Aura by Carlos Fuentes, Lysander Kemp

By Carlos Fuentes, Lysander Kemp

Felipe Montero is hired in the home of an elderly widow to edit her deceased husband's memoirs. There Felipe meets her attractive green-eyed niece, charisma. His ardour for charisma and his slow discovery of the genuine courting among the younger girl and her aunt propel the tale to its amazing conclusion.

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Sample text

Where are you? " "Yes. " When you raise your eyes, which you've been keeping lowered, her lips are closed but you can hear her words again — "She'll come back" —as if the old lady were pronouncing them at that instant. Her lips remain still. You look in back of you and you're almost blinded by the gleam from the religious objects. When you look at her again you see that her eyes have opened very wide, and that they're clear, liquid, enormous, almost the same color as the yellowish whites around them, so that only the black dots of the pupils mar that clarity.

There are several knocks on the door, and at last you get out of bed, groaning and still half-asleep. Aura, on the other side of the door, tells you not to open it: she says that Senora Consuelo wants to talk with you, is waiting for you in her room. Ten minutes later you enter the widow's sanctuary. She's propped up against the pillows, motionless, her eyes hidden by those drooping, wrinkled, dead-white lids; you notice the puffy wrinkles under her eyes, the utter weariness of her skin. " "Yes, I think so .

Here . " The old lady raises her hand to her collar, unbuttons it, and lowers her head to remove the frayed purple ribbon that she hands to you. It's heavy because there's a copper key hanging from it. "Over in that corner . . Open that trunk and bring me the papers at the right, on top of the others . . " "I can't see very well . " "Ah, yes . . it's just that I'm so accustomed to the darkness. To my right . . Keep going till you come to the trunk. They've walled us in, Senor Mon-tero. They've built up all around us and blocked off the light.

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