Dear Señor Fuentes,
I read 3 obituaries about you since your passing this May.
They all mentioned your elegance, your role in Latin American literature, your political life, your humanitarian values, your family.
There was something missing though.
None mentioned Christopher Unborn (Cristobal Nonato).
It was the first of your novels that I read. I read it as an undergraduate student and it introduced me to a new way of reading, a complex world with layered meanings, and cultural references (to be honest, some I understood, some I didn’t).
It taught me to read, to reread, and then to reread again. It made me a more humble reader; it made me a stronger reader.
Why is its absence in those obituaries so surprising to me?
I think I subconsciously read every one of your other books as a sort of extension of that first one.
I think I searched for every character you created in your other novels for signs of those early ones.
“‘Because I am happy,’ my father bellowed. ‘I am happy!’ he shouted even louder, turning to face the Pacific Ocean. ‘I am possessed of the most intimate, reactionary happiness!’ Ocean, origin of the gods!” Fuentes, Christopher Unborn
Porque yo estoy contento, gritó mi padre, yo estoy contento, gritó más fuerte volteando a mirar las incansables olas del océano Pacífico, ¡ yo estoy poseído de la más íntima alegría reaccionaria! ¡ Océano origen de los dioses! Fuentes, Cristobal Nonato
(click the above text to read The NY Times obituary on Carlos Fuentes)