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A Very Old Man with Enormous Wings (Collected Stories of Gabriel Garcia Marques)

3.97  ·  Rating Details ·  1,568 Ratings  ·  100 Reviews
“A Very Old Man with Enormous Wings” is a short story that begins with a couple, Pelayo and Elisenda, finding a very old man in their courtyard during a stormy afternoon. They watch in astonishment the enormous wings attached to the body of the old man as he struggles to get up from the mud. Their neighbour comes over and lets them know that the old man is an angel. Pelayo ...more
Published (first published 1968)
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This short story was very confusing and we had a lengthy discussion during class. Short review to come.
Sidharth Vardhan
Have you ever consider the possibility that even if something divine did exist, it must be something very different from what representatives of various religions represent it to be? Here is an angel that is not anywhere as glorious as religions will have us believe. Like in other Marquez story I have read 'The Handsomest Drowned Man In the World' the centeral character himself never utters a word, we only get reactions from other people.

There are also the themes of ficklish sensationalism in ge
Dhanaraj Rajan
This book was an accidental pick up from the bookshop.

It is a small booklet containing just two short stories barely covering 25 pages. The cover and the name on the cover and the price caught my attention and I went for it.

I read the stories in two sittings - one sitting per one story. And my verdict is that I loved the second story better.


The first story is title of this collection. It is a sarcastic look at the belief in miracles and the extra ordinary (supernatural) ha
I read the English version of this short story. The English translation of the title is "A Very Old Man With Enormous Wings" my teacher said that Latin America Literature often have long and supernatural weird titles. It's weird but interesting especially if analyzed well. I know this is "Magic Realism" but I'm putting it in my fantasy and realistic fiction shelves.

Well, the best thing about this short stories is that it doesn't appear what it seems like. When you read it, it is boring. And conf
Ken Moten
Nov 23, 2015 Ken Moten rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: How the hell do you recommend this?
"He had to go very close to see that it was an old man, a very old man, lying face down in the mud, who, in spite of his tremendous efforts, couldn't get up, impeded by his enormous wings." - Yep, this what we work with here. My introduction to Gabriel García Márquez.

I do not like jumping on trends. I brought 100 Years of Solitude a week before GGM died and I have put off reading it because I did not want his still recent death to color my interpretation. I have now decided to read some short st
Kit Meads
Jan 31, 2016 Kit Meads rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Incredible - as usual. Gabriel Garcia Marquez has the most amazing way of turning the mundane into the extraordinary through his vivid storytelling and memorable lines: "a Portugese man who couldn't sleep because the noise of the stars disturbed him", was a personal favourite line of mine. Truly beautiful writing.
Apr 05, 2012 Mike rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
You can also read this review on my blog: The Young Urban Unprofessional - A Series of 30 Day Life Experiments

The story was incredibly short (9 pages with large font) so I finished most of it before I even boarded my morning train to work. The story involved a couple who found a very old man with enormous wings laying on the ground in their back yard. He seemed battered, tired, and old with wings that were falling apart and filled with parasites. Not quit
Sep 07, 2015 Araceli rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2015, short-stories
Wow. Creo que es mi cuento favorito de Gabo, por ahora.
Aug 11, 2015 AdN rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Me encanta el realismo mágico de Gabriel García Márquez. Sin embargo, si algún día le leo esta historia a un niño no sabré responder a la muy probable pregunta «Qué pasó con el Ángel?».
May 25, 2015 Thelonelywriter rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: class-readings
I read this for a fiction writing class, and I still think about it sometimes.
Jun 19, 2016 Jack rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
After recently reading Leaf Storm by Gabriel García Márquez and being fascinated by it, I knew I had to pick up something else by him soon. A Very Old Man With Enormous Wings is a short story that did not disappoint. It’s about a man who falls from the sky into a family’s backyard and is discovered to be an angel; in turn he becomes a sort of circus attraction, with people visiting from near and far to witness him, and the family even charging these people to see the man.

What I loved most about
Oct 17, 2011 Bruce rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Heba Ashraf
_من الممكن عودة الملاك إلينا،ولكننا يجب أولا أن نقدم له الضمانات التي تشجعه على ذلك.
_وماهي هذه الضمانات؟؟
_أن نطهر قلوبنا بالحب والإيمان لا أن ندنسها بالبغض والعصيان ،وأن نقيم العدل بالميزان ولا نحكم بسيف الطغيان ،ساعتها لن نرى على الأرض ملاكا واحدا بل ستمتليء الأرض بالملائكة في كل مكان ،ولن يتسع مكان لأي شيطان ..فهل نستطيع حقا أن نقدم هذه الضمانات للملائكة من الإنسان ؟!!
(وخلف تلك الجمل السماويه يأتي صوتي المسرسرع معبرا عن نرفزتي برغم إعجابي بالكلمات ،ما
Feb 17, 2016 Arwa rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Feb 17, 2016 Amaal rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
i still want to know, was it an a angel or what.
Natasha P.
Dec 14, 2015 Natasha P. rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Alguna vez leí que la forma de escribir de Gabriel García Márquez dejaba una especie de vació y realidad en nuestros pensamientos, la verdad no había logrado entender a que se referían hasta que yo misma experimente esta sensación, un final donde todo esta dicho y no hay nada que decir; son desenlaces donde todo se encuentra tácito en el aire y una moraleja no expresa, pero si completamente suspendida y casi palpable que es imposible rechazar, me parece una manera muy bonita de terminar un libro ...more
Rachel Jackson
"A Very Old Man with Enormous Wings" is clearly a commentary on religion. There's no doubt about it: when you have a supposed angel falling from the sky and people revering it, you know that's a reference to fallen gods, prophets on earth, etc., etc.

