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The Death of Artemio Cruz

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3.86 of 5 stars 3.86  ·  rating details  ·  4,900 ratings  ·  267 reviews
Hailed as a masterpiece since its publication in 1962, The Death of Artemio Cruz is Carlos Fuentes's haunting voyage into the soul of modern Mexico. Its acknowledged place in Latin American fiction and its appeal to a fresh generation of readers have warranted this new translation by Alfred Mac Adam, translator (with the author) of Fuentes's Christopher Unborn.

As in all hi
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Paperback, 307 pages
Published May 1st 1991 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux (first published 1962)
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One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcí­a MárquezLove in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel Garcí­a MárquezThe House of the Spirits by Isabel AllendeLike Water for Chocolate by Laura EsquivelThe Alchemist by Paulo Coelho
Latina/Latino Fiction
37th out of 432 books — 715 voters
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Mexican Literature
4th out of 96 books — 50 voters


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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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brian
carlos fuentes is another one of those latin american writers that makes me hate myself. beyond his tremendous skill as a novelist, he's good looking, well dressed (the world was just cooler when novelists and film directors wore suits), worldly, dashing, daring, and claims to have slept with jean seberg and jeanne moreau. the bastard.

and then i came across an article he had written (first three paragraphs below) and now hate him as the series mentioned would probably be my favorite bunch of bo
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Ben Winch
It's hard when a good friend recommends a book so highly and you can't come to the party. Artemio Cruz, the great Latin American novel? I can't see it. In synopsis, maybe, it's got everything the genre requires: ex-revolutionary soldier turned landowner through loveless relationship with big man's daughter becomes corrupt politician and media magnate and reflects, on his death-bed, on all the people he's shafted. It's the Citizen Kane of Mexico. But for all that, to me it doesn't have half the p ...more
Iván

el estilo de fuentes parece que simplemente no es para mi. tendré que leer "aura" para ver como es en algo más corto, pero en sus novelas largas lo encuentro como desagradablemente enfocado a estilo sobre substancia. además, su prosa no me es agradable, me parece falta de vida, demasiada académica. y, la verdad, encuentro pretencioso la forma en que sin más busca traer "grandes ideas" antes que contar una historia.
para ser justos el libro tenia buenos momentos. la relación de artemio con su espo
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Alejandro Bravo
I had to read a book for my high school World Literature class and chose to read this book in particular because it seemed to be interesting. I did not know what to expect from this book because it caught me by surprise. The book starts off with a surprise in use of explicitness , the author Carlos Fuentes use rich imagery and other techniques to catch a reader and keep them focused and reading wanting to read on; though the novel is not simple it helps open up your imagination and think about w ...more
Maria
“No existe la libertad, sino la búsqueda de la libertad, y esa búsqueda es la que nos hace libres”.

Mi admiración por Carlos Fuentes crece con cada libro. Una vez lo escuche decir en una entrevista que si él escribe, es gracias a "Don Quijote" de Miguel de Cervantes, libro que sin falta leía año tras año cada verano y, sin duda, este grandioso autor sabía utilizar la belleza de nuestro vocabulario para contarnos historias y cuentos que nos invaden de emociones, de idealismos. Historias que nos tr
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Joselito Honestly and Brilliantly
Seventy-one-year-old Artemio Cruz is dying. He is a very rich and powerful man, made ruthless, godless and corrupt by his hard childhood and his soldiering during the Mexican revolution during which he had cheated death several times and had done, and suffered, betrayals. After the revolution, through corrupt wheeling and dealing and use of force for self-aggrandizement he became extremely rich. He now owns vast tracks of land, companies, a newspaper and, by himself, he is a major political play ...more
David Lentz
Artemio Cruz is a man whose impending death compels him to look back over the span of his life to re-live its peak experiences. In a real sense Cruz was more than a man living in Mexico during a time of revolution: he is a microcosm of Mexico itself. I deeply respect and admire the inventive, narrative technique, which in some respects is revolutionary. The switch of narrative voice in its person is daring and works brilliantly to make the narrative come alive. The story line becomes personal an ...more
Jason
Aug 31, 2007 Jason rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Those interested in Mexican identity or modern Mexican history.
Fuentes sums up the Mexican reality in the monumental "Chingar" Chapter. If you can read in Spanish, you must read this book in the original language. Something is lost in translation when you read about F*#K for a dozen pages or so. A thought provoking book that should be studied along with the Mexican Revolution and Post-Revolutionary Mexico for adequate historical context.
Jan
Apr 27, 2013 Jan rated it 5 of 5 stars
Shelves: 2013
I read this book for the fourth time this year. I read it first in about 1986. At that time, I read Carlos Fuentes's own English version. Later a new translation was published to rave reviews, so I read it again. I cannot remember when I read it for the third time, but I know I started encouraging friends and family to read it but got few if any takers.

Now, reading it with the Facebook group "Classics and Impossible Reads," I understand why few persisted through the first 50 pages. It is TOUGH
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Vicky G
La muerte de Artemio Cruz es una novela cautivadora que cuenta la vida y los recuerdos de Artemio Cruz en su lecho de muerto. Me encantó el lenguaje de esta novela, lo cual ilumina los pensamientos críticos y secos de Artemio Cruz. El vagar entre lo presente y el pasado se hace de una manera verdaderamente fascinante, y me parece que es bastante fisiológicamente preciso. Las memorias, los cuales son provocados por olores o palabras u observaciones, nos enseñan la vida vergonzosa y corrompida de ...more
Amy
This is my second venture into Fuentes, the first being "The Crystal Frontier." While "Crystal" was seemingly a bunch of short stories and "Artemio" is written as diary entries, I thought there was a definite connection in their forms. In "Crystal" the short stories often feature a lot of the same characters and all work together to paint a picture of existence on the literal and figurative "border." "Artemio" sometimes feels like disjointed anecdotes since the diary entries are not chronologica ...more
Mohamed Karaly
رواية ممتازة ، ضايقنى فيها بس ما يمكن أن أسميه : انفصال التقنية عن الرواية
فى رواية زى (مئة عام من العزلة) الرواية هى التقنية ..و انت بعد ما تخلص الرواية مابتفتكرش منها إلا تقنيتها ..و جهد التقنية مش ظاهر ..من كتر ما التقنية كانت مشبعة تماما بوظيفتها
كذلك فى رواية (بدرو بارامو) العبقرية للمكسيكى خوان رولفو
أما فى (أرتيميو كروث) فالتقنية صوتها عالى وواضحة : الراوى منقسم على ذاته و الرواية متقسمة ل3 منطلقات سردية : الأول بيبدأ بأنا مطبوعة بحبر تقيل و هى عبارة عن تداعى خواطر الراوى بضمير المتكلم و
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Jana
I should have known going in that since A) we chose it for our Classics/Impossibles group and B) Harold Bloom edited an interpretation of the book featuring multiple essays, I was in for a challenge.

I found it beautifully written in parts and exasperatingly difficult in parts. And after reading the first essay (Structure and Theme in Fuentes' La muerte de Artemio Cruz...way more interesting than the title sounds!) I see that I have much to learn about the book I just finished. But I still found
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Mark
Caveat: This review is specific to my current, idiosyncratic reading needs. Specifically, I need not to have my depression exacerbated. Short version: if you are ill and trying not to focus on your physical being, and would be disturbed by the graphic depiction of the physical decomposition and mental fragmentation of a dying protagonist who is sociopathic, power-consumed, hateful and in no imaginable way sympathetic, don't read this book. Longer version follows.

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Some people achieve gre
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Dusty
Aug 23, 2010 Dusty rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommended to Dusty by: Cesar Salgado
The Great Mexican Novel? The Great Novel of the Latin American "Boom" Generation? However you describe La muerte de Artemio Cruz's greatness, you'll need a capital G.

The book, which is generally regarded as Carlos Fuentes's best -- I'll resist endorsing that statement now, for I haven't read any other of his fictional works, but I acknowledge it'd be hard to beat -- tells the sinister, obfuscated story of the failure of the Mexican Revolution by way of the sinister, obfuscated character Artemio
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David
This was the first Fuentes book I ever read and he hooked me. I am now buying and reading all the rest. He is one of the great writers of the 21st century and totally overshadowed by Garcia Marquez and Vargas Llossa.

This book is the story of Artemio Cruz as he reflects upon his life from the Mexican Revolution. He made it rich and did dubvious things to gain power. He seems to have no regrets but I won't give the story away.

