Carlos Fuentes

Carlos Fuentes' best-known novel may be The Old Gringo, set during the Mexican Revolution. But his finest fiction dwelled in the aftermath of that upheaval, wryly but passionately decrying modern Mexico's betrayals of the revolution's egalitarian values. Few characters embody that venality more than Artemio Cruz, the soldier-politico-tycoon who haunts The Death of Artemio Cruz, perhaps the finest of Fuentes' 24 novels and a masterly portrait of the one-party dictatorship that ruled Mexico for most of the 20th century.

Fuentes, who died May 15 at 83, co-founded Latin America's literary boom, a movement that included his Nobel-laureate buddies Gabriel Garca Mrquez...

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