Burnt Water (1980) is an eclectic collection of short stories from recently deceased Mexican author Carlos Fuentes. There are several different types of stories, but Mexico City plays a major role in most of them. Not matter the genre, Fuentes does an excellent job of creating that particular world and believable characters who feel true-to-life. It starts out with a gothic tale of the supernatural, “Chac-Mool.” That is followed by a magic realist tale, “In A Flemish Garden.” “Mother’s Day” is a three generational tale about one family’s legacy that might possible be a metaphor for the legacy of Mexico itself. “The Two Elena’s” is a more conventional short story that tells the story of a man in love with an independent, modern woman in the 60s, whilst he is truly wishing for a conventional woman and relationship. I was reminded of Mario Vargas Llosa’s novel, The Bad Girl, as I read “A Pure Love” about an exile, who has love affair with an European woman. Both works feel very cosmopolitan in their outlook and focus on love affairs that are essentially impossible in nature. Another favorite story was “These Were Palaces” about a lonely old woman and a boy who are isolated in Mexico City and search out ways to assert themselves in their loneliness: the woman by looking after the stray dogs and the boy through his imagination of the colonial buildings of the past he lives amongst. The last story, “The Son of Andres Aparicio,” about a humble son of a once prosperous family that became a political thug was among the best stories in the book. I also liked “The Cost of Living” about exploited teachers in Mexico City. “Other stories include, “The Doll Queen” and “The Old Morality.” Overall, it is a strong collection of disparate short stories mostly set in Mexico City that show Fuentes range and breath of storytelling.