I was reflecting recently on the degree to which the Monument to the Revolution in Mexico City has made a presence within the literature of Mexico and thought that no better source to turn to would be Carlos Fuentes and his first novel La región más transparente [Where the Air is Clear, 1958]. The novel, set in Mexico City in 1951, carries a panoramic list of characters and traces the plight of the rising bourgeoisie, the intelligentsia, and the downtrodden working class. Against this backdrop, the real protagonist of the novel, however, is Mexico City that was once given the moniker of the City of Palaces by the geographer Alexander von Humboldt. So, what does the City of Palaces reveal to us in this work by Carlos Fuentes about the Monument to the Revolution? Surprisingly little. My re-reading of the book revealed not a single reference to the monument; although if others have come across references elsewhere in his work do let me know. What, then, does La región más transparente offer as a snapshot of the rise and rise of the monster that is Mexico City?

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