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No One Writes to the Colonel Paperback – Bargain Price, August 25, 1979

4.3 out of 5 stars 34 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 176 pages
  • Publisher: Harper-perennial (August 25, 1979)
  • ISBN-10: 0060907002
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060907006
  • ASIN: B000GH2YGK
  • Product Dimensions: 7.8 x 5.3 x 0.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (34 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,239,753 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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.

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
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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Format: Paperback
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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Format: 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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Format: 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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Format: Paperback
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.
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