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No One Writes to the Colonel

3.77  ·  Rating details ·  36,413 ratings  ·  1,963 reviews
Alternate cover edition here

Set in the decaying Colombian town of Macondo, the Colonel is scraping together the money for food and medicine. It is the Colonel's rooster that gives him hope for a better future as it has become a symbol of defiance in the face of despair.
Paperback, New Edition, 69 pages
Published February 29th 1996 by Penguin (first published 1961)
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Pauli Vilchez Personally I did not find the book boring at all. Is it true that is not as vivid and dynamic as the rest of GGM's literature, but I think that this b…morePersonally I did not find the book boring at all. Is it true that is not as vivid and dynamic as the rest of GGM's literature, but I think that this book's essence was exactly that; to describe the boredom, the hunger and the endless hope of a man who has not much else, in a context where all the things he fought for do not lo exist.
Also it has several different elements which makes it even better. For example, the weather is amazingly described which also seems to go with the Colonel's mood and feelings.(less)

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Federico DN
A retired colonel, a small rooster, and a seventy five year patience.

In a desolate shantytown in the middle of nowhere, on a military controlled zone, endures with great hardships an old retired colonel. A dangerously declining health, an aging wife with recurring asthmatic attacks, a house slowly coming down to pieces, a son lost to the revolution. All his hopes are focused on the arrival of news regarding his veteran pension, that seems never to come; and a little cockfighting rooster, that se
Ahmad Sharabiani
El coronel no tiene quien le escriba = No One Writes to the Colonel, Gabriel Garcí­a Márquez

No One Writes to the Colonel is a novella written by the Colombian novelist and Nobel Prize in Literature winner Gabriel García Márquez. The novel, first published in 1961, is the story of an impoverished, retired colonel, a veteran of the Thousand Days' War, who still hopes to receive the pension he was promised some fifteen years earlier.

The colonel lives with his asthmatic wife in a small village und
Mutasim Billah
Dec 21, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: colombia

‘You can’t eat hope,’ the woman said.
‘You can’t eat it, but it sustains you,’ the colonel replied.

Some time towards the end of 2017, I was stuck in a bookstore café, shut in by the winter rain. And so, as boredom haunted, I picked my first García Márquez title for a light evening read to kill some time. I ended up setting sail for a never-ending voyage across the seas of Latin American literature.

No One Writes to the Colonel is a short and quick read. The novella tells the story of an old co
Nandakishore Mridula
I was stuck without a book at my relatives' house today. Fortunately, they were readers, so rooting through their bookshelves I found this novelette by Marquez which I had not yet read. Talk about serendipity.

This is a short story set in the familiar magical realism universe of Aureliano Buendia and the land of Macondo from One Hundred Years of Solitude. However, there is no magic here: it is the brutally realistic tale of the unnamed "colonel" and his wife, who live in penury in the all-too-fam
Aug 16, 2018 rated it really liked it
His eyes fell upon other eyes exactly like his own.

A deeply moving tale of an enduring marriage. The colonel and his asthmatic wife are rotting alive. Bereaved of their only son, they are left to eke out a living in so repressed a town that it becomes increasingly difficult for the aging couple to preserve some sense of dignity.

As the colonel, every Friday, without fail, awaits a letter regarding his pension, which never arrives, and the wife appears always on the verge of a brutal asthma atta
Vit Babenco
Dec 27, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Old age and poverty taken separately are great troubles. But when they are combined they turn into a calamity.
It was seven-twenty when he finished winding the clock. Then he took the rooster into the kitchen, tied it to a leg of the stove, changed the water in the can, and put a handful of corn next to it. A group of children came in through a hole in the fence. They sat around the rooster, to watch it in silence.

In spite of all its simplicity, this cock and colonel story is emotionally heart p
Barry Pierce
In this incredibly short novel, Garcí­a Márquez tells the story of an elderly and senile Colonel who, every Friday, waits to receive his pension in the post. However, he's never received his pension. Not once in fifteen years. Both the Colonel and his wife live in destitution in a small village in war-torn Colombia. They grieve the death of their son and try to sell off their belongings in order to continue living.

