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In Evil Hour Paperback – November 20, 1991

3.8 out of 5 stars 23 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"An openly political novel posing the people of the land against the forces of oppression...it has the virtues of wit and compassion and reveals the foundation upon which the later novels were constructed."-- Jonathan Yardley, "Washington Star""More than a prelude...the dazzling sense of place, the colorful idiosyncrasy of character are present for us to marvel over once again."-- "The New Republic"""One Hundred Years of Solitude" is just around the rain-drenched corner."-- "Boston Globe"

From the Back Cover

Written just before "One Hundred Years of Solitude," this fascinating novel of a Colombian river town possessed by evil points to the author's later flowering and greatness.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Harper Perennial; Reprint edition (November 20, 1991)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0060919647
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060919641
  • Product Dimensions: 5.3 x 0.4 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (23 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #387,803 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
"In Evil Hour" is one of the early novels written by Gabriel Garcia Márquez. Published in 1962, it was previous to his "A Hundred Years of Solitude" and "The Autumn of the Patriarch", some of his most famous novels and that consolidated his style. Considering that, one can say that this novel is really good. It is not as fine tuned as his best works, there is no Magical Realism in here -- actually, the book is quite realist -- but it is such an engaging and well conceived story that it is impossible to stop reading.

The narrative is set in a small town ruled by a peculiar mayor. He fills the role of both mayor and deputy -- in other words, he is the law in that place. The citizens having been facing a small problem. Every morning someone finds in his, her door a bulleting anonymously written telling a gossip about him, her or the family. The strange thing is that the fact stated in the piece of paper is known by everyone, despite people not talking about it. So what is making the citizens tense is not what will be said but who is saying those things.

Solving this mystery is a job to the nameless mayor, but he is not very interested in it. To his knowledge this kind of gossip will stop sooner or later. He has a very interesting role in the book, since he is such a dubious character. As the reading progress, one can notice that he can't be simply described as good or evil. It is much more complex than that. So are townspeople. Márquez make them appealing folks with very interesting background stories to keep the pages moving.

"In Evil Hour" deals with politics, but in a very subtle way. Hints are given here and there about the recent changes the town has faced. The past seems to have been obscure, but we are never certain of that.
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Format: Paperback
The initial reaction to reading this short novel is that the author forgot to finish it. The book has a plot and the reader gets drawn into it but the story seems to end ahead of the anticipated conclusion. The reader is left wanting answers and may go away disappointed. However, I believe Garcia Marquez only meant to give us a snapshot in the life of a community in turmoil. I believe he meant for us to be left in the dark. Perhaps he wanted to give an impression of a world where there is always conflict without resolution.
This is a well-written book with an interesting cast of characters. It is, nonetheless, a snapshot; not the whole roll of film.
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Format: Paperback
In Evil Hour hasn't enjoyed the respect it should, as a contemporary masterpiece, at least on par with Love in the Time of Cholera.

Readers who cite a lack of plot have not fully explored this book. The reality of this novel is that all of the messages, most of the plot, and a good part of the action are implied, rather than explicitly stated. If one were available, I would recommend picking up a Cliff's Notes or Sparknotes for this book, due to the confusing structure and dense, recondite prose; none of the editions I have read so far has included an introduction or explanation of the book more thorough than what is written on the dust jacket.

Ultimately, If you're looking for some good, light, poolside reading, skip In Evil Hour - this is not that sort of book, and you will be left confused and unsatisfied with the book. However, if you are prepared to read it twice, carefully, in order to understand the subtexts and allusions, this book will enchant you and become a favorite.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I bought this book a while ago when I realized that there still was at least one book by Gabriel Garcia Marquez that I hadn't read.
I understand that this may have been his first published novel, long before his infamous "100 Years of Solitude." Garcia Marquez is never an easy read though his short stories are best if you are new to his writing.
"In Evil Hour" is a layered story of a town in turmoil. Someone is the town is making billboards with the townspeople's secrets on them. It is a fascinating idea, but it is the kind of book that needs to be read in a class or a reader's club in order to capture all the nuances of the story. One reviewer said it needs to be read more than once. Although I agree, I am not the kind of person to re-read anything.
I enjoyed all the interesting characters, but sometimes had trouble remembering who was who. If I find anymore of Garcia Marquez's books that I haven't read, I think I will look for someone to read along with me. Someone to help me get all there is to get from this author of complex, multi-layered fiction.
RIP Sir Gabriel Garcia Marquez. You deserve it!
Sherrie Miranda is the author of "Secrets & Lies in El Salvador"
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Format: Paperback
"In Evil Hour" is a swift portrait of a Colombian town that connects the awful force of oppressive regimes to the bald paranoia of a town feeding itself rumor after rumor about its own citizens. The themes are there, but might seem obtuse upon your first reading. Still, the book pretty clearly says that tyranny leads to an abandonment of sense and a mean discontent, a desire to assert yourself by shaming the powerful when you have no democratic outlet for expression. This is a novel of the quietly disenfranchised and supposedly pious succumbing to the base desires of an evil hour.

The salilent point in grasping it all comes when you realize a lot of essential action is implied. Marquez has called Faulkner his "master" and here, while Marquez is still developing his own voice, he borrows heavily on Faulkner's style of orcing the reader to infer basic plot action. For example, Trinidad is arguably a lampooner. She's the one who first mentions them and she mysteriously falls sick when the curfew is set. Note thhe relationship betwen joyfully killing mice and her taking glee in the misfortunate of the lampoons. She's abused and belongs to a clergy robbed of real holiness and indepedence from the state; it's no small wonder she's vicious ... or that her replacement, Marquez implies, has placed more lampoons as the story concludes.

Another chief feature of Evil Hour is that it has no moral protaganist. The mayor is a government bully: his character is a wry, generous picture of a bored, opportunistic tyrannical hoodlum -- and the judge? The judge is lazy and corrupt beyond measure.

The priest is the most sympathetic main figure because he is devout and fatalistic at once.
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