Mascara: A Novel
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Mascara delves into the dark terrain of identity and disguise when the lives of three people collide. A nameless man with a face no one remembers has the devastating ability to see and capture on film the brutal truths lurking inside each person he encounters. Oriana, a beautiful woman with the memory of an innocent child, is relentlessly pursued by mysterious figures from her past. Doctor Mavirelli is a brilliant and power-hungry plastic surgeon who controls society’s most prominent figures by shaping their faces. The twining of these three fates plays out in a climactic unmasking.
under an assumed name. Any name—which is no more than a sad jumble of sounds, at least you’ll agree with me on that, Doctor—can be hidden in the great jungle of unknown names, as a tree can be hidden in a forest. You know as well as I do that the most ordinary of noses can be used to conceal the strangest face. Or am I wrong, Mardivelle? Those impostors were so sure that nobody could identify them that they didn’t even take the trouble to disguise their features, they didn’t even seek your help,
miserable cities where people are not the owners of their own hands, thousands of men, thousands of women, who awaited me. It took me more than a decade to ready the sanctuaries where I could preserve the residue of their lives. I did not approach them until my kingdom was in place. At the beginning they were, they had to be, people those men could never associate with me. Later it would be possible, I thought, to receive other voices, closer, more intimate voices. But I began with the tramps,
the world. That softhearted and affectionate Jarvik, whom you compute as a last reserve, is precisely one of the men who are after your lover. And if he were to be told that you have made a fool of him, I do not think he would offer you his friendship again. To put things clearly: without my help, there is no way in which you can save your plaything. That does not mean that I approve. But if she gives you satisfaction, if you can find in one little woman the whole world of females, all the
down on the carpet. Until I was alone I didn’t want to look at those eyes of hers that had already died—whether they were the ones I remembered or the more recent ones that you had sewn under her eyelids to make them beautiful. I read her letter as if someone were kicking me in the stomach. Instead of feeling glad because Alicia had remembered me, I was beginning to hate her. What she had never done to me while she was alive, she was doing to me from her grave, manipulating me with the typical
her more efficiently than any erasable smudge of fingerprints. If I had to locate her to return this piece of cargo, a quick consultation of my office files would be enough. None of which I told Patricia when she stood up to say good-bye. “There’s something else,” she said. “Don’t let her out of the house, not for any reason. They’re—well, somebody’s looking for Oriana.” If I had had my camera in order to capture the crack of fear with which her face split open. It was only for a moment. What