Chronicle of a Death Foretold
April 26, 2015 § Leave a comment
At a 122 pages Chronicle of a Death Foretold begins explosively, races through a gripping narrative, and ends in a thunderous crescendo. A small town wakes up to what it believes is an innocuous day following the revelries of a grand wedding. Santiago Nasar is a doomed man from the moment he wakes up.
Despite the ending of the book being clear from the first page, Marquez’s writing makes this an engaging and enthralling read. Part journalism, part detective story. Perhaps the most compelling theme in this book is the implication of the entire town in the barbaric murder of one of its citizens. Whether some chose to accept it as an “honour killing”; a matter of revenge, and decided not to interfere in the matters of others, or if they tried all they could to prevent the crime from taking place, ultimately they are all spectators to the ghastly scene of a man being knifed down in front of his house. It is a curious aspect of human nature that that which inspires fear will at times also evoke curiosity. It doesn’t require a particularly astute observer to point out man’s fascination with bloodshed and violence. The attempts to prevent Santiago’s death, at times, border on the farcical, callous, and whimsical. This lends an air of inevitability to the unfolding events; hence, a death foretold.
On a personal note: it’s interesting how the passage of time will alter one’s perception of a book. This, along with The Story of a Shipwrecked Sailor formed my introduction to Marquez’s writing. Back then I didn’t care much for this narrative. You never do read the same book twice.