Chronicle of a Death Foretold, by Gabriel García Márquez

January 29, 2011 at 01:41 (Book Reviews, Fairy Tales, Fiction, Highly Rated Books, Mystery) (, , )


This book is about prejudice, shared guilt and culpability, the place of women in society, honour, the place of men in society, and things like that. At least, that is what the dust jacket says. Without that helpful reminder, it seems to be about a simple, tragic and unnecessary murder, with very few strings attached other than the leitmotif of the murder’s discussion in quick breathy snatches throughout the night and morning before (the death being, of course, foretold). It seems that all of these extra social themes are there to be found for anyone prepared to do a lot of looking, but that there is simply not enough story to accomodate any of them in any depth. It is a short story, and does not have any room for the exposition, characterisation or lengthy changes over passages of time that García Márquez’s other novels manage so well. Principally, this is a book about a mistake, and a very good one. It is excellently written, and its brevity serves not to pile up sociological themes, but as an illustration of a sharp, unexpected shock that is nevertheless to be found waiting around every corner.


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