Daring Dreamer

Mexican writer Carlos Fuentes celebrates the glory of Hispanic civilization in a new book and TV series

On a cloudless Mexican morning, Carlos Fuentes gazes into the gilded nave of Our Lady of Perpetual Help, a colonial church built over the ruins of the massive pyramid at Cholula. As the faithful kneel in prayer, the author of The Old Gringo and The Death of Artemio Cruz shakes his head in wonder. "It's a great example of Mexican culture -- the Indian and the Spanish religion coming together," he says. "What more perfect symbol than a pyramid topped by a church devoted to the Virgin Mary?"

Five hundred years after Christopher Columbus' arrival in the New World, the fruits...

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