This collection of twenty six stories by Nobel Laureate Garcia Marquez was first published as a whole in 1984, although the stories were previously published in three separate volumes. As a consequence, two translators are credited here: Gregory Rabassa for the stories from EYES OF A BLUE DOG and THE INCREDIBLE AND SAD TALE OF INNOCENT ERENDIRA AND HER HEARTLESS GRANDMOTHER, and J. S. Bernstein for the stories from BIG MAMA'S FUNERAL. Both scholars and avid followers will appreciate the chronological ordering of these tales as well as the dating of first publication from 1947 to 1972 to see the progression of a much heralded talent.
As befitting the work of a master, every story is wonderfully told, with deft touches that make each memorable. Many, particularly the early stories, deal with death, particularly the separation of consciousness from the physical body, and many explore the messiness of love. Several combine the two. In "Death Constant Before Love," a politician suffering from a terminal disease falls in love with a girl given to him as a political favor. "The Third Resignation" tells the tale of a seven year old boy who falls into a coma and then grows up in a coffin in his mother's house. Three times, he resigns himself to death. "There Are No Thieves In This Town" chronicles the foolishness of a man who steals three billiard balls from a local pool hall and who loses his wife and unborn child for it. Always, Garcia Marquez's exception talent for storytelling carries these tales alone with a romantic and mystical eye for human vulnerability. His style is never rushed, always lingering over the moment, which gives even the shortest stories the feel of a novella. Not all these stories embrace the magic realism for which the author is famous, although the reader will emerge bewitched all the same.
Gabriel Garcia Marquez is one of the most incredible writers I have ever encountered. He is a profound storyteller. In fact, his work is like a beautiful Magritte painting filled with surreal images. I marvel at the translator. I can't imagine translating "Eyes of a Blue Dog." How on earth was he able to translate such a complicated story? It's incredible! The other stories are amazing as well. My favorites are "Big Mama's Funeral" and "A Very Old Man With Enormous Wings." Each story has a special dose of magical realism. I look forward to reading other books from this author. I highly recommend this book.
on March 12, 2008
Gabo is something else. He is, to put it simply, an astounding writer, with a verve of language and a capacity for fleshing out great characters and fantastic stories unparalleled by any living writer. I daresay he is the best living writer, at least of those who are famous, and I doubt many who read him would disagree that he is at least among the best.
This collection of stories draws upon several other volumes, and spans a fair portion of his very long career (may he live a thousand more years!). If you have read any Garcia Marquez, you will love these little gems as much as you loved his novels-- I enjoyed "Innocent Erendira", "The Very Old Man" and "The Handsomest Drowned Sailor" best of those I recall; sadly, my copy was lost so I don't have a reference at hand.
If you have not read any Garcia Marquez: first, I recommend you do so IMMEDIATELY... there is a reason he is quite famous and a reason he is so renowned; both are very just. This volume is a nice starting point, a gateway drug into the wonderful world of Gabo. Work backwards: the early tales are good, but do not exemplify Garcia Marquez at his fullest strength, and to really appreciate him in the beginning you should really read him at his fullest capacity.
You will almost assuredly devour this little volume and end up begging for more. I recommend, of course, ONE HUNDRED YEARS OF SOLITUDE (his masterpiece, and worth reading no matter what you think of his other works!!!), LOVE IN THE TIME OF CHOLERA, his COLLECTED NOVELLAS, and his more recent STRANGE PILGRIMS, which is another excellent collection of short stories.
But what are you doing reading my review? Get this book and any other Garcia Marquez you can get your hands on, and read, read, read!
on January 20, 1999
Marquez breifly meet Hemingway. Actually he saw him from across the street. He said Hemingway had a passion and relentless fever to write, unsurpassed by no other writer in history. Marquez considers Hemingway to be worthy of his aspirations. It is clear however, in this collection of his short stories, that Marquez needs little improvement in producing images that express passions and feelings deep enough and rich enough to drink. Marquez sets the scene, with the use of a small amount of words. The language is acurrate, and filled with immediate images for the reader. Gabriel Garcia Marquez's short stories exemplify the authors control of his language, and ability to produce such memorable moods and emotions with such little amounts of letters.Translated from Spanish or not, the images are still there. Hemingway has a rival in dynamic simplicity.
on February 12, 2008
You might not like or understand every story, but this is a good read.
Gabriel José de la Concordia García Márquez(1927 - ), or simply Gabo as he was known, was born in Columbia. He started as a journalist, then he became an editor, and a publisher. He won the 1982 Nobel Prize in Literature. García Márquez has lived mostly in Mexico and Europe and currently lives in Mexico City. The 80 years old author is credited with introducing or popularizing magical realism in modern literary fiction.
Some of his works have been classified as both fiction and non-fiction: Chronicle of a Death Foretold (Crónica de una muerte anunciada) (1981), tells the tale of a revenge killing, and Love in the Time of Cholera (El amor en los tiempos del cólera) (1985), is loosely based on the story of his parents' courtship. Many of his works, including those two, take place in the "García Márquez universe." The settings and characters are continued from one book to the next. The stories and novels cross genres and include magical realism: flying people, flying objects, the dead who can still think, etc. He has eight novels and numerous shorter works.
