In these spectacular vignettes, the internationally acclaimed author Carlos 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 Pagán 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.
About the Author
Carlos Fuentes is the author of more than twenty books, including The Eagle’s Throne, This I Believe, The Death of Artemio Cruz, and The Old Gringo. He served as Mexico’s ambassador to France from 1975 to 1977. He has received many awards and honors, including the Rómulo Gallegos Prize, the National Prize in Literature (Mexico’s highest literary award), the Cervantes Prize, and the inaugural Latin Civilization Award. He has also been the recipient of France’s Legion of Honor medal, Italy’s Grinzane Cavour Award, Spain’s Prince of Asturias Award, and Brazil’s Order of the Southern Cross. His work has appeared in The Nation, Vanity Fair, The New York Times, The New York Times Book Review, Los Angeles Times Book Review, and The Washington Post Book World. He currently divides his time between Mexico City and London.
Edith Grossman, the winner of a number of translating awards, most notably the 2006 PEN Ralph Manheim Medal, is the distinguished translator of works by major Spanish-language authors, including Gabriel García Márquez, Mario Vargas Llosa, Mayra Montero, and Alvaro Mutis, as well as Carlos Fuentes. Her translation of Miguel de Cervantes’s Don Quixote was published to great acclaim in 2003.
Praise for Happy Families: Fiction…
“Completely captivating and entertaining, with Fuentes’s superb style (exciting language that snaps with fervency) and his trademark characterizations dancing off the page.”—Booklist
“[Fuentes has a] masterful ability to evoke the sounds, smells, sights and mythic history of his native land.”—Seattle Times
“A kaleidoscope of indelible images . . . Fuentes gives poignant voice to the many denizens of Mexico’s streets.”—San Francisco Chronicle
“What makes this collection a joy to read is that each tale is riveting and crucial to the book’s tapestry as a whole. . . . The translation by Edith Grossman [is] a towering achievement that well serves Mr. Fuentes’s witty, ironic and often experimental play with language.”— Washington Times