What can I say about this novel that hasn’t already been said? It’s amazing, truly, and funny and sad and full of wonder. Gabriel Garcia Márquez is one of those authors that thrills me. When I read his works I feel giddy, excited, like the world is fresh and new.
I’ve been a fan of Márquez for many years. The first book of his I read was Chronicle of a Death Foretold, which completely blew me away. I hadn’t been exposed to magic-realism at that point, and his writing – even in an English translation – was like reading a painting…if that makes sense.
In fact, whenever I read one of his books or a collection of his short stories, I end up wanting to relearn Spanish just so I can read him in his native language. (Note: I learned Spanish in college, but it’s been so long and I’ve barely used it, so I’d have to start over again.)
But I’m not going to break down the story and try to interpret the themes. I’ll leave that to the academics. However, I will share one passages that stood out to me. (I underlined them in pencil. I’m not a monster.)
“She had just finished saying it when Fernanda felt a delicate wind of light pull the sheets out of her hands and open them up wide. Amaranta felt a mysterious trembling in the lace on her petticoats and she tried to grasp the sheet so that she would not fall down at the instant in which Remedios the Beauty began to rise. Úrsula, almost blind at the time, was the only person who was sufficiently calm to identify the nature of that determined wind and she left the sheets to the mercy of the light as she watched Remedios the Beauty waving good-bye in the midst of the flapping sheets that rose up with her, abandoning with her the environment of beetles and dahlias and passing through the air with her as four o’clock in the afternoon came to an end, and they were lost forever with her in the upper atmosphere where not even the highest-flying birds of memory could reach her.”
This passage is so beautiful. I think this best encapsulates what I noted above – it’s like reading a painting. I don’t think you can go wrong with a Márquez novel or story collection. I recommend them all. He’s an author I always return to when I need to be reminded of how wonderful storytelling can be.