Aura – Carlos Fuentes (1962)


Aura is a short novel written by Mexican novelist Carlos Fuentes, first published in 1962 in Mexico. This novel is considered as a fantastic literature for its remarkable description of ‘dreamlike’ themes and the complexion of “double identity” portrayed by the character. Its narrative is completely carried out in second person. The first English translation, by Lysander Kemp, was published in 1965 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux. It was adapted to the screen in 1966 in La strega in amore, starring Richard Johnson, Rosanna Schiaffino and Gian Maria Volonté. Felipe Montero is a young historian looking at the newspaper one day when he sees a job posting that catches his eye. The poster is looking for a French-speaker, youthful, passionate about history, and able to perform secretarial duties, who would be a live-in assistant to help organize and finish the memories of her deceased husband, General Llorente. This strikes Montero because he feels as though the posting is describing everything about him, and only lacks his name. For a few days, Montero ignores the posting, assuming someone will have already taken the job, but every day Montero returns to the newspaper, eventually unable to avoid it anymore. The posting gives the address ‘Donceles 815’, a street mixed with old and new houses, side by side. Upon arriving at the address, Montero finds the house to be completely dark, with the door ajar, as if the owner were waiting for him to arrive. Montero then enters the dark house, and hears a voice in the darkness calling to him. The voice guides him through the dark house, upstairs, to a room where an old widow, Consuelo, is lying in her bed. The old widow appears to be expecting Montero, and immediately begins to explain what she needs Montero to do: organize, finish, and publish her dead husband’s journals before her death. While she is explaining this task to Montero, the widow’s niece, Aura, enters the room. Montero is mesmerized by the young niece’s beauty ‒ especially her bright green eyes. Shortly after, the widow directs Montero to the room where he will be living. Montero passes the night in his room, where only a small amount of light is provided. …”
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About 1960s: Days of Rage

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