45 pages 1 hour read

Carlos Fuentes


Fiction | Novella | Adult | Published in 1962

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Teacher Introduction


  • Genre: Fiction; magical realism; gothic
  • Originally Published: 1962
  • Reading Level/Interest: College/Adult
  • Structure/Length: 5 chapters; approximately 62 pages; approximately 1 hour, 28 minutes on audio
  • Protagonist/Central Conflict: The novella follows a young historian, Felipe Montero, who is employed to edit the memoirs of Consuelo, the widow of a former general, in her old and eerie house in Mexico City. The central conflict revolves around Felipe’s growing obsession with Consuelo’s niece, Aura, and the mysterious, supernatural elements that unfold within the house, blurring the boundaries between past and present, reality and illusion.
  • Potential Sensitivity Issues: Supernatural occurrences; psychological suspense; elements of gothic horror; exploration of desire and obsession; references and graphic depictions of animal cruelty

Carlos Fuentes, Author

  • Bio: Born in 1928; died in 2012; a Mexican novelist and essayist, one of the most influential Latin American writers of the 20th century; known for his exploration of Mexican identity, history, and society; often incorporated magical realism and complex narrative structures; wrote novels, short stories, and essays addressing themes of politics, culture, and human nature
  • Other Works: The Death of Artemio Cruz (1962); Terra Nostra (1975); The Old Gringo (1985)

CENTRAL THEMES connected and noted throughout this Teaching Guide:

  • Identity, Doubling, and Colonialism
  • Memory and History
  • Time

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