The Years With Laura Diaz is Carlos Fuentes’ most important novel in several decades. Like his masterpiece The Death of Artemio Cruz, the action begins in the state of Veracruz and moves to Mexico City—tracing a migration during the Revolution and its aftermath that was a feature of Mexico’s demographic history and that is a significant element in Fuentes’ fictional world.
Now the principal figure is not Artemio Cruz (who, however, makes a brief appearance) but Fuentes’ first major female protagonist, the extraordinary Laura Diaz. Carlos Fuentes’ richly woven narrative tapestry—filled with a multitude of dramatic scenes both witty, amusing, and heartbreaking—shows us this wonderful creature as she grows into a politically committed artist who is also a wife and mother, a lover of great men, a complicated and alluring heroine whose brave honesty prevails despite her losing a son and grandson to the darkest forces of Mexico’s repressive, corrupt regimes.
In the end, Laura Diaz herself dies, after a life filled with tragedy and loss, but she is a happy woman, for she has borne witness to, and helped to affect, the course of history and has vindicated the aims and intentions of the highest art.