Where, Carlos Fuentes asks, is a modern-day vampire to roost? Why not Mexico City, populated by ten million blood sausages (that is, people), and a police force who won't mind a few disappearances? "Vlad" is Vlad the Impaler, of course, whose mythic cruelty was an inspiration for Bram Stoker's Dracula. In this sly sequel, Vlad really is undead: dispossessed after centuries of mayhem by Eastern European wars and rampant blood shortages. More than a postmodern riff on "the vampire craze," Vlad is also an anatomy of the Mexican bourgeoisie, as well as our culture's ways of dealing with death. For--as in Dracula--Vlad has need of both a lawyer and a real-estate agent in order to establish his new kingdom, and Yves Navarro and his wife Asunci?n fit the bill nicely. Having recently lost a son, might they not welcome the chance to see their remaining child live forever? More importantly, are the pleasures of middle-class life enough to keep one from joining the legions of the damned?
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Carlos Fuentes (1928-2012) was one of the most influential and celebrated voices in Latin American literature. He was the author of 24 novels, including "Aura", "The Death of Artemio Cruz", "The Old Gringo" and "Terra Nostra", and also wrote numerous plays, short stories, and essays. He received the 1987 Cervantes Prize, the Spanish-speaking world's highest literary honor.
Fuentes was born in Panama City, the son of Mexican parents, and moved to Mexico as a teenager. He served as an ambassador to England and France, and taught at universities including Harvard, Princeton, Brown and Columbia. He died in Mexico City in 2012.
"A deliciously barbed bagatelle from a fiction master, with perhaps a strain of allegory for a world devoured by rapaciousness." - Publishers Weekly
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