Aub, Max

A Spanish writer and a Mexican citizen, I grew up speaking a foreign language —no one is born speaking—, which happened to be my own. I do not owe much to others, but much to myself, or what is nearly the same: everything to others. I was formed by blows, as all men are. I had some friends —one or two—, most of whom are dead. I feel more at ease in the company of young people than the old.

I have three daughters, many grandchildren: they are in another life, another time. My wife has been by my side all she could; when she could not, she faced up to life, without faltering.

Neither tall nor short, but rather ugly, I always liked the good things in life.

I wore glasses from a very young age because I could never see far. I spoke badly, with a poor accent, and I always let myself be convinced by anyone. I learned little from men, since I believed them to be similar to me. I would have liked to know a lot more than what I know, to have a better memory and to not go around myself in circles.

As the years go by, you end up more and more alone —not like that fool (so good a poet) said, that only the dead remain. Old people are the ones who end up alone, and it is the fault of —why should they be to blame?— the dead.

Writing is what I have always liked to do best; probably to let people know who I am, without stating it. I assumed they would guess right. Once again I was wrong.

Max Aub, in Hablo como hombre (Speaking As a Man; 1967)

Portrait of the author by Vicente Rojo