Mississippi in Mexico in Mississippi

An Interview with Carlos Fuentes
by Lois Parkinson Zamora
Hotel Amerika 2011

LPZ: Just one last thing: what about Faulkner?
CF: Well, you know for us, Latin American literature begins with the Mississippi, with Faulkner . . . We read his novels and felt that our Latin American territory began in Mississippi.

Q: I, a girl sprawled on her uncle’s sofa because he’d gone to live in an apartment for a while so the room was empty and quiet and free from questions about why she was reading by herself in summer’s semi-darkness in a room musty as a hundred-year old house can be with books from the library piled on the coffee table, their plastic covers sliding all over each other: As I Lay Dying, Go Down Moses, Absalom, Absalom—one after another because once I began I could not stop—only to grow into the woman who found (can you name God’s miracles in your life?) Fuentes, Garcia Marquez, Llosa and all the others but felt her love to be a fraud: what right did I have to love adore desire these Latin American authors?

A: Faulkner gave you the right.

Mirrors: this issue of Hotel Amerika is devoted to reflection, and inside its pages I found this doubling-back: Carlos Fuentes was inspired by William Faulkner and I, steeped in Faulkner, recognized and loved Fuentes.

Here’s to creative synthesis . . .

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