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The Bellinghman

#74 Gabriel García Márquez: Strange Pilgrims

Gabriel García Márquez: Strange Pilgrims

Paperback: 190 pages
Publisher: Penguin Books Ltd (29 Sep 1994)
Translator: Edith Grossman
ISBN-10: 0140230963
Category(ies): Magical Realism

This is a collection of twelve stories, all concerning Latin American experience of Europe some thirty plus years ago. As a Nobel winner, García Márquez should be a good writer, and he is certainly shows it here. Some of these stories end happily, some sadly. Some are very short - a mere handful of pages - but many show that strange fantastical quality that is known as magical realism: fantastic events recounted as real. As an example, Light Is Like Water has children navigating a rowing boat in a Madrid apartment.

This short volume also includes an introduction by García Márquez describing the history of the stories, which were meant to be a set, but a much larger set initially. Along the line, he lost the notebook in which the story ideas were listed. And at the end, when he thought they were all complete, he returned to the cities of Europe, and ended up rewriting all the stories once again, in the way that a novel would normally be done, jumping from story to story in the revision process. The result of this is that the thematic feel of the set is much more consistent than they might otherwise be, if they'd been written without regard to each other.

Twelve absolute gems.
Tags: books, reviews

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