Thursday, June 14, 2007

The old gringo - novel by Carlos Fuentes

In this novel written in 1985, Fuentes has added the Gringo element to the Mexican complexity. The American school teacher Harriet Winslow goes to Mexico to teach in the estate of a Mexican landord. She gets swept in the Mexican revolution and the turmoil. She is also caught between General Tomas Arroyo and the old Gringo. Arroyo is from the indigenous side, his family having worked as labourers in the estate. After he joins the revolutionary forces of Pancho Villa as a General, he burns down the estate of his former masters. The old Gringo joined the revolutionary war wanting to get killed. The three form a triangle, exploring questions of love, respect, and sensuality in ways that highlight the differences between Mexican and American ways of thinking. All three of the principal characters in this novel have mixed feelings of both love and hatred toward their fathers.

The story is based on an American journalist and author Ambrose Bierce, who went to experience the revolutionary war of Mexico and disappeared. The novel became famous after it was made into a Hollywood movie in 1989 with Jane Fonda and Gregory Peck.

But this did not appeal to me so much as the other novels of Fuentes i read.

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