cover image La Voluntad y la Fortuna

La Voluntad y la Fortuna

Carlos Fuentes. Alfaguara, $19.99 (552pp) ISBN 978-970-58-0446-5

In Fuentes's latest work, set in contemporary Mexico City, he offers, yet again a crude picture of Mexico's existing reality, where power, for many years in the hands of the government, is now in private hands-often the same hands that control organized crime. Josu\xE9, the narrator, tells his life story as his decapitated head is washed away in the Pacific Ocean. A child without a past, he was raised by a maid and never met any family member. As an adolescent, he encounters Jeric\xF3, another child with no family. Their innate philosophical curiosity sets them apart from the rest of their schoolmates, and they become best friends. After parting ways for college, Josu\xE9 gets a job with the greatest businessmen in Mexico and Jeric\xF3 with Mexico\xB4s president, and eventually they become estranged. As a complex net of power, crime, and corruption tightens, Josu\xE9 figures out that his mysterious past has kept him captive and that the free will the two friends thought they possessed is limited. While exploring the question of free will from many perspectives, Fuentes shows that Mexico's democracy has never been stronger and its government weaker. A dense literary work recalling the style and risqu\xE9 narrative of some of Fuentes's masterpieces, such as La regi\xF3n m\xE1s transparente (Where the Air Is Clear), this extraordinary novel is his most philosophical and timely; highly recommended for all bookstores and libraries.-Mar\xEDa E. Cruz L\xF3pez, Dedham, MA