Tag: Books: Latin American Literature

So You Want to Read… (Gabriel Garcia Marquez)

Posted 22 August, 2017 by Lianne in Lists / 0 Comments

So You Want to Read… is a monthly feature here on eclectictales.com in which I recommend books by particular authors to readers who have never read a book from certain authors and would like to start. I’m always happy to recommend books and certain authors to my fellow readers and bloggers! 🙂

Happy August again to everyone! For this month, I decided to feature (surprise, surprise) Gabriel Garcia Marquez. The season prompted me to choose him next, but also because I recently re-read his works (and in the case of three of his works, actually typing up reviews for them). I first read his books around 2007/2009 when I was in university but because of my work load especially in grad school I never got around to reviewing his works properly, though I greatly enjoyed them. He may seem daunting–Nobel prize-winning and all–but his writings are really such a treat.

First time checking out his works? Here’s my recommendations on where to start:

  • Strange Pilgrims (review) — A great introduction. The book features twelve of his short stories, ranging from the dramatic to the strange with varying doses of magical realism, but all of them featuring Latin American characters and experiences. I think it’s safe to say there’s something for everyone in this book and there should be a story somewhere in here that will strike first time readers.
  • Of Love and Other Demons (review) — In my review of this book I mentioned that the story reads like a dark fairy tale and like Romeo and Juliet punctured with elements of madness, sickness, exorcism, and tense family relations. It’s a relatively short tale but Gabriel Garcia Marquez does a lot within the story.
  • Chronicle of a Death Foretold (review) — A short tale that can be read in a day but it leaves the reader wondering and piecing together the clues from hearsay as to why a whole town knew that Santiago Nasar was going to be murdered and no one did anything to stop it. Raises questions about society and values and the group mentality.

And that’s my list! Of course there’s still a handful of his other works that I haven’t read but I think these are excellent books to start with if you’re picking up his works for the first time. If you’ve read his books, which one is your favourite? Which would you recommend for first-time readers? Or which books have you been meaning to get around to reading? Let me know, I’d love to hear from you! 🙂

Review: Chronicle of a Death Foretold

Posted 10 August, 2017 by Lianne in Books / 2 Comments

Chronicle of a Death Foretold
By: Gabriel Garcia Marquez
Format/Source: Paperback; my purchase

A man returns to the town where a baffling murder took place 27 years earlier, determined to get to the bottom of the story. Just hours after marrying the beautiful Angela Vicario, everyone agrees, Bayardo San Roman returned his bride in disgrace to her parents. Her distraught family forced her to name her first lover; and her twin brothers announced their intention to murder Santiago Nasar for dishonoring their sister.

Yet if everyone knew the murder was going to happen, why did no one intervene to stop it? The more that is learned, the less is understood, and as the story races to its inexplicable conclusion, an entire society–not just a pair of murderers—is put on trial.

Strange, for such a quick read–you can easily read this in a day–I actually never got around to writing a book review for it. Given that I was reading some books by him that I never got around to, not to mention hoping to get around to re-reading his other books again, I decided to revisit it.

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Review: Strange Pilgrims

Posted 8 August, 2017 by Lianne in Books / 0 Comments

Strange Pilgrims
By: Gabriel Garcia Marquez
Format/Source: Paperback; my purchase

In Barcelona, an aging Brazilian prostitute trains her dog to weep at the grave she has chosen for herself. In Vienna, a woman parlays her gift for seeing the future into a fortunetelling position with a wealthy family. In Geneva, an ambulance driver and his wife take in the lonely, apparently dying ex-President of a Caribbean country, only to discover that his political ambition is very much intact.

In these twelve masterly stories about the lives of Latin Americans in Europe, García Márquez conveys the peculiar amalgam of melancholy, tenacity, sorrow, and aspiration that is the émigré experience.

Hehehe, you could say I’m on a bit of a roll getting around to Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s books (either revisiting or new books altogether). I heard good things about this collection so I decided to pick it up next 😀 Plus, it’s a nice change of pace; I was curious to see how Gabriel Garcia Marquez reads when it comes to short stories.

Well, this was certainly an interesting collection of stories featuring Latin American characters in different parts of the world. The stories can be surprising, sad, hopeful, some with a touch of magical realism, other stories a tale of living in foreign lands and struggling with everyday life. These stories may seem like everyday occurrences but they nonetheless are told with such a wonderful narrative and Gabriel Garcia Marquez’ own way of conveying a story. Some stories of course stuck out more than others, like “Bon Voyage, Mr. President”, “Sleeping Beauty and the Airplane” and “‘I Only Came to Use the Phone'” but short or long, each story was wonderful to read.

There’s not much else I could say except they were interesting to check out and definitely worth checking out if you’re interested in reading something by this author for the first time or are already a fan of his works.

Rating: ★★★★☆

Learn more about the author on Wikipedia || Order this book from the Book Depository

Review: Of Love and Other Demons

Posted 7 August, 2017 by Lianne in Books / 0 Comments

Of Love and Other Demons
By: Gabriel Garcia Marquez
Format/Source: Paperback; my purchase

On her twelfth birthday, Sierva Maria – the only child of a decaying noble family in an eighteenth-century South American seaport – is bitten by a rabid dog. Believed to be possessed, she is brought to a convent for observation. And into her cell stumbles Father Cayetano Delaura, who has already dreamed about a girl with hair trailing after her like a bridal train. As he tends to her with holy water and sacramental oils, Delaura feels something shocking begin to occur. He has fallen in love – and it is not long until Sierva Maria joins him in his fevered misery.

Unsettling and indelible, Of Love and Other Demons is an evocative, majestic tale of the most universal experiences known to woman and man.

It’s been a while since I’ve read anything by Gabriel Garcia Marquez. I’ve read three of his books to date–Love in the Time of Cholera, One Hundred Years of Solitude, and Chronicle of a Death Foretold–but because of the time in which I read them, I never got around to reviewing them here (okay, not entirely true, I did review Love in the Time of Cholera (review) but this was the early days of my blogging and I don’t think I quite appreciated it then; been meaning to re-read it since, actually). Anyhow, to rectify this, I picked up two of his books since, one of them being this title.

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Review: Dona Barbara

Posted 21 September, 2016 by Lianne in Books / 2 Comments

Doña Barbara
By: Rómulo Gallegos
Format/Source: eBook courtesy of the University of Chicago Press

Following the epic struggle between two cousins for an estate in Venezuela, Doña Barbara is an examination of the conflict between town and country, violence and intellect, male and female. Doña Barbara is a beautiful and mysterious woman—rumored to be a witch—with a ferocious power over men. When her cousin Santos Luzardo returns to the plains in order to reclaim his land and cattle, he reluctantly faces off against Doña Barbara, and their battle becomes simultaneously one of violence and seduction. All of the action is set against the stunning backdrop of the Venezuelan prairie, described in loving detail. Gallegos’s plains are filled with dangerous ranchers, intrepid cowboys, and damsels in distress, all broadly and vividly drawn. A masterful novel with an important role in the inception of magical realism, Doña Barbara is a suspenseful tale that blends fantasy, adventure, and romance.

I found out about this book when it was offered as a free eBook from the University of Chicago Press last year. I had never heard of it but was intrigued by it because the book was not only faourite in Venezuela and compared to Gabriel Garcia Marquez’ works but also because the author was the first democratically elected president of the country. It sort of sat on my TBR pile for a year before I finally got around to reading it.

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