Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “A Very Old Man with Enormous Wings” as Want to Read:
A Very Old Man with Enormous Wings
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

A Very Old Man with Enormous Wings

3.92  ·  Rating details ·  2,549 ratings  ·  179 reviews
The short story involves a very old man with enormous wings who appears in a family's backyard on a stormy night.

Subtitled "A Tale for Children". First published in 1955 in Spanish and then published in English in some, but not all editions of the 1972 book, Leaf Storm and Other Stories.
Published by Michael DuBon / ACX (first published 1968)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about A Very Old Man with Enormous Wings, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about A Very Old Man with Enormous Wings

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
3.92  · 
Rating details
 ·  2,549 ratings  ·  179 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Better Eggs
You can read it free here or listen to it.     At first the story reminded me of the children in those medical documentaries where the child has a birth defect and doctors in the US, UK or Australia fly them over from India to fix them. Invariably these children are from very poor and backward villages and the child, with six limbs, an extra head or other appalling defect is worshipped as a god. People come to give them offerings and beg for miracles. Their minds cannot conceive of anything out ...more
J.L.   Sutton
May 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
“A Very Old Man with Enormous Wings” is a fantastic wildly strange short story by Gabriel Garcia Marquez. This tale begins with a couple finding an old man face down in the mud of their courtyard.

Image result for very old man with enormous wings

What marks the man as extraordinary here is his decrepit wings. The couple take him in (to their chicken coop) and charge admission for others to see this curiosity. Even though many believe he is an angel, he is soon competing with oddities that are part of traveling carnival sideshows. He might be an
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
This short story was very confusing and we had a lengthy discussion during class. Short review to come.
Rebecca McNutt
One of my favorite short stories, one that really questions the way ordinary peoples' collective perception of "miracles" turns to scorn when it isn't as majestic as they expect. I wish my edition of the book had a better front cover. This one seems to feature a screenshot from a Goosebumps episode, which is really out-of-place. O_o
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
Daniel Clausen
Jun 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: books-of-2018
A short story...with evocative and magical words...that warmed my heart...and left me enchanted.
Kelly Furniss
Dec 29, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This very short 32 page story was picked to help complete my reading challenge.
A very different idea in that an old man is found in courtyard with huge wings.
We do not know why he has wings, what they symbolise or why he is there and as the reader you are left to try to decide. But the underlying points put in to question are about peoples reactions to what is not the norm and how we deal with that and the control we have over our own and others destiny.
I enjoyed the language used and descripti
Nov 23, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
i'm so busy these days with reading stuff that i literally forget to add them.
so this short story, undermines the established belief in religion with a simple image, an angel. but not any angel, a broken, miserable angel.
since it's a work in magic realism genre, we can't go very deep and go layer by layer lower, but this magic serves its purpose sufficiently.
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
B. P. Rinehart
Sep 07, 2014 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 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 03, 2012 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
Feb 17, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
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.
May 25, 2015 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.
Apr 08, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Possibly the best short story I've ever read!
Feb 17, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
i still want to know, was it an a angel or what.
Renégade ♥
4 to 4 1/2 stars

Image result for the old man with enormous wings


His only supernatural virtue seemed to be patience. Especially during the first days, when the hens pecked at him, searching for the stellar parasites that proliferated in his wings, and the cripples pulled out feathers to touch their defective parts with, and even the most merciful threw stones at him, trying to get him to rise so they could see him standing. The only time they succeeded in arousing him was when they burned his side with an iron for branding steers, fo
Lucy Baldock
Nov 05, 2018 rated it really liked it
I enjoyed the strange aspects of this story and even though all the characters were terrible people, it added to the story. I like the message it sent and I feel like different people will take different things from it which is good. Not so much a fan of the religious aspects but it was a good story.
Courtney Kleefeld
Mar 30, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I really liked this story. It has a lot of metaphorical implications and the writing style is beautiful. We read it for a short story class - it's not very long and I'll probably reread it at some point. I've heard others say it's a very important story.
Dec 29, 2018 rated it really liked it
A short story to read for the great author, perhaps one of the shortest stories, a children story but a beautiful one at that. Makes one wonder about the
supernatural and about patience in general.
Finished in 15 minutes
Faten Eassa
Jul 03, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Outstanding. Every word in place. Fascinating style. Masterful!
Jun 19, 2016 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 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Oct 18, 2016 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
It's about a couple who had a sick son and found an old man with wings in their yard ,their neighbor told them that he maybe was coming for their son , but because of his age and the bad whether he ended up stuck in the mud of their yard.

I think this story emphasizes how we can no longer see wonder in extraordinary stuff , how we are being materialistic in our everyday life , without giving our-self a chance to just stop and wonder , this is exactly what happened to the couple who only apprecia
Oct 31, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This story struck a chord in me because it made me think about how I might be blinded to the obvious. In this short story the author uses an angel to expose the hypocrisy committed by the townspeople. The descriptions used by the author are helpful in creating a visual of the story. The characters are very interesting and can be interpreted in many ways. I found a correlation of greed between the couple and the greed by the Catholic Church during the times of the conquistadors. My favorite scene ...more
May 05, 2017 rated it really liked it
"The most unfortunate invalids on earth came in search of health: a poor woman who since childhood has been counting her heartbeats and had run out of numbers; a Portuguese man who couldn't sleep because the noise of the stars disturbed him; a sleepwalker who got up at night to undo the things he had done while awake; and many others with less serious ailments."

"She kept watching him even when she was through cutting the onions and she kept on watching until it was no longer possible for her to
Kaylee Tanner
May 30, 2017 rated it it was amazing
not for everyone, but it's short so read it anyway because you might fall TOTALLY AND COMPLETELY IN LOVE
Magical realism has not in the past proven to be a great fit for me.
This is a short story from the master of magical realism, GGM.

As always with GGM, it is masterfully written, with atmospheric description, and clever text.
He argued that if wings were not the essential element in determining the difference between a hawk and an airplane, they were even less so in the recognition of angels.

The short story consists of A Very Old Man with Enormous Wings who is found by a poor family washed up o
« previous 1 3 4 5 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »

Readers also enjoyed

  • La pasión según Antígona Pérez
  • Paul's Case
  • The Garden of Forking Paths
  • The Lottery Ticket
  • When You Are Old: Early Poems and Fairy Tales
  • Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?
  • Three Hermits
  • Jason and Medea
  • Miss Brill
  • A Worn Path
  • The Chrysanthemums
  • The Man Who Was Almost a Man
  • The School
  • Man from the South
  • Roman Fever
  • A Little Cloud (Dubliners)
  • The Robber Bridegroom
  • Aguafuertes porteñas
See similar books…
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 later worked as a reporter for the Colombian n
“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.” 3 likes
“He argued that if wings were not the essential element in determining the different between a hawk and an airplane, they were even less so in the recognition of angels.” 1 likes
More quotes…