26 | MAY | 2019
Readers pay homage to Carlos Fuentes in Paris
Carlos Fuentes' grave in Paris - Photo: Julio Aguilar/EL UNIVERSAL

Readers pay homage to Carlos Fuentes in Paris

Mexico City
Julio Aguilar
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Six years ago, on May 15, 2012, the Mexican novelist passed away at the age of 83

Paris.- Montparnasse cemetery was originally built in the south of Paris for sanitary reasons at the beginning of the XIXth century. Today, this 47-acre resting place has become as centric as Montparnasse Tower, a 59-storey skyscraper. The cemetery is home to the graves of three famous Mexicans: Carlos Fuentes, Julio Ruelas, and Porfirio Díaz, although it only holds the remains of two of them. Carlos Fuentes’ ashes are yet to be transferred to the French capital.

Montparnasse cemetery’s administration is not exactly patient when it comes to questions from visitors, but after insisting for some time, somebody spoke: “No, apparently he hasn’t been interred yet,” said an employee of the cemetery. Did he know who the deceased was? “Yes, the Mexican writer. He’s in the fourth division, in front of the roundabout.” And there lies the grave, although it still hasn’t been added in the visitors map, with which tourists from all over the world are able to find the graves of the cemetery’s most famous tenants, such as: Julio Cortázar, Alain Resnais, Marcel Schwob, Simone Veil, Charles Baudelaire, Eugène Ionesco, Man Ray, Tristan Tzara, Samuel Beckett, Gisèle Freund, César Vallejo, Simone de Beauvoir, Jean-Paul Sartre, Marguerite Duras, among others.

Even though Fuentes’ grave is sober, it is located in one of the most privileged parts of the cemetery, right at the center, in front of a roundabout surmounted by the sculpture of a monumental angel. Anyone driving through the cemetery should be able to see the grave of the Fuentes family with four names engraved: that of Carlos Fuentes himself, his children Carlos Fuentes Lemus (1973-1999) and Natasha Fuentes Lemus (1974-2005), as well as his wife, Silvia Lemus, who is still alive.

A young French man who frequently visits the cemetery tells that people often leave offerings on top of the Fuentes family grave: Mostly flags and flowers; other times, written messages made with small stones or scribbled in pieces of paper.

“With all my gratitude and admiration,” writes Alejandra, who signed her name under a quote by Fuentes, taken from his book Todos los gatos son pardos (All Cats are Grey): “Between us, the easiest would be for us to die; a bit easier, to dream; hard to rebel, and nearly impossible to love.”

This is how the readers of Carlos Fuentes pay homage to the famous writer who, six years after his death, still hasn’t been interred in his grave, at the cemetery of Montparnasse, where he will eventually lie in an eternal funerary exile.



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