Book Notes: Carlos Fuentes’s Achilles

“Of course some people believe that women are as human as men but still. . .”

This was the last novel written by the famous Mexican writer Carlos Fuentes and it was published posthumously. As you can guess from the preceding quote, you don’t get more typical than Fuentes. The novel is OK, he definitely tried to move past the “magical real” crapazola. In the end, Achilles does slip into the cloying magical realism type of thing but most of the novel is not useless.

What I hate about these Boom writers is not even the obsessive sexism but the desire to create the most shocking scenes of violence possible to outdo the predecessors. They pass from horrific violence to blubby sentimentalism and back and spice it all up with teary pontification about the fate of Latin America. Brrrr, they almost put me off contemporary Latin American literature altogether. I’m glad they were gone.

But all that being said, it’s not a horrible novel. It could be much worse given who Fuente was.

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4 thoughts on “Book Notes: Carlos Fuentes’s Achilles”

  1. Is this one of the “guerilla novels” you mentioned previously? If not, please explain.

    Also, I for one would be interested in more about the statistics guy from Spain showing that the big supportive family is a myth and that podemos is run by dudebros (how they always seemed to me….) and just how the EU isn’t working for Spain, etc etc

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    1. Yes, these are my guerrilla novels.

      It’s a great idea to share the things I learned at the conference, together with the data. I’ll definitely do it.

      Some things were amazing but you just had to be there. One fellow demonstrated how Podemos tried to include a token woman in every one of the meetings they knew would be filmed. These would be different women, but they would always place them in the exact same spot. When you see it as a video collage, it’s the best. It’s a succession of scenes where a woman appears in the same spot. Always completely silent. Always placed to the side. Just filling a quota. Priceless.

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