Saturday, April 19, 2014

chronicle of a death foretold

Chalk up one more victim for my list of novelists who have been LITERALLY KILLED by my interest in their literary oeuvre Gabriel García Márquez, who died on Thursday at the age of 87. The book review that was the (admittedly slow-acting) catalyst for his ultimate demise was this one for The Autumn Of The Patriarch in July 2007. That list now reads:
  • Michael Didbin
  • Beryl Bainbridge
  • Russell Hoban
  • Richard Matheson
  • Elmore Leonard
  • Doris Lessing
  • Gabriel García Márquez
One Hundred Years Of Solitude is probably the one you want, though I should say I've only read four of the ten or so novels that he wrote - Chronicle Of A Death Foretold and Love In The Time Of Cholera are the other two, both well worth a read. The only critical things I would say are that his penchant for slightly florid book titles may have been an influence on the lesser writers who followed and stank up the bestseller lists with their bloody tractors and mandolins, and secondly that while I realise "magic realism" implies some magical shit kicking off at some point, I can't honestly say that, for instance, One Hundred Years Of Solitude was improved by throwing in the bit about one of the minor characters levitating, any more than these two books were.

Before we get too mournful, though, consider this: now that Márquez is dead we can surely be told the full story behind Mario Vargas Llosa punching him in the eye in Mexico City in 1976, thus ending their friendship. Vargas Llosa is still alive, but he is 78, so I suggest he cracks on and spills the beans, otherwise we may never know.

No comments: