Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Death of Artemio Cruz” as Want to Read:
The Death of Artemio Cruz
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Death of Artemio Cruz

3.86  ·  Rating details ·  8,740 ratings  ·  576 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
Paperback, 307 pages
Published May 1st 1991 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux (first published 1962)
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Death of Artemio Cruz, please sign up.
Popular Answered Questions
This question contains spoilers… (view spoiler)
Emilia There definitely appears the figure of the father.

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 3.86  · 
Rating details
 ·  8,740 ratings  ·  576 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of The Death of Artemio Cruz
Ahmad Sharabiani
La Muerte de Artemio Cruz = The Death of Artemio Cruz, Carlos Fuentes

The Death of Artemio Cruz is a novel written in 1962, by Mexican writer Carlos Fuentes.

It is considered to be a milestone in the Latin American Boom. Artemio Cruz, a corrupt soldier, politician, journalist, tycoon, and lover, lies on his deathbed, recalling the shaping events of his life, from the Mexican Revolution through the development of the Institutional Revolutionary Party.

His family crowds around, pressing him to rev
Jim Fonseca
May 27, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: spanish-authors
The book’s title is truth in advertising. We are at the deathbed of a man 71 years old. He reminisces about his life and in the process gives us a mini-history of modern Mexico. He also tells us in overly-medical detail about his pains and symptoms. His wife, daughter and son-in-law are usually by his bedside and he despises all of them.

Like many men who were in war, in his old age he goes back to those events as the most significant in his life. In Artemio’s case it was episodes during the Mexi
Sep 28, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: best-2016
You are on your death-bed, suffering from an affliction of uncertain causes, Artemio Cruz. Surrounded by people you dislike, although they are part of your family, you are drifting from dream to reality, from past to present. “Time… will exist only in the reconstruction of isolated memory, in the flight of isolated desire, which will be lost once the chance to live is used up, incarnate in this singular individual that you are, a boy, already a moribund old man…"

Your mind is chaotically travell
Sep 30, 2008 rated it liked it
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, worldly, dashing, daring, and claims to have slept with jean seberg and jeanne moreau. the bastard.

and then i come across the article below and all my self-hatred is directed solely at him: the series mentioned would surely be my favorite bunch of books ever written... except they don't exist.

"In the fall of 1967 I happened to be i
Ben Winch
Dec 12, 2012 rated it liked it
Recommended to Ben by: Eldonfoil TH*E Whatever Champion
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
I thought the premise of the story sounded interesting - Artemio Cruz (no relation to that other guy named Cruz) is a corrupt... well, everything: politician, soldier, man. He's on his deathbed now, and the story hops around in time to tell his story of each major event of his life, back to the "present" of his deathbed experience. The premise is great, I love the idea of the bouncing around, the storytelling aspect.

But the story itself was not always easy to read, and by that I mean the way tha
This novel made a huge impression on me. Read as part of my 1962 reading list, it was the original translation by Sam Hileman, Fuentes's translator throughout the 1960s.

Artemio Cruz was a fictional impoverished mulatto. In his teens, he ran away to fight in the Mexican Revolution but later betrayed the ideals of that conflict and through sharp dealing became a wealthy and influential financier.

Artemio is dying all the way through the novel, but looking back from his sickbed and through the dr
Dec 02, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Dusty by: Cesar Salgado
Shelves: read-in-2010
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
Alejandro Bravo
Nov 11, 2009 rated it it was amazing
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
Czarny Pies
Nov 12, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone interested in Mexican history.
Shelves: spanish-lit
This is unquestionably a great novel about the upwardly mobile middle classes under the PRI (Partido Revolucionario Institucional) during the period from roughly 1900 to 1962. Our protagonist Artemio Cruz is on his death bed refusing to make a confession to his priest as the Catholic Church is one enemy he absolutely refuses to pardon.

Cruz had been born into a family of very modest means. The Mexican revolutionary wars from 1911 to 1920 set Cruz onto path that will allow him to become very rich.
Inderjit Sanghera
Jun 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing
An old man on his death-bed reminisces on his past, with the sepulchral prism of death opening his eyes to the emptiness of his achievements; from his days as a young revolutionary, to his relationship with his wife, to his rise in Mexican society as a newspaper magnate, to his innate sense of violence and domination which shaped his relationship with the wider world, 'The Death of Artemio Cruz' is an exploration of the life of a man who too late realises that the things which he felt gave meani ...more
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
Ah, the mid-century third-world novel. Once, leftist writers throughout Latin America, Africa, and Asia, informed by Brecht and Tolstoy, wrote epics of peasants and landlords, colonizers and compradors, but those days have long since passed...

