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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Triumph of Hope
Marquez has done it again, to weave a story of pathos and vividness which, even a gifted painter would find it difficult to portray. Set in a small Mexican town, the world of the Colonel and his wife along with the memories of his lost son and his parting rooster, become a symbol of defiance, a triumph of human spirit amidst the ruin and the debris that has come to haunt...
Published on October 28, 2003 by subrat

versus
15 of 21 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A low-key study of old age.
Although there are a few minor events in Marquez's muted novella - a funeral, a trip to the casino, the arrival of a circus, a cockfight trial - the story is more concerned with the mundane fact of the colonel's repetitive everyday existence, his domestic rituals, walks, conversations, his waiting for the official letter confirming his pension that never comes. Details...
Published on September 13, 2001 by darragh o'donoghue


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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Triumph of Hope, October 28, 2003
Marquez has done it again, to weave a story of pathos and vividness which, even a gifted painter would find it difficult to portray. Set in a small Mexican town, the world of the Colonel and his wife along with the memories of his lost son and his parting rooster, become a symbol of defiance, a triumph of human spirit amidst the ruin and the debris that has come to haunt the Colonel in all possible forms.A pension that never comes, an asthma of his wife that never cures and a life that does not have enough food, confront the world of the exploiter.The memories of the Colonel's dead son and his rooster become the living example of bravery which may have deserted many hardened Colonels. This bravery unfolds itself as the Colonel defies everything in life, even the approaching depriviation and death, as the Col. zealously protects his honours and values. The sale of his rooster, possibly his only option for continuance of his life, is heroically opposed, despite a clear possibility of stark and naked death knocking at his door. In thus defying death the Col.has sought to immortalize his life and possibly all that life stands for - hope.
A million such examples abound. What is brilliant is that the pathos of a lonely life, devastated by a crumbling world, and the undaunting spirit of a man fighting against everything from insensitivity to disease has been so movingly portrayed in the novella. Beneath this brilliant portrayal of human pathos lies a subtext that is deeply political and social. Politics of the country and its victims are most tellingly described through the Col. and his travails. Marquez is a writer who is a dreamer and an activist too. In his Col.who is both the hero and the anti-hero, Marquez has punched politics and sufferings in a brilliantly conceived character and has invested him with a realism that transcends nations and nationalities and speaks a language which is moving and absorbing.
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15 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars No One Writes to the Colonel, January 15, 2004
By 
Damian Kelleher (Brisbane, Australia) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This story, about an old, sad Colonel who spends his time waiting for a pension that, deep down, he knows he will never receive, is simply heart-breaking. Every paragraph is laced with sadness - sadness that his circumstances are how they are and sadness that it won't ever really change, not even in the promised January when the rooster will finally pay off for him and his wife and they can finally put the memory of their dead son behind them.
It was a short story, only ~60 pages long, so I'd highly recommend it to anyone who wants to read something quickly. It is rather depressing, probably made more so by the fact that the Colonel is a dignified man and that he knows that the misfortunes of his life are not his fault at all. Unfortunately, even at the end, there isn't any real hope. It does end with a great last line, but there is no retribution, no deliverance, no satisfaction to be had for the Colonel and his wife. I think that if Marquez had solved all of the Colonel's problems, it would have been a weaker story, so I'm not too upset about that.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Marquez only does Superb!, July 12, 2010
This review is from: No One Writes to the Colonel: and Other Stories (Perennial Classics) (Paperback)
A set of short semi linked stories set in and around the wonderful Latin American Kingdom Maquez created in '100 Years of Solitude' including the novella of the Colonel, who fought in the revolution and has been betrayed;relying on a Cock to win him some money to keep starvation at bay.
This is a superb collection, each tale in some way telling of the futile revolutions that never end up benefiting the people; the stiffling bureaucracy, the corruption, nepotism and autocracy of Latin American politics and life in a small town.
Stand out stories ; 'There are no Thieves in this Town' where a pointless theft of the billiard balls from the pool hall affects the whole life of the town and reaps an innocent victim;the lyrical fable 'One Day After Saturday' and 'Montiels Widow'; a Town changes when the local tyrant dies...
But the whole book is superb. Garcia Marquez just doesn't do 'average' and reading him is a pleasure.
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15 of 21 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A low-key study of old age., September 13, 2001
Although there are a few minor events in Marquez's muted novella - a funeral, a trip to the casino, the arrival of a circus, a cockfight trial - the story is more concerned with the mundane fact of the colonel's repetitive everyday existence, his domestic rituals, walks, conversations, his waiting for the official letter confirming his pension that never comes. Details about the region's political situation and history filter through gradually, and despite a shortage of exterior detail, there is some local colour - the postmaster drinking pink froth as he makes his way through harbour stalls to meet the launch; the priest who gives movie censorship details by bell-ringing, spying on the cinema to note the disobedient.
'No-one writes to the colonel' is a portrait of old age, that period when physical decay conflicts with still-alert mental pride; the dependence on others with the unreliability of family, friends or the State; increasing poverty with forlorn attempts at gentility; the dreadful trauma of outliving your children; the perhaps worse fate of seeing your ideals and efforts fail, the world constituted in someone else's image.
Your pleasure in this story will probably depend on how you take the colonel, from whose point of view it is almost entirely narrated - he has no interior life, there are no accounts of his feelings or opinions beyond what he says to others, so revelation of his character must be gleaned through movement and the things he notices. The focus on mundane objects, conversations and rituals takes on a spiritual force, but can come close to sentimentality as Marquez over-eggs the colonel's dignity; although it is just as easy to see the hero as a kind of moral monster in the way he treats his wife so that he can uphold his dubious honour.
'Colonel' is written in that Hemingway-esque style which is always called 'deceptively simple': there are few of the heart-quickening flourishes that made Marquez's masterpiece '100 Years of solitude' so magical - a brilliant funeral scene where the wilting Colonel is addressed by the corpse; a crisp December morning in which the privy livitates, if only for a milimetre.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars highly recommend, May 9, 2010
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This review is from: No One Writes to the Colonel: and Other Stories (Perennial Classics) (Paperback)
The part that made me the most happy was how "One-Hundred years of Solitude" got referenced. This is a collection of short stories that is an easy read. The writing style is such that you can "see" what the author is saying. This may also be one of the most strange banterings between man and wife I have seen.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Sad and Depressing but such a well written story, October 10, 2009
This review is from: No One Writes to the Colonel: and Other Stories (Perennial Classics) (Paperback)
Every time when I'm feeling lonely, I always say "No one writes to the Colonel". That's the feeling that you take away from this book, I def would not recommend this book if your standing on the edge of the rooftop cause you probably will jump (then again i don't recommend reading on edges of rooftops either). The book tells a story of a aging, dying, old man, who fought alongside General Buendia in his heyday, who is waiting for pension from the war day after day. He lost his son, his wife is dying everyday from asthma, he sold all his belongings to pay for food including his son prize fighting cock, all he have left is the hope that one day all his troubles will end when finally receive his pension.

