Thursday, November 09, 2006

The Eagle's Throne- novel by Carlos Fuentes

The first book of Carlos Fuentes (from mexico) I read was " Death of Artemio Cruz" . I did not finish it. I found it like catch-22, going round and round. Even my familiarity with magical realism did not help in appreciating the book. Then i tried another book " crystal frontier" about mexican emigration to gringoland. It was so so.

With this experience i started reading The Eagle's Throne hesitantly. I was in for a surprise. I enjoyed the book thoroughly. It is a political novel about the six-year cycle of mexican politics, starting with the assumption of power by the new president who gets one single non-reelectable six year term. As soon as the President is elected the conspiracies start for getting into his shoes for the next term. King makers, cabinet ministers and officials start the game of promoting and spoiling the chances of potential candidates by resorting to any means including sex,money, defamation,flattery and blackmail. For anyone who wants to understand Mexican politics, this book is the ideal guide.

Carlos Fuentes has brought out the character of mexican politicians so vividly with biting sarcasm and striking punch lines. Fuentes has filled the novel with a complete cast of characters including congressmen and druglords, lovers and mistresses, noble minded statesmen and corrupt politicians and senators and lowly clerks. He has included historical details and characters.

Fuentes has told the whole story in the form of letters from one character to another.

It starts with the letter of Maria del Rosario Galvan, the queen of politics, who starts grooming the young Nicolas Valdivia as the next President and succeeds in achieving her goal. she uses sex, seduction and blackmail so matter of factly, dispassionately and is candid about this with her adversaries and admirers. She weaves a series of schemes including sending Valdivia to get lessons and secrets from an ex-president retired playing dominoes in vera cruz. Tacito de canal, the chief of staff of the president controls access to the President and implements his orders even before the boss issues them..anticipatory compliance.

It is an extraordinary novel with suspense and thrill added to spice up the real life mexican political story.

I am going to read more books by him now.

Fuentes has quoted a mexican bolero..which has become my favourite one

No me preguntas mas
dejame imaginar
que no existe el pasado
y que nacimos
el mismo instante
en que nos conocimos

dont ask me more
let me imagine that
there was no past
we were born
at the same same time
as we met

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