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Happy Families: Stories

3.37  ·  Rating Details  ·  442 Ratings  ·  42 Reviews
The internationally acclaimed author Carlos Fuentes, winner of the Cervantes Prize and the Latin Civilization Award, delivers a stunning work of fiction about family and love across an expanse of Mexican life, reminding us why he has been called “a combination of Poe, Baudelaire, and Isak Dinesen” (Newsweek).

In these masterly vignettes, Fuentes explores Tolstoy’s classic
Hardcover, 384 pages
Published September 23rd 2008 by Random House (first published 2006)
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En lo que a mí respecta, este es un texto vivificante. Uno que me permite reencontrarme con el Carlos Fuentes cuyos libros me gustan, Fuentes el de Agua quemada, La frontera de cristal, La silla del águila, Las buenas conciencias y, por supuesto, La cabeza de la hidra —aunque a muchos no les agrada ni tantito— y La región más transparente. Fuentes el que contaba historias, el que creaba buenos personajes, el que dejaba fluir las palabras, no el que busaba de ellas y amontonaba términos solo porq ...more
Jim Fonseca
Sep 06, 2015 Jim Fonseca rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mexican-authors
As Tolstoy wrote in Anna Karenina, happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way. Truth in advertising: mostly these short stories give us unhappy middle- and upper-class Mexican families. The setting is modern Mexico, although since Fuentes published this work in 2006, when he was nearing 80, some family stories go back a ways and there is a lot of reflecting on Mexico City and how neighborhoods and districts changed from the “old days.” In several stories an olde ...more
Κατερίνα Μαλακατέ

Η ουσία των βιβλίων του Φουέντες είναι η λήξη, η αίσθηση της κάθαρσης στο τέλος σαν να πρόκειται για αρχαία τραγωδία, είτε πρόκειται για μυθιστόρημα, είτε για συλλογή διηγημάτων. Αυτή είναι η τέχνη της αφήγησης στην παλαιότερη μορφή της, που σε βάζει να σκέφτεσαι, να σκέφτεσαι, να αισθάνεσαι, να αισθάνεσαι, τόσο που να μην μπορείς πια, να μην θέλεις να τελειώσει, να διαβάσεις το τέλος.
«Όλες οι ευτυχισμένες οικογένειες», όλες οι Λατινοαμερικάνικες ευτυχισμ
Sep 17, 2013 Eric rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Is it possible that this book is new to goodreads? Title is ironic of course. Fuentes takes his cue from Tolstoy, and drives it home through a series of seriously unhappy families and slashing poetic excursions. Some stumbles (the finale did not work for me), but most surely footed, intensely probed and often illuminating about the uniqueness of unhappy families.
José Vivas M.
Jan 14, 2013 José Vivas M. rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2010
Un conjunto de cuentos, de amplísimo rango formal, sobre las familias, las relaciones filiales, y sus múltiples disfunciones, tragedias, sinsabores, ironías. La frase en la contratapa me compró: «Yo vengo de una familia en la que cada miembro dañaba de algún modo a los demás. Luego, arrepentidos, cada uno se dañaba a sí mismo.»
Dec 08, 2008 June rated it did not like it
Too artsy-fartsy for me. Couldn't really follow what was going on. It was like the author was enamored with portraying marriages with over the top descriptions of people living grim, violent, depressed lives. Yuck.
Dec 26, 2011 Ben rated it really liked it
I truly enjoyed this book because the stories focus on people that have different
problems in their families, immediate and extended. It is not an easy read but I
would hightly recommend it.
Jul 18, 2012 Nicolet rated it really liked it
I just read a flipping telenovela--nutty priests, love affairs, tweens trying to break free from their parents, servants not happy with their bosses, etc.
May 26, 2009 Karen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Great writing because you know, it's Carlos Fuentes...but really depressing stories. Read at your own risk.
Edward Jawer
The great Mexican writer Carlos Fuentes has come up with a fascinating book of short stories, all with the same theme.
Beginning with Tolstoy's first sentence from "Anna Karrenina", "All happy families are alike, etc.", he presents a group of short stories, all linked to unhappy families.

At first glance, this may seem a bit farfetched, but believe me, Fuentes is no ordinary word magician. His stories, ranging from poetic to street language, to bizarre interfamily relationships, is mezmerizing.

Jul 24, 2016 Kristine rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: the-pantheon
I took two years to read this book. Note that I don't say it took ME two years; I deliberately read it at this pace, both because it is a work of art and because I needed to savor its languages in particular ways. I started it in Edith Grossman's English translation, both because I know how far out of reach Mexican Spanish is for me and because I agree with her that a translation is a work of literature in itself (hers are, anyway.) Pretty quickly I had to get the original Spanish version becaus ...more
Editorial Alfaguara
Yo vengo de una familia en la que cada miembro daaba de algn modo a los dems. Luego, arrepentidos, cada uno se daaba a s mismo. Un ranchero quiere que sus cuatro hijos sean sacerdotes; ellos piensan distinto. Un hombre es humillado por su patrn; su hijo quisiera humillarlo ms. Una madre renuncia a su carrera de cantante y se pregunta si vali la pena; su hija renuncia al mundo y vive a travs de los reality shows. El hijo del presidente se rebela contra su padre, pero depende de su proteccin. Una ...more
Aug 04, 2012 Helenezb rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Magnifique mais tellement trash que ma lecture au début enthousiaste s'est ralentit jusqu'à ce que je me demande si j'allais finir ce gros livre de nouvelles.

"De mirage en mirage, de Venise à Split, le monde des souvenirs se changeait en monde des désirs et, entre les deux, battait un cœur lui-même partagé par un amour mis à l'épreuve entre le passé et le présent."