This is an utterly pessimistic novel. The Colonel and his wife are living hopeles
Tamoghna Biswas
"The colonel took the top off the coffee can and saw that there was only one little spoonful left. He removed the pot from the fire, poured half the water onto the earthen floor, and scraped the inside of the can with a knife until the last scrapings of the ground coffee, mixed with bits of rust, fell into the pot."

Thus began the tale that, though nothing special(probably) is still very close to my heart. And that's not just because Márquez considered this as his best one, so much so he wrot
Iris P

★★★★ Stars

El coronel no tiene quien le escriba

El coronel no tiene quien le escriba by Gabriel García Márquez

One of my goals this year is to go back to reading some books in my mother language. This novella by well-known Colombian writer Gabriel Garcia Marquez seemed like a great place to start.

As a young woman growing up in Latin America, Marquez's Magical Realism was at least in part what ignited my passion for reading. Eventually I moved on to other genres, but reading this short novel reminded me why he remains one the continent's most beloved and c
I read this back in 2019 sometime. Comparing it, unfairly, to One Hundred Years of Solitude, I found this fairly lacking. It took me a while to get into it, if I remember rightly, though I did ultimately end up enjoying it, and Marquez's prose. It's short, at least. I read it within a collection of other Marquez stories, all of which were decent but not remarkable. It's probably a 3.5 or a 4. ...more
Aug 12, 2013 rated it really liked it
Really beautifully written.
From the first sentence felt absorbed in the little
village and the life of the colonel and his wife.
Was fascinated by the relationship between the colonel
and his wife.They seemed to have great respect for each
other eventhough their ways of dealing with their situation
were totally different.
Both of them nearly starving to death and he was still living
in hope of a pension whereas she was more practical and wanted
to sell things to keep going.
I was a bit surprised by the e
Allie Riley
Jan 18, 2021 rated it liked it
A powerful little novella which shows the way in which relentless poverty grinds people down, damages relationships and causes great desperation. It is obvious that the Colonel waits in vain for that pension and his hope is painful. This tragic short book is well worth a read.
Pooja Singh
Jun 16, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction, classic
"The only thing that comes for sure is death"
-Gabriel García Márquez, No one writes to the colonel
Fifteen years have passed since the Thousand days war ended in Columbia, and the colonel is still waiting for his letter of pension to arrive which was promised after the war.
Struck in poverty, the old man lives with his wife, the couple had lost their only son, lives off by selling little objects around the house and now they are just left with an old clock and their son's rooster.
How long before
Dec 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Apr 01, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I read this book when I was in high school and despite my young age I really like the psychoanalysis. The obstinate Colonel of the anticlerical Cristeros War keeps waiting for the pension that has been promised to him but never delivered. Every Friday, he goes down to the docks, dressed in his best suit in anticipation of the arrival of the letter announcing his pension. Everyone knows that he is waiting in vain, but he refuses to face reality, even though, deep in his heart, he knows that the l ...more
মো. রাহাত খান
No One Writes To The Colonel, the name itself radiates anxiety. And evidently I was engulfed by a fume of despair while reading this short novella. Márquez's choice of words is so immaculate, so precise! And the characters speak with such cheekiness that it's nearly impossible to put down this book. ...more
Jan 06, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Everyone! :)
"You can't eat hope, but it sustains you."

This story is about Colonel and his wife who are starving after a war. Their son was shot in a rooster fight, but the rooster is still left. They are hopeful that the rooster will win the next fight and they will get the money betted on it. They don't know whether the rooster will win for sure. Whether they will survive till the fight or starve to death before it.

"The only thing that comes for sure is death."

The couple is miserab
Sep 21, 2019 rated it really liked it
"You can't eat hope" woman said.

"You can't eat hope but it sustains you" the colonel replied.
I wanted to read a book by him and I thought of starting with a small book.(as suggested by @a.bookish.alcove
But This one doesn't involve magical realism like his other books.

The story is based in the time of martial law, where an old man who was a colonel has waited for 15 years to get his pension and every Friday he goes to check with the post man for his pension.
The story is simple story of h
Lamski Kikita
Jun 07, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: mia, polyana
Those who say that Gabo's best works are his short stories are not mistaken. How can anyone but him recount the history of a nation, an ideology, and a whole continent in under 70 pages?

The colonel and his wife have no names in the book, because they are the main charachters that represent everyone in the era in which tyranny ruled over most of Latin America, leaving those who valued their country the most, more than empty handed.

