Chronicle of a Death Foretold

Chronicle of a Death Foretold by Gabriel Garcia Marquez

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.

One Hundred Years of Solitude remains one of my very favorite books. It was also my first Gabriel Garcia Marquez. I’ve tried off and on to read Autumn of the Patriarch, but sentences that are pages long really try my patience. I can’t sustain a thought that long. I am happy to say that Chronicle of a Death Foretold is Gabriel Garcia Marquez in the style of One Hundred Years of Solitude.

This is a short novel (120 pages), but well-developed. The course of the novel tells the story of Bayardo San Roman, Angela Vicario, and Santiago Nasar, past, future, and present, from all different angles. We see the winding path Angela’s brothers took, not bothering to conceal her plans, and yet, we see a society that is far more inclined to believe the best of people than the worst. Even when they were believed, too often the person who endeavored to stop the brothers from reaching Santiago were waylaid in one fashion or another.

The story turns and tumbles, following path after path, and still, we never encounter the truth of it. Was in Santiago Nasar who took Angela Vicario’s virginity? Did everyone really know what was going to happen and fail to stop it? In true Garcia Marquez fashion, the truth and the lie seemed inexorably bound up in each other.

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