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Having reviewed over 1200 books on this blog, I have now written two myself. Motherdarling is a story about a search for a missing Will which reveals long-hidden family secrets. The Kids of God is a thriller set in a dystopia ruled by fascist paramilitaries. Both are available as paperbacks and on Kindle through Amazon. I live in Canterbury, England. I lived for more than thirty years in Bedford. Having retired from teaching; I became a research student at the University of Bedfordshire researching into Liminality. I achieved my PhD in 2019. I am now properly retired. I love reading! I enjoy in particular fiction (mostly great and classic fiction although I also enjoy whodunnits), biography, history and smart thinking. Follow me on twitter: @daja57

Thursday, 14 December 2017

"Chronicle of a Death Foretold" by Gabriel Garcia Marquez

This tiny novel is astonishing. Starts with a hook: “On the day they were going to kill him, Santiago Nasar got up at five-thirty in the morning to wait for the boat the bishop was coming on.” (p 1) What a first line! But then it more or less meanders. The narrator is a man who had been friends with Santiago and, after a gap of twenty seven years, returns to the town and talks to all the people who were there, who remembered that day. And tries to understand.

The killers didn't really want to kill him. It was an affair of honour. They told everyone what they were going to do in the hope that someone would stop them. So more or less the whole town knew what was going to happen. Except, until the last moment, the victim. Whom no one thought to tell.

This provides a theme sufficiently compelling to keep you going. This allows the author to explore. Exploration involves wandering, rambling, seeking out and turning back. This enables the author to poke his nose into so many aspects of how people live. He is forensic in his observations and he has the facility of turning the clarity of these observations into the exact right words. 

A classic. Wonderful.

  • To put the broken memory of mirror back together from so many scattered shards” (p 5) 
  • You won't have a drink of that water as long as I'm alive.” (p 8)
  • They'd placed the sick people in the archways to receive God's medicine.” (p 20)
  • “don't comb your hair at night; you'll slowdown seafarers.” (p 31)
  • a friend of a few drinks.” (p 42)
  • we were cast adrift over an abyss of uncertainty” (p 44)
  • Both were exhausted from the barbarous work of death.” (p 49)
  • She was certain that the Vicario brothers were not as anxious to fulfill the sentence as to find someone who would do them the favour of stopping them.” (p 57)
  • My sister the nun, who wasn’t going to wait for the bishop because she had an eighty-proof hangover.” (p 71)
  • On nights of high tide the toilets would back up and fish would appear flopping about in the bedrooms at dawn.” (p 89)
  • A poor woman devoted to the cult of her defects.” (p 93)
  • She told us about the miracle but not the saint.” (p 101)
December 2018; 122 pages

If you enjoy this book you might also like another book about untimely death, reported from the perspective of twenty or so years and firmly set within a community: The Virgin Suicides by Jeffrey Eugenides

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