How sad is it to wait for what you deserve, every friday, for 15 y
In case you were wondering, no one really did write to the Colonel. This was book #3 of my Español-a-thron.

The main character, who remained nameless throughout the whole book, became a Colonel at age 20. It's been 56 years since then, and in that space of time the Colonel "has done nothing remarkable".

He and his asthmatic wife have been living off of their late son's money, but that came to an end. There is nothing left to sell in the house, no source of income and no one to turn to for help. T
Aug 17, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
No One Writes to the Colonel is a novella by Gabriel García Márquez, set in the fictional town of Buendia and Macondo during the Ten Year Colombian Civil War. All the magic-realism of One Hundred Years of Solitude is stripped down to the impossible reality that Márquez describes in his 1982 Nobel Prize Lecture: one that is so brutal, it seems unbelievable to the outsider; one that belongs to Latin America.

The story is about an ageing colonel, who waits his days out in hope for the military
El Avestruz Liado
While One Hundred Years of Solitude might be his most celebrated work, I have always felt that García Márquez is at his top in his short novels. This and Chronicle of a Death Foretold are at least to me his most enjoyable novels by a wide margin.

Briefly, this is the story of a colonel, his asthmatic wife and a rooster who belonged to their assassinated child. Superficially a history of false hopes this is actually more about turning closed eyes to reality, to rely on memories of "better times" (
Oct 18, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: marquez
A very nice novel by Gabo Marquez. More realistic than most of his other works, but still had that 'magic' in it. 4.3 stars - I liked it very much, but it was not powerful enough to give it more. Pun at the end was priceless. ...more
Feb 14, 2021 rated it liked it
Shelves: classics
I dislike not reading books in their original language, I worry for what gets lost in translation and how much of every authors unique style remains. So its hard to say whether Marquez' style is a bit dull, or if its the norwegian translation that is to blame. I have two more books by Marquez which I intend to read in a while so I guess we'll see.

However, the themes of the book definitely redeem it. The story takes place in a time and place I know very little about, and yet I can easily interpre
Aug 17, 2020 rated it really liked it
I picked up this book because I wanted the satisfaction of reading a book in one sitting, and also a dear friend recommended this because it was bound to make me feel "cursive".
To me, the story of the colonel is about longing and poverty and dignity. I found myself wanting to understand his principles of life a little better, and constantly hoping for luck to strike.
Definitely a book I shall re-read on a train ride soon (once the pandemic ends and train rides are permissible by law).
Joselito Honestly and Brilliantly
The colonel is 75 years old. His wife is about the same age and suffers from continuous asthma attacks. He himself is not in good health. He constantly feels something odd inside his stomach and would have high fever in the evenings. The couple are starving.

As a former military man he has applied for, and is supposed to receive, a pension from the government. So every Friday he goes to their town postman hoping to receive a letter informing him that he'll finally receive his long-awaited pension
Nov 24, 2013 rated it it was ok
This story is clearly a prequel on "100 years of loneliness". Marquez hasn't painted yet his exuberant world here, but the ingredients are the same: a 75-year-old colonel, who leads a desolate life with his wife, especially since his son was murdered; he has been waiting for his pension for 15 years; every Friday he visits the postmaster in vain; the only hope rests with the cock of his son who might win a big prize in cockfighting. Nonsense, absurdity and inhumanity predominate in this short st ...more
Ivy-Mabel Fling
Feb 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I think this is a superb little book - one of those that gets better every time you read it! But I am a great fan of García Márquez, so maybe I should only recommend it to those who share my passion for his books!
Steven Godin
A nice companion piece to One Hundred Years of Solitude.
Jun 28, 2020 rated it it was amazing

"You can't eat hope, but it sustains you"

Colonel is colossally patient. He hopes for a mail that would airlift his worries. He hopes that his son, Augustin's rooster would kick it all in the upcoming fight. He hopes that his corrupt politician friend, Sabas, would help him. He hopes that his ailing wife would understand why he is pining his hopes onto a rooster

No One Writes to the Colonel is a novella about a retired Colonel and his asthmatic wife and their life in a martial law imposed country.
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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 later worked as a reporter for the Colombian

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You can't eat it, but it sustains you,' the colonel replied.”
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