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Of Love And Other Demons Paperback – May 2, 1995


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 160 pages
  • Publisher: Alfred A. Knopf; 1st edition (May 2, 1995)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 067943853X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0679438533
  • Product Dimensions: 1 x 6.2 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (115 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #866,569 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

The incantatory power of Garcia Marquez's prose is as potent as ever in this mesmerizing story inspired by an amazing event he witnessed almost 50 years ago, as a journalist observing the transfer of burial remains from the crypt of an old convent. When one tomb was opened, "a stream of living hair the intense color of copper spilled out." More than 22 meters in length, it was attached to the skull of a young girl whose body had been interred for 200 years. Remembering his grandmother's tales of a 12-year-old marquise who had died of rabies from a dog bite, Garcia Marquez has imagined the girl's life and the circumstances of her death. As usual, the atmosphere is colored by magical realism: dreams and portents, inexplicable, miraculous events. The offspring of a melancholy, ineffectual marquis and a mother yoked to "insatiable vices," Sierva Maria is raised by the family's West Indian slaves, who teach her the Yoruban language and magical practices. She is bitten by a rabid dog but shows no real symptoms; the local bishop, however, decides she is possessed by demons and orders her incarcerated in a convent where she will be exorcised by his gentle librarian, Father Delaura. But Delaura becomes possessed, too?by his love for this suffering child three decades his junior. Garcia Marquez describes the physical tortures inflicted on Sierva Maria as graphically as he does the rapturous?but chaste?love between the innocent, terrified girl and her confessor. A Jewish-Portuguese doctor says that "killing her would have been more Christian than burying her alive." This tragic tale is in essence an outcry against intolerance and bigotry and an indictment of a degraded Church that used its power with narrow-minded cruelty. In the end, the power of love transcends the earthly sphere.
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal

In a Latin American port city during colonial times, a young girl named Sierva Maria de Todos los Angeles?the only child of the ineffectual Marquis de Casalduero?is bitten by a rabid dog. Her father, who has shown no interest in the child, begins a crusade to save her life, eventually committing her to the Convent of Santa Clara when the bishop persuades him that his daughter is possessed by demons. In fact, Sierva Maria has shown no signs of being infected by rabies or by demons; she is simply being punished for being different. Having been raised by the family's slaves, she knows their languages and wears their Santeria necklaces; she is perceived by the effete European Americans around her as "not of this world." Only the priest who has reluctantly accepted the job as her exorcist believes she is neither sick nor possessed but terrified after being inexplicably "interred alive" among the superstitious nuns. Nobel Prize winner Garcia Marquez writes with his usual inventiveness, but over the years his prose style has crystallized and condensed. The result is a tale whose sharp social retort is made all the louder by the luminous, uncluttered telling. Highly recommended.
-?Barbara Hoffert, "Library Journal"
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Customer Reviews

This was one of the few books of his I had yet to read.
Jarucia Jaycox
The story is void of any plot complexities which allows the reader to become emotionally involved with the characters for a gut wrenching experience.
Enrique Torres
I was surprised at how much I enjoyed the book and would recommend it as a great read to practically anyone.
Muriel Hahn

