Author Carlos Fuentes, who played a dominant role in Latin America's novel-writing boom by delving into the failed ideals of the Mexican revolution, died today in a Mexico City hospital at age 83. Mexico's National Council for Culture for the Arts confirmed the death of Mexico's most celebrated novelist. The cause was not immediately known. His generation of writers, including Colombia's Gabriel Garcia Marquez and Peru's Mario Vargas Llosa, drew global readership and attention to Latin American culture during a period when strongmen ruled much of the region.
The prolific Fuentes wrote his first novel, Where the Air is Clear, at age 29, laying the foundation for a boom in Spanish contemporary literature during the 1960s and 1970s. The Death of Artemio Cruz, a novel about a post-revolutionary Mexico that failed to keep its promise of narrowing social gaps, brought Fuentes international notoriety. The elegant, mustachioed author's other contemporary classics included Aura, Terra Nostra, and The Good Conscience. Many American readers know him for The Old Gringo, a novel about San Francisco journalist Ambrose Bierce, who disappeared at the height of the 1910-1920 Mexican Revolution. That book was later made into a film starring Gregory Peck and Jane Fonda. (Read more Carlos Fuentes stories.)