence of great writ­ing, char­ac­ter­i­za­tion and flam­boy­ancy which are dif­fi­cult to pull off. The bal­ance between hor­ror and com­edy, debauch­ery and per­son­i­fi­ca­tion are per­fect and the campy, yet sur­real atmos­phere is almost magical.
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