Books: The Marxist Myth of Mexico

THE DEATH OF ARTEMIO CRUZ by Carlos Fuentes. 306 pages. Farrar, Straus. $4.95.

It is as if an American novelist felt obliged to take in Valley Forge, the winning of the West, the Civil War and reconstruction, populism, World Wars I and II, and the Affluent Society. Nobody does this; the political novel (apart from the quickie or ad hoc novel like Fail-Safe) has been abandoned by U.S. writers along with the family saga.

By contrast, the panoramic national novel still flourishes in Latin America. Especially in Mexico, writers struggle to establish an orthodox...

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