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This I Believe: An A to Z of a Life Paperback – May 16 2006

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Random House Trade Paperbacks; Reprint edition (May 16 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0812972546
  • ISBN-13: 978-0812972542
  • Product Dimensions: 13.3 x 1.8 x 20.2 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 240 g
  • Average Customer Review: Be the first to review this item
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #1,074,832 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. "I hope that the reader of this book will discover the various kinds of love... contained in each chapter of my personal alphabet," acclaimed Mexican novelist Fuentes (The Old Gringo; Inez; etc.) declares in this lovingly crafted abecedary of his life. In his characteristically luminous prose, Fuentes traces the power of love to transform and to endure through his relationships with his children, his writing, his favorite writers and film directors, and his encounters with the devastation and hope of revolution. Meditations of several pages each range over topics from globalization and revolution to Balzac, sex and God.In a profound exploration of the novel, Fuentes writes that while it may criticize the world, it must not be dogmatic: "Politics can be dogmatic. The novel can only be enigmatic." Writing of cinema, Fuentes offers a paean to beauty as reflected in the faces of film's leading actresses: "[W]hat would our... lives be without the beauty, illusion, and passion granted us by the faces of Greta Garbo and Marlene Dietrich, Louise Brooks and Audrey Hepburn, Gene Tierney and Ava Gardner?" Meditating on the ecstasies of sex, he declares that the end of a sexual relationship was the time when sex could be transformed into literature. "A body of words crying out for the closeness of another body of words."Elegant and lyrical (and beautifully translated), Fuentes's lush memoir guides us on an exhilarating journey through his life—and into the world at large.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Booklist

Fuentes is, of course, one of the most highly acclaimed novelists in the world, a major participant in the boom of Latin American literature that took the globe by storm beginning in the 1970s. His new book is not a novel but a collection of essays--more accurately, a series of thought pieces on a wide range of topics, which he has arranged, almost like a daybook, in alphabetical order, by topic, including "Beauty," "Death," and "Faulkner." But these pieces are not for casual reading. Fuentes is a brilliant thinker, the depth of his ideas matching the evocativeness of his prose style--whether he is pondering how we love or why Kafka is the "fundamental writer of the terrible twentieth century." These compositions amount to a series of position papers, addressed equally to the heart and to the mind on subject matter that has occupied his thoughts far beyond the details of his personal life. An extremely stimulating book for fans of Fuentes' remarkable novels, but librarians can also use it as a way of directing patrons to his fiction. Brad Hooper
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) HASH(0xa14de894) out of 5 stars 5 reviews
19 of 19 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9fe885d0) out of 5 stars An alphabetical exploration of the world Feb. 11 2007
By Enrique Torres - Published on
Format: Paperback
I have read both the English and original Spanish versions of this tour de force and have found the book totally captivating. When Mr. Fuentes addresses a subject he expands the dinmensions and your perceptions of said subject to the point where you become enlightened beyond your initial understanding. His literary skills are beyond measurement. Mr.Fuentes begins with a simple enough concept of using the alphabet to share with the reader about his personal memories but along the way ventures into political musings, literary forays and comments on contemporary society and global perspectives on a variety of subjects. It is not a "preachy" book but rather one of insights into a brilliant mind and his beliefs. It is a very personal book that exhausts the reader intellectually. However the book is simply a delight in it's eloquence and commanding structure to the point where you feel you have been on a literary and cultural journey and Mr. Fuentes has been your tour guide. He treats his chosen subjects with that rare ability to capture your imagination where you become lost(or found) in his use of language to convey his prowess and understanding of a wide variety of topics. Mr. Fuentes begins with Amor(love) and usually gives each letter several subjects, for example, the letter C has Christ , Children, Cinema and Civil Society as topics. He ends with Zebra and Zurich. One might wonder what could Carlos Fuentes have to say about zebras? He uses his subject as a launching pad for his poetic explorations. What begins as an exploration of the zebra and his stripes and what differentiates him from a horse suddenly begins to explore zoology and all it's marvelous manifestations. Suddenly the animals found in the sea by the early explorers are being discussed. From here Mr. Fuentes takes twists and turns on a variety of subjects including Mary Shelley's "Frankenstein," with stops along the way into other diverse writers and their works like Ray Bradbury, Issac Isimov, Voltaire and Beckford. Dracula, Edgar Allan Poe, Kafka and Mexico-Tenochitlan are all fair game within the letter Z and what began as an exploration of the zebra. He ties all the subjects together by weaving a brilliant narrative that leaves you spellbound. I would highly recommend this book along with many of his other books that is written by the best writer Mexico has produced. As Mr.Fuentes states, " We think we know the world. Now, we must imagine it."
27 of 29 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9fe88624) out of 5 stars A brilliant meditation on an author's passions March 8 2005
By lee morgan - Published on
Format: Hardcover
I first discovered Carlos Fuentes in college with The Death of Artemio Cruz and Where The Air is Clear and he has been a touchstone ever since. Although many of his subsequent novels have fallen short of my expectations, this autobiographical collection of essays on a variety of subjects is intellectually engaging and insightful into the development of Fuentes the man and the author. A thousand stars!
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9fe88a5c) out of 5 stars Heart Melting, Tear Jerking Autobiography Dec 19 2013
By Alex Arciniega - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
If you're going to read a Carlos Fuentes book, read this one. I've bought this book multiple times and I can't keep it on my shelf, I keep handing it to people and letting them know, that this book will change their life.

Say what you will about Carlos Fuentes, some people adore him, some people saw him as part of the aristocracy and the upper classes that didn't understand working class Mexico; but his adoration for his home country is equal parts endearing and heart breaking.

My favorite stories are those of love and the pain of losing a child. The deep and eternal love for the country of Mexico and the empathy for the generational oppression that has plagued it's people since La Conquista.

Must read!
By Sharon Gresko - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Very intelligently written by a man with great wisdom. Gives good perspectives on current global issues and shares his own experiences with touching affection.
HASH(0x9fe88e04) out of 5 stars a tour de force of erudition and sensitivity. May 20 2015
By Ambler Moss - Published on
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
a tour de force of erudition and sensitivity. Truly a "must read"