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

78 of 82 people found the following review helpful By Campbell Roark on January 28, 2004
Format: Paperback
I couldn't put this down, read it in one afternoon on a bench by the bay. Marquez has created a world entirely of his own, this isn't Columbia in the 17th Century, nor is it some dreamscape stalked by nightmarish figures. This is a tale of robust power, dealing with lust, love, sickness, transgression, madness, faith, frailty, flesh and loss. In this world presented to us, each of them swirl together until you can't distinguish them from each other. The lives of the people in the pages: the rotting, resigned father; the impassioned atheist doctor; the brilliant, doomed and tormented priest; the deluded sex-crazed mother; the drooping slaves; the vindictive nuns... and at the heart- the crimson-haired little girl as a primal force of nature- incomprehensible, vibrant, fierce... A resounding laugh in the faces of the Stoics who intoned- "Live According to Nature." The writing bursts with energy, with poetry, with blood and bile and pale venom- you can almost smell the pages sweat. Few books evoke so much with so little (it's very short, after all). This is a fine novel, an abundant and wretched dream that will possess you for as long as you immerse yourself in it.
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42 of 44 people found the following review helpful By Reverend_Maynard on September 18, 2002
Format: Paperback
Whilst `Of Love and other Demons' deals with an extraordinarily driven yet inherently sad love story, it includes none of the subtle, gentle comedy of `Love in the Time of Cholera', nor does it include the lengthy, dense atmosphere present in 'One Hundred years of solitude'. The bones of this tale are simple. At the centre of the story is Sierva Maria, daughter of Don Ygnacio de alfaro y Duenas, Lord of Darien, and Bernarda Cabrera, wealthy Lord and Lady of a Colonial Colombian seaport. Sierva Maria leads a bizarre home life. Her father is introduced as a man who `lives in fear of being alive' whilst her mother is an addict of violent sex, cacao and fermented honey who similarly describes herself as `a dead woman'. As both estranged parents shun their child because they hate what they see of one another in her, Sierva Maria is essentially raised by the household slaves. Strangely it appears that the only people in the novel not enslaved to the hardship, convention and routine in society are those enslaved to slavery itself. Due to this, Sierva Maria leads a relatively happy childhood, albeit in bizzare and unconventional fashion. However, Sierva Maria's lifestyle is brought to an abrupt end when she is bitten by a rabid dog, introducing the possibility of disgrace falling upon her family. Though there is absolutely nothing to indicate she has actually contracted rabies, her lifestyle is finally noticed by higher authorities and it is believed this seemingly bizarre behaviour (mixing with African slaves) must constitute demonic possession. Hence she is delivered to the convent of Santa Clara, to the 'Pavilion of those interred in life'.Read more ›
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22 of 23 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on November 1, 2000
Format: Paperback
Of Love and Other Demons opens with a description of the author/narrator, in 1949, reporting the excavation of a convent of Clarissan nuns, and seeing "a stream of living hair the intense color of copper" spill out of the crypt. The hair belongs to Sierva Maria de Todos los Angeles, a marquise who is now two hundred years dead, the protagonist of this grotesque, terrible and gloomy story.
This book is pure Garcia Marquez, so you know it has to be good. The world inhabited by the characters is an incredible one; one whose truths are as strange as its demonic magic. Although a love story of sorts, Of Love and Other Demons has none of the comic antics of Love in the Time of Cholera; it reminds one more of the spare and grim Chronicle of a Death Foretold.
Sierva Maria is the only child of Don Ygnacio de Alfaro y Duenas, the second Marquis de Casalduero and Lord of Darien. Garcia Marquez describes him as "a funereal, effeminate man, as pale as a lily because the bats drained his blood while he slept." Don Ygnacio really doesn't do much with his time other than lie in a hammock and look at the world with fear and gloom in his heart.
Bernarda Cabrera, the Marquis's second wife, is Sierva Maria's mother. She is as addict of violent sex, cacao and fermented honey; a woman from the merchant class who had formerly been in love with a slave named Judas Iscariote. Filled with hatred for her own child, Sierva Maria was brought up by black slaves and learned to worship Yoruban gods, sing African songs, speak African languages. Sierva, in fact, prefers the vital, alive slaves to the decadent and perverted Spaniards.
Despite her odd parentage, Sierva is a happy child until the day she is bitten on the ankle by a strange dog.
Read more ›
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Andrew G. Morkos on November 28, 2003
Format: Paperback
No one can fuse logic and magic like marquez. In "Of love and other demons", a beautifully lush and colourful book, marquez seeks to examine the blured relationship between love and logic.
It is about a young girl who is bitten by a rabid dog on her birthday. Subsequently, after failed attempts to cure her, she is suspected of infact being possessed. As a measure, she is sent to a nearby convent, and Priest Delaura (relatively young but dynamic) is sent to take charge of this matter. However, he falls deeply in love with her, and comes to believe that she is infact not at all possessed. He is a voice of reason, in an otherwise ignorant and paranoid world.
This may sound dry on one level, but that is what makes marquez such a phenomenon. The prose is bursting with life. You read as if mesmerised by all the dreams, motivations and love. It is a passionate love story, but also "tragic" in a sense. MArquez portrays love as a demon of sorts, in that it can take over a seemingly controlled individual (in the case of Delaura) much like demonic possession. Love is undeniably and incomparably fulfilling, yet heart breaking all at once. Read this short parable, and be enchanted by its utter beauty.
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More About the Author

Gabriel García Márquez (1927 - 2014) was born in Colombia and was a Colombian novelist, short-story writer, screenwriter and journalist. His many works include The Autumn of the Patriarch; No One Writes to the Colonel; Love in the Time of Cholera and Memories of My Melancholy Whores; and a memoir, Living to Tell the Tale. He was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1982.

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