And that's what the entire story is. The "very old man with enormous wings" suddenly arrives in a family's yard, and they are surprised and confused by his wings, an oddity in their town. So they put him up for show, at first for free but eventually
J. C. Bueno
Apr 18, 2014 J. C. Bueno rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

Leí este libro cuando vi un estado de Patrick Rothfuss en Facebook con la noticia de que Gabriel había muerto. Esta es la clase de libro que te deja una especie de vacío cuando lo terminas. Pero no un vacío que te hace sentir que falta algo, sino uno que te hace sentir que "todo está hablado y no hay nada más que decir". Pone en contraste la naturaleza del hombre y la naturaleza de un ángel. La gente sorprendida por este fenómeno sobrenatural que había arribado a la tierra se aglomerab
Hanaa Mansouri
Mar 21, 2016 Hanaa Mansouri rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: short-stories
Apr 06, 2014 Paul rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I devoured Memories of my Melancholy Whores when it came out, even then, I was not expecting more from one of my favourite authors, so when I saw A Very Old Man with Enormous Wings in Foyle’s I didn’t hesitate picking it up. I did pause however when I realised it was extremely thin, containing the title story and The Sea of Lost Time. So long has been the time since I read his books, that while writing this review I realised that I had read both of these before, and in fact owned them already, i ...more
Dec 23, 2015 Leon rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"...such a fearful lesson, was bound to defeat without even trying that of a haughty angel who scarcely deigned to look at mortals. Besides, the few miracles attributed to the angel showed a certain mental disorder, like the blind man who didn’t recover his sight but grew three new teeth, or the paralytic who didn’t get to walk but almost won the lottery, and the leper whose sores sprouted sunflowers. Those consolation miracles, which were more like mocking fun, had already ruined the angel’s re ...more
Brian Yahn
The connection Marquez makes between the angel and the tarantula and citizens view of religion is really strange, but in a good and interesting way.
Joana Guerra
Apr 18, 2014 Joana Guerra rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: children-books
Uma história bem ao estilo de García Márquez, onde um anjo velho e cansado com umas asas enormes dá a costa, quase morto, ou nem morto nem vivo, um ser celestial que é visto pela população de todos os ângulos como se trata-se de uma aberração, o centro das atenções para todos admirarem quão pouco celestial pode ser, afinal era um anjo, mas era diferente... Uma metáfora à nossa sociedade, sem dúvida, à Natureza humana, que tendo encontrado um anjo caído, o usa para fazer algum dinheiro e mantê-lo ...more
Mar 28, 2014 Justine rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
2.5 Stars out of 5 Stars

Was it an angel or a deformed science oddity that landing on their property that one night? What would you do if you returned to your property to find a winged, old man lying with his last inch of life?

This story follows a family and the changes that came when an angel landed near their home. I found this to be entertaining enough of a story, but I felt that somethings were oddly developed and others were underdeveloped. I do, however, still feel compassion and sympathy
Martita Flores
Sep 18, 2012 Martita Flores rated it it was amazing
"A Very Old Man with Enormous Wings" demonstrates Marquez's ability to tell a fairy tale or folk tale in a realistic manner while incorporating the magic of the angel. The angel is the catalyst for the family's recovery from destitution. Before the arrival of the angel, they are a simple, poor family with a dying son. Once the angel is captured, the son recovers and the family uses the angel for financial gain. Marquez shows us true human nature. An incredible being falls to the Earth and the hu ...more
Mar 04, 2015 Paige rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Gabriel Garcia Marquez's "A Very Old Man with Enormous Wings" seems to be a story that people either hate or love; I've never really had a student feel neutral about it. With that said, it makes for an interesting class discussion because it's another one of those stories that I have to work hard with to get some of them past the "this is stupid" sentiment.
Jun 08, 2016 Plubkung rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Márquez satire on human nature, for example, a narrow vision, unaware of losing a significance, and mock on religion that has some power to people (though the church's view is absurd and ridiculous) by using a lot of symbols.
Jul 15, 2015 Seonaid rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Both these short stories were like fables infused with magic realism. I was enraptured. Funny in places and strikingly sad in others, proving once again that Márquez does
Not need a lot of space to craft an incredible story.
A.J. Bauers
This short story made me think. Right away, by the first paragraph in the story, we know that a couple with a newborn child has found (like the title states) a very old man with enormous wings lying face down in the mud. The story spins out from there, detailing how they reacted to the finding of what they assume is an angel and then, eventually, how other people reacted. It was interesting to see how the story's society treated this coming of an angel and it whispered silent truths about our ow ...more
Short story that packs a heavy punch. Great for analyzing underlying themes, motifs, and symbolisms for literary studies. The author performs a twisted wonder by introducing the planes on which both cruelty and compassion can coexist in the same breath, and he also explores/mocks the impertinence and irony of human nature and the derelictions of superficial faith. Admittedly, it did take me some time to fully acknowledge and appreciate the message stowed deep within this peculiar tale, but that ...more
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Gabriel José de la Concordia García Márquez was a Colombian novelist, short-story writer, screenwriter and journalist. García Márquez, familiarly known as "Gabo" in his native country, was considered one of the most significant authors of the 20th century. In 1982, he was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature.

He studied at the University of Bogotá and late worked as a reporter for the Colombian ne
More about Gabriel Garcí­a Márquez...

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“The unluckiest of the Caribbean’s sick came, in search of cures: a poor woman who, since childhood, had been counting the beats of her heart so long that she had run out of numbers to count; a Jamaican who, because of the tormenting sound the stars made, never slept; a sleepwalker who rose from bed at night, and in sleep undid all the things he had done in waking; and many other ailments too, less serious in nature.” 2 likes
“What surprised him most, however, was the logic of his wings. They seemed so natural on that completely human organism that he couldn’t understand why other men didn’t have them too.” 1 likes
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