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If you're thinking about buying yourself a copy, you may want to read the book introduction below or hear from the critics on our reviews page. You may even want to read the first bad review the novel has received in the U.S.
On a frigid winter's night, a man escapes from an apartment in which a young woman lies bleeding. In his hands he clutches a box he has found there. He is Donald Gregory, a once-respected college professor and serial adulterer whose last affair has left his career in ruins. She is Beulah Limosneros, one of his students and for a brief time his lover. She had disappeared into Mexico two years earlier, following her obsession with Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz. Raised by descendants of the Aztecs, she entered a convent at age nineteen, and became the greatest poet of her time, only to die of plague in 1695.
A police investigation closes in around Gregory; fearful of incriminating evidence Beulah may have against him, he sorts through the box's contents: translated poems of Sor Juana, a journal of travels in the Yucatan, research notes on the Spanish conquest of the Americas and the Inquisition, diary entries concerning him, and a strange manuscript written mostly in the mesmerizing voice of one of the 17th century's greatest poets, and the greatest woman writer since Sappho.
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