Book Review: Aura by Carlos Fuentes

Aura is a spooky and mysterious read where the reader feels trapped in a weird dream; what is real? What is not? Are we stuck in a time warp? And there is so much left in the air and open for interpretation, that nothing feels settled; there’s no closure. But then again, don’t we feel like that in dreams?

Fernando Montero, handsome young aspiring writer who makes ends meet by subbing in a private school sees an ad for a French speaking writer that offers him the opportunity to earn 4X his salary. But his employer is an old lady, stuck in bed, living in a damp house with no electricity and has some strange conditions. Her niece is gorgeous and money is good, so he takes it and moves in with them. From that point onwards, reality will cease to be clear-cut and his life will take a strange twist.

I particularly love how this book opens the door to exploring a time in Mexican history that a lot of foreigners ignore, and the legacy of French culture in Mexico. Also I think the author is trying to bring about a nostalgia of a time long lost when Mexico’s ties with Europe were closer; and draw a contrast between chaotic modernity and “cultured” past. It is a classist, Euro-centric view but the beauty of a ghost story and gothic setting is enough to hook any reader.


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