Happy Families: Stories
Title: Happy Families: Stories
Author: Carlos Fuentes
Sixteen short stories exploring a variety of dysfunctional families and love in all its forms in contemporary Mexico alternate with pieces that give voice to street children, beggars, rape victims, drug dealers, gang members, and others whose views are silenced.
The internationally acclaimed author Carlos Fuentes, winner of the Cervantes Prize and the Latin Civilization Award, delivers a stunning work of fiction about family and love across an expanse of Mexican life, reminding us why he has been called “a combination of Poe, Baudelaire, and Isak Dinesen” (Newsweek).
In these masterly vignettes, Fuentes explores Tolstoy’s classic observation that “happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.” In “A Family Like Any Other,” each member of the Pagan family lives in isolation, despite sharing a tiny house. In “The Mariachi’s Mother,” the limitless devotion of a woman is revealed as she secretly tends to her estranged son’s wounds. “Sweethearts” reunites old lovers unexpectedly and opens up the possibilities for other lives and other loves. These are just a few of the remarkable stories in Happy Families, but they all inhabit Fuentes’s trademark Mexico, where modern obsessions bump up against those of the mythic past, and the result is a triumphant display of the many ways we reach out to one another and find salvation through irrepressible acts of love.
In this spectacular translation, the acclaimed Edith Grossman captures the full weight of Fuentes’s range. Whether writing in the language of the street or in straightforward, elegant prose, Fuentes gives us stories connected by love, including the failure of love–between spouses, lovers, parents and children, siblings. From the Mexican presidential palace to the novels of the poor and the vast expanse of humanity in between, Happy Families is a magnificent portrait of modern life in all its complicated beauty, as told by one of the world’s most celebrated writers.
Praise for Carlos Fuentes
Winner of the Cervantes Prize
The Old Gringo
“A dazzling novel that possesses the weight and resonance of myth [and] the fierce magic of a remembered dream.”
–The New York Times
The Death of Artemio Cruz
“Remarkable in the scope of the human drama it pictures, the corrosive satire and sharp dialogue.”
–The New York Times Book Review
The Years with Laura Díaz
“Reading this magnificent novel is like standing beneath the dome of the Sistine Chapel. . . . The breadth and enormity of this accomplishment is breathtaking.”
–The Denver Post
This I Believe
“Engaging, offering surprising conclusions, provocations or turns of phrase . . . Put down the page-turner and dare to drink these full-bodied, red, shining words.”
–Los Angeles Times Book Review
The Eagle’s Throne
“Dazzling, razor-sharp . . . prescient . . . a feast of political insight.”
–The Washington Post Book World