03 March 2016

Chronicle of a Death Foretold by Gabriel Garcia Marquez



Published: 1982
# of Pages: 122
Source: E-Book, Kindle 


A man returns to the town where a baffling murder took place 27 years earlier, determine 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 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.


When someone is murdered usually only a single person or a couple of people are held responsible. Not a whole town right? Wrong! Marquez pushes the boundaries of what it means to be collectively responsible in this novella. Not one, but a whole town is ultimately held accountable for the death of a single individual. Beautifully written, yet sometimes confusing, Marquez utilizes his journalistic skills to chronicle a death that seemed to be determined by the fates. 

What I appreciated most about this novella was the intricacy with which it was written. Marquez pushes the narrator to recount the days of Santiago's death. What would seem to be a simple recount of detail turns into a complex world of lies, deceit, and general misfortune. Another aspect I enjoyed about this novella was Marquez's blatant stance against sexism and the forced gender roles of the characters. The whole murder is based on the fact that Santiago is responsible for stealing the honor of Angela through pre-marital sex. In this aspect it is okay for a man to engage in pre-marital sex whereas it is not okay for a woman less she have some desire to be labeled as an outcast. Marquez, through his writing, illustrates that this whole scenario could have been avoided if such sexist traditions were abandoned. 

One thing that I had trouble with in this novella was the time jumping. The story of events were told from various perspectives so quite a bit of the information was not easily put into chronological order. As a result, I spent quite a bit of time re-reading passages and deciphering what the characters ultimate beliefs were in reference to the murder. And boy did each side of the tale vary depending on who liked Santiago and who did not. 

I would not recommend going into this book looking for a definite answer as to whether Santiago committed the act or not. The novel is about so much more as it questions our ability to understand collective responsibility, fate, and time old traditions. It's not a book that gives definite answers, but one that forces us to reach into our mind and figure out what the answers to those questions should be. If you are looking for a novella that will make you think and understand cultural differences than I would definitely recommend this book. 

. 5





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