Where the Air Is Clear, Carlos Fuentes’s first novel, is an unsparing portrayal of Mexico City’s upper class. Departing from a traditional linear narrative, Fuentes constructs his novel around a series of encounters with members of this world, including Federico Robles, an ambitious self-made millionaire; Rodrigo Pola, a writer whose father was executed in the Mexican Revolution; and Norma Larragoiti, a social climber striving to erase her humble past. At the center of these events is Ixca Cienfuegos, and enigmatic figure who views the dramas enacted around him with unusual clarity, and who, with the aid of an Indian priestess, plots the destruction of the group.
Overlaying Mexican myths onto contemporary settings, Fuentes shows that even the rich and powerful must succumb to the indomitable spirit of Mexico, which undermines all institutions and shapes all destinies.
“This is the most ambitious and skillful novel to come out of Mexico in a long time, and, at all odds, the most ‘modern.’ It’s the most readable, too” – The New York Times
“Written with a fervor that is both fierce and compassionate this is a complex, powerful novel of huge scope.” – Kirkus Reviews
” The vividness of Fuentes’s characters and the country that is theirs has made many critics claim this as his best novel. It is unquestionably among the finest works of literature to be produced in the Western Hemisphere.” – Macmillan