Monday, November 25, 2013

Three top books on Mexico

At the Guardian, Pushpinder Khaneka named three of the best books on Mexico. One title on the list:
The Years With Laura Díaz by Carlos Fuentes

Fuentes's epic novel uses one woman's life and loves to sweep through 100 years of Mexican history. Laura Díaz – daughter, sister, wife, mother, lover – comes of age during the long, bloody Mexican revolution (1910-20). The execution of her half-brother Santiago (from one of four generations of Santiagos in the novel) by firing squad at the start of the revolution launches her political journey.

Laura has hardly a dull moment as Mexico heads towards becoming a modern nation. She witnesses, chronicles, discusses or participates in all the country's seminal political and cultural events of the 20th century, through to the early 1970s. Real-life luminaries such as artists Diego Rivera and his wife Frida Kahlo are also woven into the rich tapestry of Laura's life.

Fuentes's grand project encompasses Mexico's political upheavals, its union movement, the Spanish civil war, the Holocaust, McCarthyism and the massacre of students in Mexico City on the eve of the 1968 Olympics (Laura's grandson, Santiago, is one of the victims).

Its intelligence, emotional power and bold ambition make this a memorable book.

Diplomat, Harvard professor and one of Mexico's most famous writers and polemicists, Fuentes was often mentioned as a Nobel contender, but never won. He died in 2012.
Read about another book on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue