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Happy families - Carlos Fuentes

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Happy families
Carlos Fuentes
UK Publication Date

A choral novel on the hopes, disillusionments and betrayals of family life in Mexico. A rich Catholic rancher wants his four sons to become priests, while the boys themselves have other plans; a bereaved mother explains her daughter's life to the man who killed her; three daughters meet up around their father's coffin for the first time in ten years; a middle-aged couple meet by chance on a cruise-ship and wonder if they were once young lovers. The result is a picture of contemporary Mexico seen through a violently fragmented narrative, not unlike the internationally successful film Amores Perros.

The stories are punctuated by a chorus, commenting as if in a Greek tragedy, crudely and unsentimentally on the underbelly of modern Mexican life, offering a raw but richly textured glimpse of the inequalities of that society - street children, junkies, dead rock icons, the ideal wife, a honeymoon gone wrong, a child suicide, a man faking his death and beginning a new life - that throw the middle-class dramas of the linked stories into harsh relief. Every Happy Familyis a dramatic polyphony of the many conflicting strands of Latin America and the modern urban world.

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Carlos Fuentes, Mexico's leading novelist, was born in 1928. He has been his country's ambassador to France and is the author of more than ten novels, including The Death of Artemio Cruz, Terra Nostra, The Old Gringo, The Years with Laura Daz, Diana, the Goddess Who Hunts Alone and, most recently, The Eagle's Throne.

Edith Grossman is perhaps the most noted translator of Spanish literature into English working today. She has translated many works of Mario Vargas Llosa, Gabriel Garca Mrquez, and is responsible for the most celebrated modern English version of Cervantes' Don Quixote (2003).


'[Fuentes] writes with an energy, passion and humour that are as compelling now as when he first published a novel, more than forty years ago … rattlingly good entertainment'
Daily Telegraph

'Fuentes at his satirical best, mixing political wisdom, biting wit and poignant self-realisation'
Scotland on Sunday

'Smashing … the most wickedly entertaining novel of Fuentes's career … elegant and funny … brilliant'
New York Times

Short stories
Keyword Index
Mexico - Social life and customs - Fiction.
Country of Publication
Number of Pages

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