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Stories by a Master,
This review is from: Collected Stories (Paperback)
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.