Querida Alejandría: una experiencia de lectura en Querétaro

Posted by María García Esperón

Algunos de los alumnos de inglés de María Constantino, en Querétaro, inmersos en su espectacular aventura de leer en español y discutir en inglés, me han enviado sus opiniones. Esta es la carta de Artemio, y más abajo, mi respuesta:

Hi I am Artemio and I read your book and these are my opinions about it.

I am from Queretaro and I am studying with Maria Constantino in the letter you will find my doubts and my personal opinion.

My point of view about the book is the next: I think it is a Little bit complicated but I liked it because it’s a good chance to known about Egypt, Alexandria and the roman culture I liked in special because it is a different kind to see the history that make it more dynamic and special to read, I like this kind of reading, I mean writing it like a letter to her origin city is new for me.

I would like to ask you about some things that I have doubts.

1. – why did you write this book?

2. - what were your sources?

3. - who is your favorite character (not Selene)?

4. - why did you change the last part of the history about Alejandro Elios?

And these points are some things that I would like to understand more about the history because I didn’t understand it at all.

1. It could be a good idea to put a map lo locate the cities and geography because you wrote about cities that I don’t know and probably no one without a history knowledge.
2. A time line could help to locate some dates and who was first because the names repeat it a lot.

I didn’t understand at all the book and it’s a difficult book to read to me (I’m not used to read so that’s maybe that is the reason that I couldn’t understand the book at all) I need a time to read it but its different that the movies or the history that I think I know it teach me something that I didn’t know like Cleopatra’s sons their relationship with Rome and that Rome used defeated people like trophies.

Dear Artemio:

Thank you for writing and of course reading my novel. Your points of view are very interesting, as your suggestions. I love maps and if I were the editor I will put a map of the Mediterranean world in the book. Also the time-line, perhaps as little numbers in the margins of the pages, because Selene begins her memories in media res, in the middle of the story, then she goes towards the past and then to the present towards the future.

1) I wrote the novel because I felt the need of talking about Selene, a real person of real History that has been forgotten through many centuries.

2) My sources were ancient writers like Plutarch, and the book Civil War of Julius Caesar. Also the biography about Cleopatra written by Emil Ludwig.

3)My favorite character above all is Julius Caesar. In my novel, he is dead, but almost all of the characters are living the consequences of what he did, of what he said. And I tell you that I have written a novel about Julius Caesar, that maybe will be published this year. The title is "The ring of Caesar".

4) Unlike historians, in literature you have a great amount of freedom. I felt free to give Alexander Helios an open destiny, because there is anything clear about his life. We don't know if he died in Rome, or if he went with Selene and Juba to Mauritania, if he was murdered in the tough imperial politics, etc. Somebody has told me to write the story of Alexander Helios, supposing he was able to leave Rome and reach the East, the fabulous East... Perhaps I will, someday.

Yours sincerely,