Mexican novelist, Carlos Fuentes, died yesterday. He was 83. It’s sad when you hear about a novelist for the first time on the occasion of their death. I took a quick survey of his novels, and I’m adding his novel, Diana, The Goddess Who Hunts Alone, to a summer reading list that I’ve kicked off with the mind-twisting journal of Allen Ginsberg, Journals: Early Fifties, Early Sixties. I’m settling on Diana partly because of all the controversy it’s attracted over the years. The novel is a story about the affair Fuentes claimed to have had with American actress Jean Seberg. Since the novel came out in 1994, people have claimed that he exaggerated things. NY Daily Times sums it up nicely in a quote by NY Times‘ Paul Theroux:
It is as though with ‘Diana’ Mr. Fuentes is trying to make himself a footnote to history, since, in the thundering herd of Seberg’s lovers, he was lost in the shuffle. Read More…
Fuentes is not the only one that’s been accused of wanting to make himself a footnote to history, in a fictionalized memoir. Wole Soyinka received similar criticism after he published You Must Set Forth at Dawn and portrayed himself as some kind of super hero of world affairs. Either way, I think novelists, because they produce cultural objects, are always already darlings of history.