His novel One Hundred Years of Solitude (Cien años de soledad) (1967), has sold more than 36 million copies worldwide.
Based on his writings, it strikes the general that since he has written many short stories and only 8 novels, then it would be interesting to read some of his short stories. At the present time there are three books on the English market, although more have been printed. Five have been printed in the last 30 years, and three are still popular: the present book, The Collected Novellas, and Leaf Storm: and other Stories. Leaf storm has seven stories. The Collected Novellas has Leaf Storm plus two others: No One Writes to the Colonel and Chronicle of a Death Foretold.
The present book has the widest selection since it has 26 stories, long and short, that cover both realism and magical realism. Also, some are aimed at children. I enjoyed the collection and put it in the same class as Joyce's Dubliners, or similar in terms of enjoyment.
My only slight criticism is that his children's stories seem very adult. Some will be surprised with the realism and the lack of magic in many stories.
on January 29, 2005
Marquez takes you into a magical tour throughout this wonderful short story book that you can read repeatedly and never tire from it. He is a master at his art and always engulfs you with a subject simply by using his unique surreal style of putting things together in writing.
I have read this book several times in both languages Spanish and English, and grasped more of his "magical realism" in Spanish, simply because it was originally written in that language and there is always something lost during translation, although the English version was pretty decent. Marquez's words are vivid and visual, as you read the stories you imagine them on a movie screen.
The Man With Enormous Wings is a great one, a shabby old man with wings falls from the sky during a heavy rainfall in some tiny South American village, and since the people that live there are superstitious they assume he's an angel from the far away heavens. So they decide to put him in a chicken coop and spread the word that there is an angel in town so people from all over the place come around with bizarre ailments such as a man that could not sleep because the noise from the stars kept him awake at night. Another woman could not stop counting and she had run out of numbers to count. Well, it goes on and on and nothing happens. The freak with wings becomes sick and somehow manages to fly away flapping it's wings like a vulture while Elisenda is cutting onions.
Then there is The Handsomest Drowned Man in the World, about some children, playing by the sea and seeing some bulky mass approaching them. At first, they think it is an enemy ship, but discover it is a dead body. The kids drag him into the town and all the women in the village start fussing all over him, especially because he was a big man. They clean him up but couldn't find clothes big enough for him to wear since he was a large man, and they decide to name him Esteban which means Stephen in English, I guess because he looked like a gringo. The men in the village start to get a little jealous about the women fuss too much over this dead Esteban. The women make up stories about what his life would have been like, what he might have done for a living, and felt sorrow over this orphan corpse. Eventually after the women grieve tremendously for Esteban, they gather flowers, hold a funeral, and he's thrown back into the sea (this was supposed to be a children's story).
Well, there are twenty four more wonderful stories in this book that you must read including Erendira and her Heartless Grandmother, and Death Constant Beyond Love.
on May 18, 2011
What an epic writer. This book is interesting because the stories are written from the time the author is 21 until he is in his thirties. You can see him grow as a writer through each story and they just get better. Some of them are very bizarre and intriguing and the later ones have the same color, lush vocabulary and humor as all of Marquez' famous novels. The book also arrive in great condition and sooner than I expected.
on May 28, 2012
The covers of The Collected Stories hold three books of stories: "Eyes of a Blue Dog," "Big Mama's Funeral," and "The Incredible and Sad Tale of Innocent Erendira and Her Heartless Grandmother." These all are collections of unrelated stories, except that characters and references from one story, or from any of Marquez' novels, make unsettling appearances in other stories. This adds to the fantastical realism of Marquez' world, which hovers somewhere between Colombia, Paradise, Hell, and Folk Tale. According to the editor of this collection, Marquez said that his grandparents "...recounted the most improbably happenings with the same facial and vocal expressions with which they recounted fact." That is Marquez' style to a T. His associations surprise. His language is delicious. To read one of these stories a night is to ride Marquez' dreams for several weeks.
on November 8, 2000
Marquez is amazing. I've read other writings of his before, including the "One Hundred Years of Solitude," but these stories totally stunned me. Marquez paints a colorful and magical world around you. His stories flow like a river, you go with the flow unable to stop till you get to the end, and at the end he leaves you thirsty for more.
Marquez is an artist, and his stories are colorful, screamingly colorful pieces of art...
on March 14, 2016
This is a review; my personal reaction. You might love this kind of literature. I don't. I was repulsed by it.
"Modern" literature is only critically acclaimed if it's ugly and/or deviates strongly from the status quo of its time. So when I saw that the author was a Nobel winner, I feared the worst. It wasn't the worst but it was in the same camp as the worst.
The stories are like fever dreams, not quite outright nightmares, disturbing rather than terrifying.
If you think portrayals of low-rent deviants wallowing in the backwaters of evolutionary dead-ends (On the Waterfront, Midnight Cowboy, Taxi Driver) are "genius," then this collection might be for you. Personally, I'm tired of celebrations of disease, poverty, cruelty, depression, insanity, desperation...