Posted by: Sally Ingraham | May 14, 2009

OT: Chronicle of a Death Foretold – Columbia

Death Foretoldby Gabriel Garcia Marquez

I will admit that for this month’s OT challenge book I wanted something short. I was going to read something else from my list, but I was in Sherman’s the other day and the lovely cover art and oh so thinness of this book called out to me. It also looked pretty interesting. Besides, I had already decided NOT to read Love in the Time of Cholera, but hadn’t yet picked another title by Marquez.

This strange and sad book consumed me during a slow shift at Reel Pizza Cinerama. In five chapters the mystery of the death of Santiago Nasar at the hands of the Vicario brothers is explored, but ultimately not solved. The narrator, coming back to his village after many years, seems to be journalistically searching for the truth. He offers opinions, but for the most part the story is reported through others.

When Angela Vicario is returned in disgrace to her family on her wedding night, she names Santiago as her lover and her brothers set out to murder him for dishonoring her. Everyone in the village agrees about that. But why, if everyone knew the murder was going to happen, did no one try to stop it?

The book is fascinating in it’s details, even as these details tantalize with what they do and do not reveal. The more you learn about the events that wrap the death of Santiago Nasar, the less you’re certain of. The village and it’s people pop into vivid life, and yet the prose is so simple that it all seems like a mirage.

Oddly humerus and yet horrifying, with a dreamlike question about the hurt a man’s own heart can cause him, this book served as an easy but enthralling introduction to Marquez’s world.


  1. I read this a long time ago and liked it, but I think I could profit from reading it again sometime soon. Nice review! P.S. I’ve picked up three other Colombian titles recently (inc. García Márquez’s nonfiction “Noticia de un secuestro,” which is sometimes claimed to be the flipside of “Chronicle”), but now I just need to find the time to read them all. Too many books, too little time.

  2. I really want to read this, too. But why have you decided not to read Cholera????? 😦

    I love your new banner, by the way, so spring-y! My OT book this month I’m reading right now, and it’s a bit long, over 500 pages. Half of a Yellow Sun. I’m really loving it.

  3. Oooh, I love a good “the more you know, the less you’re sure of” story! I’ll have to check this one out.

  4. Richard – I’m just always glad that I never run out of books to read! Wouldn’t that be terrible? 🙂

    Claire – Thanks! It’s not quite so springy here yet as the new banner implies, but we’re getting close. And not to worry – I still plan on reading Cholera sometime. My main reason for skipping it this time round is that two other people have already read it for the OT challenge and I have this thing about lists – I wanted to add something different to the end-of-challenge total-books-read list! 🙂

    Emily – I hope you enjoy it. 🙂

  5. […] 3. May (Original choice: Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel Garcia Marquez – Columbia) Chronicle of a Death Foretold by Gabriel Garcia Marquez – Columbia […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: