Carlos Fuentes, a refined and elegant Mexican essayist and novelist, died Tuesday at the age of 83. After publishing his first novel, Where the Air Is Clear, at age 29, Fuentes rapidly made a prominent place for himself in Latin American literary culture. With an output that included political commentary and criticism as well as fiction, Fuentes was often considered a possible Nobel Prize recipient, but never received the award. The novelist gained notoriety for his strong leftist political views, and served as Mexico’s ambassador to England for several years. Fuentes’s final published work, an essay on French politics, was published on the day he died.