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No One Writes to the Colonel Paperback – Bargain Price, August 25, 1979
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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.
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.
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.
One of the central theme in this book is "money isn't everything unless you don't have any".
'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.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Even though Marquez considered it as his best novel, I do not think it can be compared with his 100 Years of Solitude or Love in the Time of Cholera. Read morePublished 3 months ago by Helene Parasiakis
I just finished reading "No One Writes to the Colonel", and I highly recommend it. I was already a fan of Gabriel Garcia Marquez after having read "One Hundred Years of... Read morePublished 6 months ago by Marelisa Fabrega
A very sad story that is also frequently funny written in the unique Marquez style but without magic realism. Read morePublished 6 months ago by J.A.MANOHARAN
This small book hosts a collection of interlinked stories that superbly reflect the qualities of Gabriel Garcia Marquez's richly atmospheric writing. Read morePublished 18 months ago by keetmom