Study Guide

Where the Air Is Clear Essay

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In the following essay, Sean French reviews Carlos Fuentes' novel The Old Gringo, an historical fiction dramatizing the life of Ambrose Bierce and seeking to capture the history and breadth of his adopted country, Mexico.

Ambrose Bierce was a misanthrope, a nihilist, and America's most celebrated journalist. At the end of his career he decided not to fade away. In 1913, a bitter and beaten seventy-one-year-old, he lit out for Mexico and disappeared. Rumour has it that he joined Pancho Villa's revolutionary army and died in action the following year. Where history stops, the novel can begin. Carlos Fuentes's The Old Gringo takes up Bierce's story from the moment he crosses the Rio Grande with a suitcase containing two of his own books, a copy of Don Quixote and a Colt .44.

Fuentes clearly has only the most perfunctory interest in creating a plausible version of what might have happened...

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This section contains 1,224 words
(approx. 4 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy the Where the Air Is Clear Study Guide
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Literature of Developing Nations for Students
Where the Air Is Clear from Literature of Developing Nations for Students. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.