Traveller's Reviews > Chronicle of a Death Foretold

Chronicle of a Death Foretold by Gabriel García Márquez
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Jan 13, 2010

it was amazing
bookshelves: translated, magical-realism, latin-america

Brilliantly told....

I've just re-read this novel; and I've just remembered why it stuck with me after reading it the first time.

I have since learned that the novella is based on a true story, in which the author himself had been involved. This caused the book to carry even more of a disturbing impact for me.

The novel (novella? it's rather short) starts off in detective/journalistic investigative fashion; at first it seems casual and desultory; the narrator seems to be merely reporting. However, in spite of the text having the discipline and surface appearance of a journalistic style, when you realise that the author himself was emotionally impacted by the events, it dawns on you that the author has been attempting to work through his own horror and grief and helplessness at the events described in the book. The disciplined style in which he narrates, and the way in which he arranges the seemingly eclectic (but upon reflection obviously thoughtfully arranged) recollections, adds to the haunting and reflective qualities of the narration.

It is only at the very end of the book that the author exposes one to the more visceral horror of the events, and here the journalistic, almost dispassionate narrative style serves to very effectively portray the horror inherent in this death that was so thoroughly foretold.

The material has been so cleverly arranged that the narration picks up in emotional impact as the "investigation" develops, and the story finishes off with a visceral climax that leaves you feeling as if you had been punched in the solar plexus.

It is a brilliant look at a set of events that was precipitated not only by acts, but by a certain mindset, - a single sexual act (the deflowering of Angela Vicario) ended up affecting an entire town, and the effects could still be felt twenty seven years later.

At the start of his investigation the author sets out to seek answers as to the "why" the death happened. Throughout the book he presents a thousand "if only's"; - of instances of how the death could have been avoided if only this or that had happened slightly differently.

The townspeople seem to believe it was a fait accompli because it was either ordained by fate, or, since it was a deed of "honour" within a certain religious mindset, it "had to" be done.

I get the feeling that these are not the sentiments of the author himself though, and that at the end, he is left with the same rage of helpless incomprehension; which is yet subtly laced with a certain fatalistic acceptance, that he leaves the reader with. The most ironic twist for me was that it was the victims' own mother, who, at the very end, while actually trying to save her son, unwittingly finally sealed his fate.

PS. It would seem that whomever did the Goodreads description introducing the novel, got hold of the wrong plot. It doesn't describe quite the correct set of events that take place in the novel, or even the actual POV of the novel, but oh, well...
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Reading Progress

January 13, 2010 – Shelved
February 15, 2010 – Shelved as: translated
March 16, 2010 – Started Reading
March 19, 2010 –
page 50
March 19, 2010 –
page 122
March 19, 2010 – Finished Reading
February 24, 2012 – Shelved as: magical-realism
November 1, 2012 – Shelved as: latin-america

Comments (showing 1-5 of 5) (5 new)

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Traveller Re-reading this for my next assignment.

message 2: by Kalliope (new) - added it

Kalliope So, you also re-read it...!!!.. in a way it has a circular structures, so it may be appropriate to go back to the beginning when one has reached the end.

Hend Amazing!
I wanna reread it too.

message 4: by Kalliope (new) - added it

Kalliope Yes, I am half way the second reading.. should finish it and write the review...

Miquel Reina For me is a masterpiece of storytelling

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