Saturday, August 13, 2016

Chronicle of a Death Foretold- Gabriel García Marquez

Hi Everyone! 
It has truly been a while, I apologise. Due to my long absence some of you may feel neglected, unsure of what to read next following the lack of recommendations I have been providing you with, but not to worry, it is summer time! With summer comes beaches and sun beds, and with beaches and sun beds come long hours of reading and relaxation; I'll be able to provide you all with a new list of recommendations soon, just be sure to direct message me via Instagram or leave a comment :)

My first summer read of 2016 is Gabriel Garcia Marquez's, Chronicle of A Death Foretold. I was told various times to read the works of this author by a very good friend of mine, but I hadn't until now... 
As most of you must be aware, I have now moved off YA novels as I am eager to become more familiar and expand the variety and the breadth of the kind of books I read, focusing more on sophisticated and renowned novels ie. classics. At first I found this change in genre a little difficult, as there is a great difference between the language and the entirety of YA novels and adult literature. The first book I had attempted to read was Orhan Pamuk's, The Black Book. I only realised the mistake I had made of starting off with such a book, when I found that I was losing interest in reading, for I truly disliked it; the language and style of writing was too much for me to bare. I figured that I had to start off with something less heavy, something that would be a smooth transition. Therefore, I read Elif Shafak's, Honour (scroll down for the review). After finding that the language and the overall concept of Shafak's book, though similar to that of a YA novels, was to the standard that pleased me, I sought help from my friend, hoping that she would be able to recommend similar novels to me. And so, like multiple times before, she insisted that I read Marquez's works, and this time I did. 

It seems to me that Marquez is most known for his novel, Life in the Time of Cholera. Many were surprised to hear that the first novel I was reading by him was Chronicle of a Death Foretold. Why? I'll discover later. Though it may be that his other novel is better, I must say that I do not regret choosing to introduce myself to his works through this novel. I do not know how his other books are styled, but I found pleasure in reading this novel because of the unique way it was written. Although it is a fictional piece of literature, it reads almost like a diary, a memoir of a past event experienced by the author; the events are so profound that they feel like a past reality. Marquez focuses on journalistic techniques in this novel, showcasing his skill as a journalist rather than that of a novelist. It is written in first person, however, the narrator's identity is not known. As a result the novel creates mystery for we know a lot about the narrator; we are introduced to his family and friends, given a glimpse into his young adulthood but we do not know his name or anything else about him.

The novel takes place in a small town in Spain, in a different period of history. The reader is made aware of Santiago Nasar, the protagonist's death at the very start, and so the novel tells the story of the days before and the events that foreshadow and relate to his murder. The narrator, a member of the society, a good acquaintance to those involved in the crime and a friend of the deceased, tells the story as a person who played a role in the events. Consequently, there is an element of sympathy and strong emotions are displayed throughout. Although the novel mainly focuses on the events that lead up to the killing, it includes recounts and quotations from interviews the narrator held with those involved, twenty-seven years after the incident, giving an insight into what followed and how people were affected.

It is fundamentally based on the desire to unravel the secrets and the reasons behind his death. The novel is centred around the idea of honour as Santiago's execution is essentially an honour killing, committed by two brothers who seek to remove the possible stigma of their sister's scandalous actions. The one thing I continuously felt whilst reading the novel was frustration. Knowing what happens and what one could have done to stop the death drove me up the wall. What made the novel so frustrating and complicated was the fact that everyone but the victim knew that he was being hunted, yet he still was not able to be saved.

As I mentioned before, the style of the novel is very interesting; the way in which information and facts are given create a Sherlock Holmes type of atmosphere. I found that the abundance of characters was both to the advantage and disadvantage of the novel. As the narrator was directly related to the town and the people, his inside scoop to the gossip and his relationships made it ever more authentic and added depth to the plot and the foundation of the novel. The fact that there were many people involved added to the complications, the severity, and outrageousness of the death, making the novel rise to its value. The vast network of relationships and interactions built a stronger sense of a genuine community and added to the excitement. On the other hand, as there were so many characters, there were many interferences and I often got confused with all the names and different life stories that were shared with me.

I have to say that I am extremely glad that I finally followed my friend's advice and read the novel. Now that I have, and truly understand how great a novel Marquez can produce, I am certain that I'll be reading many more of his books.

Have a wonderful rest of the summer!

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