Written in the early 1960s, Fuentes uses early post modern style which
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Trenton Judson
This book blew me away! Fuentes narrative style is nothing short of genius. He takes a man's life and presents the man in a way that none of us like to imagine that we are: human. It seems that so many of us either idealize or demonize people, including ourselves, instead of seeing what we really are, which is something unique and capable of mistakes and goodness. Fuentes also weaves in some historical information about Mexico and that gives it an authenticity that is very personal and intriguin ...more
Michelle
Cruz is the bastard son of a decayed landowner and a slave. And it's his story we unravel as we start reading about the thoughts of a dying man, Cruz, on his death bed. The Mexican Revolution makes Cruz into an idealistic minor hero but, due to various events that mark his life, his idealism is destroyed and his lust for power and ambition turn him into the very same corrupt exploiter he had initially fought against. As we read his thoughts he is remorseless for his actions.
Carlos Fuentes uses a
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Becky
There are pros and cons to my annual read-a-book-in-Spanish self-imposed requirement.

Pros:
1. I feel oh-so-cultured and smart.
2. My Spanish is back to near-fluent levels by the second half of the book.

Cons:
1. I have basically no idea what happened in the first half of the book.
2. It takes freaking forever.

Based on what I actually understood, this is a pretty darn good novel about Mexico and an old dude named Artemio. However, shifting perspectives, Mexican idioms, and lots of historical/political
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Peter Landau
THE DEATH OF ARTEMIO CRUZ by Carlos Fuentes reads like a literary take on CITIZEN KANE only further south.The style is similar, cut up and jumping around in time and place, only the newspaper magnate protagonist here is more of a sensualist. The story is fragmented in point of view, too, from first- to second- to third-person, creating an intimate account of the dying body, a trial by conscious and a biographical narrative all rolled up into one. Through the main character we are carried over th ...more
Kristel
I read a translation by Alfred Mac Adam. This is the story of Artemio Cruz. The reader is introduced to Artemio as he lays dying. The story is told in a series of stream of conscious technique. Artemio takes us back in his life but not in chronological order and then back to the sick room where he is surrounded by his wife, daughter, granddaughter, the priest and Padilla. The author is really telling the story of Mexico through the life of Artemio. Artemio Cruz is not a real person but the revol ...more
Kevin Tole
I've read much by other reviewers on this book and a lot seems to focus on it's changes of person, tense and sense. I enjoyed the book immensely, not just for what it is but also for what it represents and also for the debate that it always raises.
I have no problem with the change in viewpoint - from 'I' to 'You' to 'He' - in fact I really enjoyed this chimerical form of being able to say 'look, this is a different viewpoint'. I found this to be really Joycean - or possibly even more like Joyce'
...more
Bob
Nov 19, 2013 Bob rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Bob by: Jacqueline Rice
Shelves: latin-america
This really could be the best thing I will ever read. The novel's structure is enormously complex: an allegory of 20th century Mexican history, using the structure of Dante's inferno, the protagonist experiences twelve decisive days of his life, not only out of temporal sequence (they would be 10th, 5th, 3rd, 6th, 7th, 11th, 4th, 8th, 9th, 12th, 2nd, 1st), but past, present, and future constantly interplay.
It is beautifully written. Going over a mountain pass: "Liberado de la fatalidad de un s
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Val
I am almost terrified to try and write a review of this novel, because nothing I could say would do it justice.
This is story of the life of a former revolutionary as he remembers it, while he is close to death. It is also the story of Mexico. Cruz is a soldier, not a politician, so the politics is given in remembered conversations.
The narrative is not linear; each memory triggers more, so we see scenes from Artemio Cruz's life in flashback. It could be described as a stream of consciousness nove
...more
Karlo Mikhail
Following in the vein of old Tolstoy’s The Death of Ivan Ilych, Carlos Fuentes’ The Death of Artemio Cruz takes off at the deathbed of the main character and from there launches into a long, winded, and circuitous journey into memory.

If Tolstoy took as the model for his attack the old aristocratic classes in the person of the judge Ivan Ilych, Fuentes’ Artemio Cruz personifies the big bourgeois comprador class as situated in the Mexican social condition.

