News from the Empire

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By Fernando del Paso

One of the acknowledged masterpieces of Mexican literature, Fernando del Paso’s News from the Empire is a powerful and encyclopedic novel of the tragic lives of Maximilian and his wife, Carlota, the short-lived Emperor and Empress of Mexico.

Simultaneously intimate and panoramic, the narrative flows from Carlota’s fevered memories of her husband’s ill-fated empire to the multiple and conflicting accounts of a broad cast of characters who bore witness to the events that first placed the hapless couple on their puppet thrones, and then as swiftly removed them.

Stretching from the troubled final years of Maximilian’s life to the early days of the twentieth century, News from the Empire depicts a world of both political and narrative turbulence, and is as much a history of the advent of modernity as a eulogy for the corrupt royal houses of Europe.

This startling and fevered work of “historiography” is a tour de force.

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Reviews courtesy Goodreads