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Where the Air Is Clear (Mexican Literature Series) Paperback – December 23, 2014


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Product Details

  • Series: Mexican Literature Series
  • Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Dalkey Archive Press; Available again edition (December 23, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1564783448
  • ISBN-13: 978-1564783448
  • Product Dimensions: 5.9 x 1.1 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 2.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #820,008 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"This is the most ambitious and skillful novel to come out of Mexico in a long time, and, at all odds, the most 'modern.' It's the most readable too." -- New York Times

About the Author

The author of more than a dozen novels and story collections, Carlos Fuentes (1928--2012) was Mexico's most celebrated novelist and critic. He received numerous honors and awards throughout his lifetime, including the Miguel de Cervantes Prize and the Belisario Domínguez Medal of Honor. Among his books are Terra Nostra, Vlad, Adam in Eden, and Distant Relations, all of which are available from Dalkey Archive Press.


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Customer Reviews

2.4 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

15 of 15 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on December 9, 1998
Format: Paperback
Considered by many to be Fuentes' all-time masterpiece, Where the Air is Clear (1958), his first novel, takes you on a roller-coaster tour of post-revolutionary Mexican urban history. It's all there, from roughneck taxi drivers and prostitues trying to make their daily bread, to bored members of a fading aristocracy, of which only the double-barreled names remain. The novel's diverse characters meet and unmeet in a bizarre range of social situations, ever-observed by the Spanish-Indigenous hybrid Ixca Cienfuegos. Cienfuegos, a type of Greek Chorus character who watches the ups and downs of the novel's cast like a mad-scientist doing an experiment, doesn't hesitate to drop in for a chat to the characters, provoking them to pour out their hearts in sometimes tedious monologues. If you have a basic grasp of Mexico's history you'll understand this novel better, although if you don't know the history, a stack of not too subtle symbols will help you out. (A young member of a once aristocratic family looks at herself in a mirror, while Vivaldi plays on a scratched record in the background. That kind of thing.) Don't take this novel to the beach, it ain't a beach novel. Argentine writer Julio Cortazar, in a letter to Fuentes after reading the book, summed it up: ``You've given in to the magnificent sin committed by so many first-time novel writers..you've put a whole world into 500 pages.'' A rare Latin American urban epic, this book is certainly worth reading for anyone with an interest in the Mexican psyche. If you want to see how the thinking behind Octavio Paz's Labyrinth of Solitude would work, applied to a TV mini-series, and have a few days to spare, give it a go.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Gloria Bowles on July 29, 2007
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Mexico is the major character in this first novel by Carlos Fuentes. It helps to be enamored of Mexico or interested in the history and politics of Central and Latin America. It's a hard read; I found it a rewarding, often entertaining and above all enlightening one. By the way, the original Spanish title is "La Region Mas Transparente," quite different from the English translation.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I have friends who assured me that if I were more diligent and kept reading that it would eventually make sense. I tried, several times. But there was no way I could make it through this. There was not a single character I liked and not an action I understood. This was the book that created Fuentes'fame and fortune. I have a friend here in Mexico who told me that when she was in her 20's her Mexican friends were all reading this and loving it (in the mid-sixties, I think). My hat's off to them.
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By jackie mahan on November 6, 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Wow, put it down in an airport and left it...
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