The Old Gringo by Carlos Fuentes & Margaret Sayers Peden
A Novel

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Synopsis

In The Old Gringo, Carlos Fuentes brings the Mexico of 1916 uncannily to life. This novel is wise book, full of toughness and humanity and is without question one of the finest works of modern Latin American fiction.


One of Fuentes's greatest works, the novel tells the story of Ambrose Bierce, the American writer, soldier, and journalist, and of his last mysterious days in Mexico living among Pancho Villa's soldiers, particularly his encounter with General Tomas Arroyo. In the end, the incompatibility of the two countries (or, paradoxically, their intimacy) claims both men, in a novel that is, most of all, about the tragic history of two cultures in conflict.

 

About Carlos Fuentes & Margaret Sayers Peden

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The author of more than a dozen novels and story collections, Carlos Fuentes is Mexico's most celebrated novelist and critic. He has received numerous honors and awards throughout his lifetime, including the Miguel de Cervantes Prize and the Latin Literary Prize. Included among his books are Terra Nostra, Where the Air Is Clear, and Distant Relations. Alejandro Branger is a writer and filmmaker. He lives in New York City. Ethan Shaskan Bumas wrote the story collection The Price of Tea in China, which was a finalist for PEN America West Fiction Book of the Year. He teaches at New Jersey City University.
 
Published May 14, 2013 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux. 206 pages
Genres: History, Literature & Fiction, Science Fiction & Fantasy. Fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for The Old Gringo

Kirkus Reviews

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Set during the era of the Villa uprising in Mexico, 1916, Fuentes' book tracks the mysterious passage made by cynic/satirist Ambrose Bierce, at age 71, into then very dangerous Mexico, the place where he wished to end his life: "But maybe he was carrying a different fear, one he voiced as he cros...

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The New York Times

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Fonda, whose role is written as that of a 31-year-old Gibson Girl when the film begins in 1913, serves as the fulcrum of the story, but ''Old Gringo'' is not a film that is kind to its women.

Oct 06 1989 | Read Full Review of The Old Gringo: A Novel

Publishers Weekly

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An imaginary telling of Ambrose Bierce's fate as he fell among Pancho Villa and his men during Mexico's civil war.

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Publishers Weekly

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The premise of this fine, short novel is that Ambrose Biercethe American journalist and writer (The Devil's Dictionary who disappeared in Mexico in 1914, did indeed join revolutionary Pancho Villa's forces, as is generally believed.

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Entertainment Weekly

Fonda plays a virgin gringa schoolteacher who gets mixed up with up with Old Gringo Bierce (Gregory Peck) and Villa's general Tomas Arroyo (Jimmy Smits).

Jun 01 1990 | Read Full Review of The Old Gringo: A Novel

Los Angeles Times

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Ironically Fonda, whose strength was what carried the film to the screen, seems at all times too strong a personality for the innocent Harriet, or even her later incarnation as Harriet La Passionara.

Oct 06 1989 | Read Full Review of The Old Gringo: A Novel

People

After the men are awed by his bravery, he muses, "Was he here to die or to write a novel about a Mexican general and an old gringo and a Washington schoolteacher lost in the deserts of northern Mexico?"

Nov 11 1985 | Read Full Review of The Old Gringo: A Novel

London Review of Books

Hence every worthwhile Mexican novel must, directly or indirectly, be a historical novel, a novel about ‘our land’.

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Rolling Stone

When Pancho Villa's revolutionary army captures the hacienda, she finds herself in thrall to two men: Tomas Arroyo (Smits), a young general fighting with Villa, is the landowner's vengeful bastard son.

Oct 06 1989 | Read Full Review of The Old Gringo: A Novel

Reader Rating for The Old Gringo
70%

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