One of the central theme in this book is "money isn't everything unless you don't have any".
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Another great short story, March 6, 2008
By 
Always Reading (Fort Washington, MD USA) - See all my reviews
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As usual, Garcia Marquez delivers. Serious social commentary - all of us know about folks who serve their country in wars, to live in poverty and neglect when they return home - but great story!
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4.0 out of 5 stars Quirky, humane story telling by the master, July 22, 2014
By 
keetmom (South Africa) - See all my reviews
This review is from: No One Writes to the Colonel: and Other Stories (Perennial Classics) (Paperback)
This small book hosts a collection of interlinked stories that superbly reflect the qualities of Gabriel Garcia Marquez's richly atmospheric writing. The setting is a poor village in a dysfunctional Latin American country where poverty and criminal power-plays dominate the lives of the residents. This could make for sombre reading, but Garcia Marquez captures a different reality, allowing his reader to laugh and cry along with the quirky individuals whose hopes and fears he exposes in critical moments of their lives. It is in the smallest details - the matter of a rooster or some billiard balls - that the power of the stories vests, rather than the big dramas, making them all the more memorable.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Colonel, October 27, 2007
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This review is from: No One Writes to the Colonel: and Other Stories (Perennial Classics) (Paperback)
An excellent translation of Garcia Marques's short stories.
The work is exact word by word. Wish they publish the original in Spanish as well. As a student of Spanish literary, this work is a great help.
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2.0 out of 5 stars Two Stars, July 14, 2014
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This review is from: No One Writes to the Colonel: and Other Stories (Perennial Classics) (Paperback)
The title story was tedious reading for me, but I am going to read it again
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No One Writes to the Colonel: and Other Stories (Perennial Classics)
No One Writes to the Colonel: and Other Stories (Perennial Classics) by Gabriel Garcia Marquez (Paperback - February 1, 2005)
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