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The years with Laura Diaz
Carlos Fuentes
Adult Fiction FUENTES

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From Publishers' Weekly:

In a masterwork imbued with historical anecdotes, mystical imagery and revelations about human existence, Fuentes (The Death of Artemio Cruz) relates the story of 20th-century Mexico through the fictional biography of Laura D!az. Narrated by Laura's great-grandson, a photographer and documentary filmmaker, the central thread is straightforward: Laura grows from an unusually observant child into an attractive and passionate young woman, survives numerous revolutions and world wars, several lovers and one husband. The catalyst that keeps this chronicle engaging is Laura's desire to steer the course of her life above and beyond the political currents surging through Mexican society. Much of her life revolves around her rising and falling romances: with a Casanova who vanishes when Laura gets too close to him, a Communist whose search for his missing wife precludes their relationship and a screenwriter who is slowly dying of emphysema. She eventually marries Juan Francisco, an activist whose political passion initially attracts Laura, but ultimately disturbs and alienates her. The union produces two sons. In her later years, inspired by close acquaintances with the artists Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo, Laura becomes a photographer (she photographs Kahlo's body while it is being cremated) and achieves renown almost instantly. While in other books Fuentes's characteristic riffs and dizzying, cascading sentences were intended as potential expansions of the novel, this time these gestures are used for the deepening development of the content of the book rather than of its form. Fuentes's emotional commitment to his subject shows in the lucidity of the book's underlying intellectual dialoguesDthe opposition of communism and fascism, the corrosion of individual identities by historical processesDwhich Fuentes is able to animate with a learned lyricism that should make this volume one of his most admired and memorable. (Oct.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

From Library Journal:

In 1999, the narrator of this novel arrives in the urban decay of Detroit to make a television special about the work of Mexican muralists in the United States and instead launches into a saga of the generations that precede and follow his remarkable Mexican great-grandmother, Laura Diaz. Elaborating on many of the elements that appeared in Fuentes's earlier masterpiece, The Death of Artemio Cruz, this fictionalized memoir brilliantly recaptures the turbulent and exciting history of 20th-century Mexico. It all begins when Laura's German grandfather, Don Felipe, obtains a mail-order atheist bride from his homeland, who promptly announces that despite their Protestant heritage, they will be having a Catholic wedding. Laura herself is a friend of Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo and the lover of great men, but her brother, son, and grandson are all casualties of Mexico's tragically unsettled politics. In his epilog, where he recites the details of his own genealogy, Fuentes acknowledges his own real-life position within the clan of Laura Diaz. A mural-mosaic of recent Mexican history by an author who has witnessed, scrutinized, and interpreted that history like no other, this roman fleuve of a novel can hardly fail to entertain and enlighten. [Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 6/15/00.]DJack Shreve, Allegany Coll. of Maryland, Cumberland (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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main characters Laura Diaz
Age: 60s

Frida Kahlo

Diego Rivera
Frida's husband.

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