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Chronicle of a Death Foretold Paperback – 7 Feb 2008

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Product details

  • Paperback: 128 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin (7 Feb. 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0141032464
  • ISBN-13: 978-0141032467
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 0.7 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (42 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 133,535 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


My favourite book by one of the world's greatest authors. You're in the hands of a master (Mariella Frostrup)

A work of high explosiveness – the proper stuff of Nobel prizes. An exceptional novel. (The Times)

A masterpiece (Evening Standard)

Brilliant writer, brilliant book (Dan Rhodes, The Guardian)

About the Author

Gabriel Garcia Marquez (1927- ) was born in Aracataca, Colombia. His most recent book, Memories of My Melancholy Whores, is his first new novel to be published in a decade and is available as a Penguin Paperback from August 2007. He is the author of several novels, works of non-fiction and collections of short stories, including Leaf Storm (1955); One Hundred Years of Solitude (1967); The Autumn of the Patriarch (1975); Chronicle of a Death Foretold (1981) and The General in His Labyrinth (1989). He was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1982.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
First Sentence
ON THE DAY they were going to kill him, Santiago Nasar got up at five-thirty in the morning to wait for the boat the bishop was coming on. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

14 of 15 people found the following review helpful By HORAK on 28 April 2004
Format: Paperback
A man returns to the town where the murder of Santiago Nasar took place 27years before.
Santiago Nasar got up at five-thirty in the morning onthe Monday he was going to be killed by the twins Pedro and Pablo Vicario.The narrator is told by Placida Linero, Santiago Nasar's mother, thatwithin the hour, her 21 year old son would be dead.
Why did the twins want to kill the proprietor of The Divine Face, theranch he had inherited from his father? Why did they chose that particularmorning, when the bishop was due to visit the village? Why wasn't SantiagoNasar aware of the fact that somebody had shoved an envelope under thedoor of his house with a written document warning him that he was goingkilled, stating in addition the place, the motive and other quite precisedetails of the plot? How could the murder have been committed despite thefact that nearly all the inhabitants of the town knew that it wasinevitably going to happen?
The investigation of this murder takes thequality of a hallucinatory exploration into the past. The narrator's questfor the truth leads him into the darkness of human intentions, a truththat perpetually seems to slither away. This small masterpiece is one ofthe greatest classics of the 20th century.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By C. Etherington on 24 Mar. 2004
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Marquez displays his true journalistic background in this short novel. Moving effortlessly from past to present and seamlessly interweaving accounts from a myriad of characters and his own perceptions he presents us with a riveting account of a 27 year-old killing. There is a dreamlike quality about his language and style that I found very entertaining.
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23 of 25 people found the following review helpful By M. B. Alcat on 17 July 2004
Format: Paperback
How can an author keep the reader interested in his book when he gives away the ending in the first page?. Well, he needs to be an extraordinary writer, with the ability to enthrall the reader completely. Of course, not everybody can do that, but the truth is that the author of this book isn't "everybody". Gabriel García Márquez was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1982, and he clearly deserved it. You can easily see that if you read some of the many master pieces he wrote: this is just one of them.
"Chronicle of a Death Foretold" has many ingredients that make it a wonderful book. In my opinion the most important ones are García Marquez's brilliant prose, and the risk he took by doing the unthinkable: bluntly telling the reader the end of the story in the first pages of the book.
However, I think I should also highlight that the story itself is excellent: a wedding, a bride returned to her family in disgrace, her brothers forced by their code of honor to kill her previous lover, and announcing to all that want to hear them that they intend to do so. This is indeed the "Chronicle of a Death Foretold"... Everyone knows who is going to die, except for the intended victim and his mother.
On the whole, this book is incredibly good and somewhat picturesque. The story takes place many years ago, in a provincial town with different values from those we have nowadays, and García Márquez manages to make the reader understand that. I couldn't ignore the sense of fatalism that pervades the book, probably due to the fact that something is already certain: things will turn out badly in the end.
Despite that, even though we know from the first page what is going to happen, we still want to find out why did it happen.
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25 of 28 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 1 May 2005
Format: Paperback
This book is a little gem that I can rank only alongside Conrad's Heart of Darkness and Dostoevsky's Notes from Underground. Its short length means nothing, because it is so unique and fascinating that you will remember it when all your 500-page novels have been forgotten.
The account is based on a true event which took place in the Colombian town of Sucre during Gabriel García Márquez's earlier years, though the names have been changed in this account. This highlights the fact that this book was not written to be a journalistic reconstruction. First and foremost it is a story - a story of a vicious stabbing against a front door, a murder of revenge, foretold (or "announced" as it may also be translated) in advance all over the town.
The book does not need to be long because it does not set out to provide the thrills and spills of a typical crime novel. It is as cool and evocative as The Godfather, but the gorgeous Latin American stylings serve a higher purpose. Márquez's theme is collective responsibility. Is the whole town responsible for allowing this "death foretold"? Is a whole culture responsible? To what extent is this murder justifiable as a crime of passion?
Márquez puts these questions to the reader by dissecting the events, in the process shedding light upon all the relevant circumstances, motives, culprits, victims and consequences in his simple yet poetic manner.
This is a master storyteller in his element, confronting difficult themes while presenting a plethora of believable characters. It is so concise you could read the book in the time it takes to watch a film, but Chronicle of a Death Foretold is well worth savouring and rereading.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By G. Lyon on 7 Oct. 2009
Format: Paperback
Anyone who stands by while a crime is being committed, and does nothing, is as guilty as those who committed the crime.

This story is about a community's complicity in the sacrifice of an innocent yound man.

A lawyer returns to his home town, and the scene of a murder, 27 years after it occurs in order to gain testimony from the town's living witnesses. What we find is that nothing is clear and that people seem to have differing opinions on the incident. Perhaps it is their guilt that clouds their memories, or perhaps they just want to forget their participation.

A young woman is married off to a man she doesn't know because her family hold his wealth and status in respect. On her wedding night he returns her to her family because she is not a virgin. Her family are outraged, her honour tarnished. To avoid a scandal and to regain her honour she is beaten until she agrees to give the name of the man who despoiled her. She gives a name, the name of Santiago Nasar.

The lawyer and narrator makes an attempt to clear up the mysteries surrounding Santiago's murder by the bride's brothers, slaughterhouse workers who butcher him with their knives. He attempts to separate fact from fiction and what we both discover is that this man could have been saved and that he wasn't.

So who do we blame for his death? The bride? Her brothers? The mayor of the town who, when petitioned for help, went off to the club? The priest who said that he only saves souls? His friends? His fiancee who, knowing his fate, locked him out? The townspeople who knew what was going to happen and so gathered around to watch?

All of them! All except Santiago Nasar himself, for it was not even he who deflowered the young woman.

Not for a long time has a text made me rage and weep in equal measure at injustice and the cruel, cruel nature of man. Have pity, for they had none.
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