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Happy Families: Stories


Happy Families: Stories Cover


Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

The internationally acclaimed author Carlos Fuentes, winner of the Cervantes Prize and the Latin Civilization Award, delivers a stunning work of fiction about family and love across an expanse of Mexican life, reminding us why he has been called “a combination of Poe, Baudelaire, and Isak Dinesen” (Newsweek).

In these masterly vignettes, Fuentes explores Tolstoy’s classic observation that “happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.” In “A Family Like Any Other,” each member of the Pagan family lives in isolation, despite sharing a tiny house. In “The Mariachi’s Mother,” the limitless devotion of a woman is revealed as she secretly tends to her estranged son’s wounds. “Sweethearts” reunites old lovers unexpectedly and opens up the possibilities for other lives and other loves. These are just a few of the remarkable stories in Happy Families, but they all inhabit Fuentes’s trademark Mexico, where modern obsessions bump up against those of the mythic past, and the result is a triumphant display of the many ways we reach out to one another and find salvation through irrepressible acts of love.

In this spectacular translation, the acclaimed Edith Grossman captures the full weight of Fuentes’s range. Whether writing in the language of the street or in straightforward, elegant prose, Fuentes gives us stories connected by love, including the failure of love–between spouses, lovers, parents and children, siblings. From the Mexican presidential palace to the novels of the poor and the vast expanse of humanity in between, Happy Families is a magnificent portrait of modern life in all its complicated beauty, as told by one of the world’s most celebrated writers.

Praise for Carlos Fuentes

Winner of the Cervantes Prize

The Old Gringo

“A dazzling novel that possesses the weight and resonance of myth [and] the fierce magic of a remembered dream.”

–The New York Times

The Death of Artemio Cruz

“Remarkable in the scope of the human drama it pictures, the corrosive satire and sharp dialogue.”

–The New York Times Book Review

The Years with Laura Díaz

“Reading this magnificent novel is like standing beneath the dome of the Sistine Chapel. . . . The breadth and enormity of this accomplishment is breathtaking.”

–The Denver Post

This I Believe

“Engaging, offering surprising conclusions, provocations or turns of phrase . . . Put down the page-turner and dare to drink these full-bodied, red, shining words.”

–Los Angeles Times Book Review

The Eagle’s Throne

“Dazzling, razor-sharp . . . prescient . . . a feast of political insight.”

–The Washington Post Book World


Sixteen short stories exploring a variety of dysfunctional families and love in all its forms in contemporary Mexico alternate with pieces that give voice to street children, beggars, rape victims, drug dealers, gang members, and others whose views are silenced. 15,000 first printing.

About the Author

Carlos Fuentes is the author of more than twenty books, including The Eagle’s Throne, This I Believe, The Death of Artemio Cruz, and The Old Gringo. He served as Mexico’s ambassador to France from 1975 to 1977. He has received many awards and honors, including the Rómulo Gallegos Prize, the National Prize in Literature (Mexico’s highest literary award), the Cervantes Prize, and the inaugural Latin Civilization Award. He has also been the recipient of France’s Legion of Honor medal, Italy’s Grinzane Cavour Award, Spain’s Prince of Asturias Award, and Brazil’s Order of the Southern Cross. His work has appeared in The Nation, Vanity Fair, The New York Times, The New York Times Book Review, Los Angeles Times Book Review, and The Washington Post Book World. He currently divides his time between Mexico City and London.

Edith Grossman, the winner of a number of translating awards, most notably the 2006 PEN Ralph Manheim Medal, is the distinguished translator of works by major Spanish-language authors, including Gabriel García Márquez, Mario Vargas Llosa, Mayra Montero, and Alvaro Mutis, as well as Carlos Fuentes. Her translation of Miguel de Cervantes’s Don Quixote was published to great acclaim in 2003.

Table of Contents

A family like any other — Chorus of the street gossips — The disobedient son — Chorus of the rival buddies — A cousin without charm — Chorus of the threatened daughter — Conjugal ties (1) — Chorus of the father of rock — Mater Dolorosa — Chorus of the perfect wife — The mariachi's mother — Chorus of the naked honeymoon — Sweethearts — Chorus of the murdered family — The armed family — Chorus of the suffering children — The gay divorce — Chorus of a son of the sea — The official family — Chorus of the family from the neighborhood — The father's servant — Chorus of rancorous families — The secret marriage — Chorus of the daughter who killed herself — The star's son — Chorus of the children of good families — The discomfiting brother — Chorus of the inspected family — Conjugal ties (2) — Chorus of the savage families — Eternal father — Choruscodaconrad.

Product Details

Random House
Grossman, Edith
Translated by:
Edith Grossman
Carlos Fuentes
Edith Grossman
Fuentes, Carlos
Grossman, Edith
Fiction : General
Short Stories (single author)
Short stories
General Fiction
Literature-A to Z
Publication Date:

Related Subjects

Fiction and Poetry » Literature » A to Z

Happy Families: Stories
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$ In Stock
Product details 331 pages Random House Publishing Group - English 9781588368140 Reviews:
"Synopsis" by , Sixteen short stories exploring a variety of dysfunctional families and love in all its forms in contemporary Mexico alternate with pieces that give voice to street children, beggars, rape victims, drug dealers, gang members, and others whose views are silenced. 15,000 first printing.
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