"On a besoin d'amis tristes pour leur raconter ce qu'on ne peut pas dire à son amant. On a besoin d'amis disponibles pour nous accord
Apr 12, 2011 Facebrooker rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: cuentos
Debo empezar diciendo que creí que su nombre representaba el de un gran escritor, lamentablemente su selección de cuentos sobre las “familias y sus demonios” son básicamente un despliegue de condescendencia snob hacia los clichés de familias mexicanas y no sólo mexicanas. Entre líneas me parece que lo que trata de decir o reflejar es cómo su familia era adepta a sentirse non plus ultra, y por lo tanto denostar a los mexicanos más pobres y algunos de clase media no ilustrada, es constante el uso ...more
Oct 17, 2015 Carmen rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Cuando se lee, siempre se es "voyeur" pero con esto libro lo sentí de manera todavía más aguda. Nunca sabe uno lo que se esconde intra-muros, lo que esconde esa carita bonita, o ese personaje de aspecto feróz.

Una realidad que incomoda. Me doy cuenta que he tenido mucha suerte, es un mundo que, por suerte, no conosco.
It's immersive and it shows aspects of reality. It's not afraid of going from crass to suspiciously pretentious. It's basically full with blueprints for novels, it's super compact (and sometimes feels too dense) but one 20 page story can build more tension than a 200 page novel
Chrissa Vasileiou
Nov 26, 2014 Chrissa Vasileiou rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: novel
Μικρές,καθημερινές ιστορίες από την πένα ενός μεγάλου δημιουργού για συνηθισμένες οικογένειες - τα όνειρα,οι διαψευσμένες προσδοκίες και οι κρυφοί πόθοι,το σαράκι της καθημερινότητας και η επιφυλακτικότητα της διαφορετικότητας συναντώνται σ' αυτό το υπέροχο βιβλίου του τεράστιου Carlos Fuentes.Ένα βιβλίο που όλοι μπορούν να διαβάσουν,αλλά που θα το ρουφήξουν περισσότερο όσοι αγαπούν αυτήν την όμορφη,πολύχρωμη,πολυπρόσωπη,μυστικιστική και βασανισμένη χώρα,το Μεξικό. Αυτό το βιβλίο "μυρίζει" Μεξικ ...more
Oscar Moran
Aug 16, 2007 Oscar Moran rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Great compilation of short stories. Fuentes includes a broad range of characters from different social classes, economic means, and forms of family structure.

As a whole it shows the great diversity of contemporary Mexican society and how "family" can be understood in more ways than the traditional nuclear mom+dad+kids way.

The stories themselves are full of life, intricate depth, and humor. It is a very enjoyable read especially for those interested in Latin American literature.

Needless to say,
Sep 01, 2013 Pat rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I am fast coming to the conclusion that I have a real problem with South American authors. Such a shame that this is the subject for the nest term of my literature group! So, I struggled through this book and I can't say that I enjoyed it a great deal. Some of the stories were passably enjoyable, but I hated the sexual violence in many of them. Heaven only knows how our rather elderly group will get on with discussing it - not with our usual freedom and vigour I am sure. I am sure that Carlos Fu ...more
Feb 01, 2016 Gise rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Habían algunos relatos maravillosos, aunque me considero muy fanática de las historias cortas, estas en su mayoría me resultaron aburridas.
Jul 16, 2013 Lily rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
(Disclaimer: I read this in English but couldn't find the English version on Goodreads)

This was super forgettable. Every story kind of seemed the same, with these stoic, accepting Mexican women and their ambitious, playboy, assholic husbands. Not very compelling after the third or fourth. I did really like the story about the gay couple, but other than that I didn't care for this collection of short stories. Bummer! I'm not proving very good at choosing random fiction for myself!
The most depressing book I've ever read. Never finished.
Apr 20, 2009 Olivia rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I did not like the last story, but otherwise I found the writing in this very compelling and often poetic. He has a gift of writing and understanding people and families, in a kind of disturbing way. Most of my family relationships are not like anything in this book, but I found myself identifying with the root issues. I would probably give it 3.25 stars if you could do fractions.
Gustavo Rivera
Aug 07, 2011 Gustavo Rivera rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Excelente representación de las costumbres, vicios y errores de las familias mexicanas. Desde las más humildes hasta las más complejas, desde las más simples hasta las más poderosas. Altamente recomendable, para leerlo y sobre todo para comprenderlo.
José Pedraza
Probablemente una mala elección de primera lectura de Fuentes. Algunas buenas historias, pero algunas de plano no me gustaron. Me gusta leer libros que me hagan pensar un poco y que al final los entienda, éste es muy directo en mi opinión.
Aug 06, 2011 Rodrigo rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
El primero de Fuentes que no me gusta. Hay algunos relatos muy buenos, como si Fuentes pudiera escribir alguna vez mal, pero el conjunto me aburrió mucho. Ni modo. No siempre se puede...
Dec 23, 2015 David rated it really liked it
this collection of stories of contemporary Mexican life is a rewarding yet disturbing read. all connected to families, their dysfunctionality reigns throughout.
May 27, 2010 Claudia rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Why do I keep on trying to like short stories when I know perfectly well I don't. But I like Fuentes. This will stay on my "currently-reading" for a long time...
Eduardo Sánchez
Un escritor muy cercano al día a día de los mexicanos que retrata en este libro muchas de las cosas que pasan en cualquier familia (aunque muchos lo nieguen).
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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
More about Carlos Fuentes...

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“Love can isolate us from everything around us. But in its absence, we can be filled with the fear that something comparable exists.” 35 likes
“No, it's not that they're bad. It's that they're obliged to pretend they're good. They've been brought up to deceive and be cunning, to protect themselves from our society. I don't want to be like that.” 28 likes
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