Through Tolstoy, said Lenin, “the Russian
...more
Anne Byrd
The Death of Artemio Cruz, by Carlos Fuentes, is a work that takes its reader on a journey of revolution, corruption, and the ever present desire for power. Told through flashbacks from Artemio's deathbed, the work has almost a dreamlike quality to it. The flashbacks are not told in chronological order, amplifying the reader's awareness of the fact that Artemio is dying and losing the sense of order and control that he practiced his entire life. This is also reflected in the narration style, whi ...more
Smatarese
Apr 03, 2010 Smatarese rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Mexican History fans
Recommended to Smatarese by: WLU LACS 256
A tale of Mexico’s experience during the 20th century, Carlos Fuentes’s novel The Death of Artemio Cruz tells the fictional life story of Artemio Cruz from his humbling beginnings to the his status as powerful owner of Mexican newspapers and power broker of the Mexican economy. The tale, which begins with Artemio Cruz lying on his deathbed in a hospital in Mexico and ends with his actual death in the same hospital room, narrates Artemio’s life and times through flashbacks—narrated by Artemio him ...more
MaryFrances Weatherly
Dec 16, 2009 MaryFrances Weatherly added it
Recommends it for: Anyone interested in the Mexican Revolution
Recommended to MaryFrances by: Spanish professor
The Death of Artemio Cruz by Carlos Fuentes is a novel about 20th century Mexico, portrayed through the life of Artemio Cruz, a young soldier in the Mexican Revolution who becomes a wealthy and corrupt landowner. The novel recounts the events of Cruz’s life from his deathbed as his family tries to persuade him to reveal the location of his will. My favorite aspect of The Death of Artemio Cruz is the way that Fuentes describes the corruption of Mexico during the 20th century. With each page, I wa ...more
Geoffrey Fox
Muestra como se institucionalizaron la corrupción y la injusticia en México desde la revolución, a través de la biografía de Artemio Cruz (n. 1889, m. 1960) que, en su lecho de muerte, recuerda episodios de su vida. Hombre alto (1,85 m.), fuerte y buenmozo (ojos verdes, pelo crespo) en su juventud, es una mezcla de gran audacia y egoismo materialista, siempre buscando la mejor manera de salvar el pellejo y enriquecerse. Como teniente carrancista en 1915, huye las balas villistas y abandona un so ...more
Jon Stout
Esta novela me hace recordar de lugares en Mexico donde he estado y personajes mexicanos que he conocido. Por ejemplo, el autor describe la Casa de Azulejos Sanborns en la ciudad de Mexico. La persona de Artemio Cruz, de varias edades, me hace pensar de companeros estudiantiles, de jovenes tantos serios como vacilones, de comerciantes y gerentes de negocios, y de un profesor sabio que tenia hace anos. Me gustaria saber si Carlos Slim a veces piensa como Artemio Cruz, aunque Slim esta viviendo un ...more
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The death of artemio Cruz 6 46 Jun 09, 2012 04:06PM  
  • Los de abajo
  • The Lost Steps
  • The President
  • Here's to You, Jesusa!
  • El llano en llamas
  • Los recuerdos del porvenir
  • The Labyrinth of Solitude and Other Writings
  • El astillero
  • Paradiso
  • Boquitas pintadas
  • I, the Supreme
  • Gogol's Wife and Other Stories
  • El cuarto de atrás
  • Los ríos profundos
  • The Obscene Bird of Night
  • Three Trapped Tigers
  • Las muertas
  • The Collected Stories of Peter Taylor
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Carlos Fuentes Macías was a Mexican writer and one of the best-known novelists and essayists of the 20th century in the Spanish-speaking world. Fuentes influenced contemporary Latin American literature, and his works have been widely translated into English and other languages.

Fuentes was born in Panama City, Panama; his parents were Mexican. Due to his father being a diplomat, during his childhoo
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“Perdiste tu inocencia en el mundo de afuera. No podrás recuperarla aquí adentro, en el mundo de los afectos. Quizá tuviste tu jardín. Yo también tuve el mío, mi pequeño paraíso. Ahora ambos lo hemos perdido. Trata de recordar. No puedes encontrar en mí lo que ya sacrificaste, lo que ya perdiste para siempre y por tu propia obra. No sé de dónde vienes. No sé qué has hecho. Sólo sé que en tu vida perdiste lo que después me hiciste perder a mí: el sueño, la inocencia. Ya nunca seremos los mismos.” 5 likes
“Tú y yo, miembros de esa masonería: la orden de la chingada. Eres quien eres porque supiste chingar y no te dejaste chingar; eres quien eres porque no supiste chingar y te dejaste chingar: cadena de la chingada que nos aprisiona a todos...” 3 likes
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