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No one Writes to the Colonel and Other Stories Paperback – August 1, 1978

4.4 out of 5 stars 40 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 220 pages
  • Publisher: Avon Books; 1ST edition (August 1, 1978)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0380009943
  • ISBN-13: 978-0380009947
  • Product Dimensions: 6.9 x 4.1 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (40 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,229,686 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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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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. No matter what Marquez's works are "magical".
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Format: Paperback
The novella and eight short stories in this collection share the same setting, some of the same characters, and the same themes, but each story is independent. The setting is in or near Macondo, the imaginary town representing the author's Colombian birthplace in many of his works.

In No One Writes to the Colonel, a retired officer and his asthmatic wife wait for years in poverty for the Colonel's promised pension. As they near starvation, the only thing of value left to them is a fighting cock that once belonged to their now-dead son. They sell their last possessions to feed the cock while they, themselves, go hungry.

The other stories are similar depictions of people who are impoverished and powerless but not without pride and hope. In "One of These Days" the local dentist gets his revenge on behalf of the people when the town's mayor develops an abscess. In "There Are No Thieves in This Town" a desperate man with a pregnant wife tries to rob the local pool hall but comes away with nothing but three billiard balls. And in "One Day After Saturday" a strange plague of dying birds convinces the local priest that the end of the world is at hand.

With just a hint of the magical realism that would soon become his trademark, these stories would be a good introduction to the work of Gabriel García Márquez.
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