cover image Instinto de Inez = Inez' Instinct

Instinto de Inez = Inez' Instinct

Carlos Fuentes. Santillana USA Publishing Company, $19.95 (0pp) ISBN 978-968-19-0815-7

In this slim new novel, Fuentes, Mexico's unofficial ambassador and author of the recent book Los cinco soles de M xico: Memoria de un milenio (The Five Suns of Mexico: The Memory of a Millennium, see p.48.), takes an introspective turn away from politics to explore the philosophical mysteries of death and love. The romantic plot at the heart of the novel, which brings the arresting opera singer Inez Rosenzweig into the life of world-renowned conductor Gabriel Atlon-Ferrara, is nothing short of poetic in both language and scope. The real rewards of this work, however, come from Fuentes's labyrinthine reflections on the conductor's oblivious worldview in the face of destiny and death. He writes, ""El muerto no sabe lo que es la muerte, pero los vivos tampocos"" (The dead don't know what death is, but neither do the living). As Gabriel and Inez begin their romance under the falling bombs of the German Luftwaffe in wartime London, their walks on the beach and odd conversations allow Fuentes to express a haunting view of hell as both destination and an inevitable description of today's world. As he wanders through this inferno, Gabriel sees his reflection in unadorned mirrors. Fuentes's prose is more elegant than ever. With Instinto, he seems to be reverting to the mysterious thematics reminiscent of his classic novela Aura (Noonday, 1962) instead of pursuing the historic detail characteristic of recent works like Los anos con Laura Diaz (Alfaguara, 2001; The Years with Laura Diaz, Farrar, 2000). Highly recommended for all bookstores and public libraries. David Garza, Austin, TX