Poniatowska has said that Arreola was married and in his 40s when he had sex with her and fathered her first child out of wedlock when she was in her early 20s. In her recent novel “The Polish Lover,” Poniatowska described the encounter as “the threat, the attack," and wrote she didn't fully know what was happening to her.
“I am alone. I don't know what love is. What has happened to me. The cot, the threat, the attack have nothing to do with what I have read in books,” according to novel, which does not identify Arreola by name.
However, in a later interview with the newspaper Excelsior, Poniatowska said the man was Arreola. This week, relatives of Arreola, who died in 2001, issued a letter criticizing Poniatowska. They published excerpts of apparently affectionate correspondence between the two, suggesting the encounter was a consensual “sentimental relationship.”
The family wrote that “the truth of those years has been transformed today into an unfair narrative of falsehoods.” Poniatowska shot back this week, writing, “It was a relationship between a married adult who knew what he was doing, with a young woman who was inexperienced and unprepared in all senses."
Ponitowska is best known for novels and non-fiction works about the 1968 Tlatelolco student massacre and the 1985 Mexico City earthquake.