Which sucks. These are the sorts of novels we're forgetting how to read, ones both strongly grounded in a specific place and culture, yet universalist and humanist in their aspirations. Novels from the "third world" are of course still popular, but the ones
Miriam Cihodariu
Feb 17, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: mexico
The book is written from the viewpoint of the main character, Artemio Cruz, who is now dying on a hospital bed. Every other chapter, we switch from his incoherent end-of-physical-life thoughts to a clearer style, throwbacks to when he was younger. We are meant to follow how a brave revolutionary loses the love of his life and turns calculated and cold, eventually becoming a tyrant and a corrupt figure in the country for which he once fought. It's all about minor decisions that lead his moral fib ...more
David Lentz
Jun 11, 2011 rated it really liked it
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
Sidharth Vardhan
One of top ten Latin American books I have read.
Robert Sheard
Unfortunately, I got very little from this book. At times it's all but impenetrable, which is disappointing because I loved the premise (a dying man looking back at important moments of his long life).

I just didn't have the tools necessary to get into this (Mexican history, etc.).
A true masterpiece written by Carlos Fuentes who describes the reminiscences of the death of the main character, a Mexican landlord.

As the background, a severe critic to the political Mexican system existing at that time.

4* Aura
4,5* The Death of Artemio Cruz
TR Terra Nostra
Kelly_Hunsaker_reads ...
The Death of Artemio Cruz, by Carlos Fuentes was published in 1962 and is considered a classic and a milestone in Mexican and Latin American literature. It is a book about the Mexican Revolution, about which I know nothing. And I am quite convinced that this is a book I will need to reread some day if I want to take the story in well. It has so much to learn and digest and I think I probably missed a great deal.

The story is told by our main character, Artemio Cruz, who lies on his deathbed remem
Mar 07, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: mexican-lit
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
Sep 21, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: foreign-language
There are pros and cons to my annual read-a-book-in-Spanish self-imposed requirement.

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

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
Dec 20, 2014 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I recognize why this is a literary masterpiece, but the only satisfying part of the book for me was when I came to the final page. It never captured my attention or caused a desire to learn more about the Mexican Revolution. At the halfway point I stopped and went back to reread from the beginning to try to understand what was happening and where it might be going. That was slightly helpful, but not enough so that I want to reread the entire book.
Aug 31, 2007 rated it really liked it
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.
May 26, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: español, literature
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.


Some people achieve gre
Missy J
Oct 31, 2016 rated it it was ok
The plot sounded promising.

Right at the beginning, the reader comes across a dying Artemio Cruz. He is surrounded by his wife Catalina, their daughter Teresa, a priest and a doctor. But internally, Cruz curses them, he just wants to see his assistant Padilla and make sure that Padilla is safeguarding the audio recordings of his business dealings and the money.

Then with each subsequent chapter, we see flashbacks of Cruz' life; as a poor, young soldier during the Mexican Revolution, his one true
Vicky G
Dec 16, 2009 rated it it was amazing
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
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
Feb 19, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Apr 19, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: book-club
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
Trenton Judson
Jan 04, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 next »

Readers also enjoyed

  • Los de abajo
  • Pedro Páramo
  • El llano en llamas
  • The President
  • Cartucho: Relatos de la lucha en el norte de México
  • The Labyrinth of Solitude and Other Writings
  • The Green House
  • Conversation in the Cathedral
  • The Feast of the Goat
  • The Lost Steps
  • La ciudad y los perros
  • Las batallas en el desierto
  • I, the Supreme (Trilogía sobre el monoteísmo del poder #2)
  • The Kingdom of This World
  • El gesticulador
  • Hopscotch
  • Los recuerdos del porvenir
See similar books…
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

News & Interviews

There's something great about a paperback book: They're perfect book club choices, you can throw them in your bag and go, and they've been out in...
26 likes · 3 comments
“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.” 11 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...” 7 likes
More quotes…