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Strange Pilgrims (Marquez 2014)

Strange Pilgrims (Marquez 2014) [Kindle Edition]

Gabriel Garcia Marquez
3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)

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Product Description


Filled with greedy joys, with small pleasures, polished like apples against a sleeve (Observer)

Often touching, often funny, always unexpected, the experience is as enriching as travel itself (New Statesman)

Celebratory and full of strange relish at life's oddness. The stories draw their strength from Márquez's generous feel for character, good and bad, boorish and innocent (William Boyd)

Product Description

Strange Pilgrims is a collection of unforgettable stories about distinctive South American individuals in Europe from the Nobel laureate Gabriel Garca Marquez author of One Hundred Years of Solitude and Love in the Time of Cholera.

'The first thing Senora Prudencia Linero noticed when she reached the port of Naples was that it had the same smell as the port of Riohacha'

The twelve stories here tell of Latin Americans adrift in Europe: a bereaved father in Rome for an audience with the Pope carries a box shaped like a cello case; an aging streetwalker waits for death in Barcelona with a dog trained to weep at her grave; a panic-stricken husband takes his wife to a Parisian hospital to treat a cut and never sees her again. Combining terror and nostalgia, surreal comedy and the poetry of the commonplace, Strange Pilgrims is a triumph of storytelling by our most brilliant writer.

'Celebratory and full of strange relish at life's oddness, the stories draw their strength from Marquez's generous feel for character, good and bad, boorish and innocent' William Boyd

'The most important writer of fiction in any language' Bill Clinton

'Often touching, often funny, always unexpected, the experience is as enriching as travel itself' New Statesman

As one of the pioneers of magic realism and perhaps the most prominent voice of Latin American literature, Gabriel Garcia Marquez has received international recognition for his novels, works of non-fiction and collections of short stories. Those published in translation by Penguin include Autumn of the Patriarch, Bon Voyage Mr. President, Chronicle of a Death Foretold, Collected Stories, The General in his Labyrinth, In Evil Hour, Innocent Erendira and Other Stories, Leaf Storm, Living to Tell the Tale, Love in the Time of Cholera, Memories of My Melancholy Whores, News of a Kidnapping, No One Writes to the Colonel, Of Love and Other Demons, and The Story of a Shipwrecked Sailor.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 967 KB
  • Print Length: 197 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin; Re-issue edition (6 Mar 2014)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #176,845 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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More About the Author

Gabriel García Márquez was born in Aracataca, Colombia, in 1928.

He has written a great number of books, including the masterpiece One Hundred Years of Solitude, and was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1982. He now lives in Mexico City.

Márquez studied at the University of Bogotá and later worked as a reporter for the Colombian newspaper El Espectador and as a foreign correspondent in Rome, Paris, Barcelona, Caracas and New York. His first full-length work, One Hundred Years of Solitude, was published in 1967 to immediate worldwide success. The book is perhaps the prime example of Márquez's remarkable ability to present the supernatural as mundane and the mundane as supernatural. It chronicles the history of a family in the fictional town of Macondo - the loves, hates, rivalries, wars, successes and failures. The novel is an example of postmodernism, treating time with ambiguity and crossing genres and narrative styles. Salman Rushdie has described the book as "the greatest novel in any language of the last fifty years".

Another of Márquez's masterworks, Love in the Time of Cholera, was published to widespread acclaim in 1985. The book, a complex and compelling study of the myths we make about love, is less fantastical than One Hundred Years of Solitude but just as luminous and unique.He is the author of several novels and collections of stories, including Chronicle of a Death Foretold, Leaf Storm, No One Writes to the Colonel, In Evil Hour, One Hundred Years of Solitude, Innocent Eréndira and Other Stories, The Autumn of the Patriach,News of a Kidnapping, The Story of a Shipwrecked Sailor, Love in the Time of Cholera, The General in His Labyrinth, Strange Pilgrims, Of Love and Other Demons and the first first volume of his autobiography,Living to Tell the Tale. His most recent book is, Memories of my Melancholy Whores.

Many of his books are published by Penguin.

Nobel Prize for Literature

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Customer Reviews

3.8 out of 5 stars
3.8 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Dying means never being with friends anymore 19 Aug 2009
This bundle of short stories contains some of the greatest highlights of G.G. Màrquez's prose, like `I Only Came to Use the Phone', `Miss Forbes's Summer of Happiness' or `The Trail of Your Blood in the Snow'.
It contains also another version of Y. Kawabata's `The House of the Sleeping Beauties' (`Sleeping Beauty and the Airplaine'), which continues to fascinate the author. He even wrote a short novel about this theme (`Memories of My Melancholic Whores').

There are also outspoken political stories, ingredients or comments in it: (South-America) `A continent conceived by the scum of the earth without a moment of love: the children of abductions, rape, violations, infamous dealings, deceptions, the union of enemies with enemies.' (`Bon Voyage, Mr. President') or, like the Spanish Franco scene in `Maria dos Prazeres.'
Of course, there are also the sex histrionics and the `miracles' (`The Saint').

These stories shine through their `surrealist shocks' (`The Ghosts in August'), the evocation of the unpredictability of human fate, the meditations on the fugacity of human life and the possibility of a sudden death, or the melancholic memories of crucial personal confrontations and happenings.

They constitute a perfect introduction to the author's major and larger novels, like `One Hundred Years of Solitude' or `Living to Tell the Tale'.
A must read for all lovers of world literature.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Magical, prosaic, ultimately beautiful 22 Jun 2009
I picked this up almost reluctantly after his Memoirs of My Melancholy Whores, which disappointed me. But this is Garcia Marquez back where he should be, a fine book best read slowly and savoured. It's built from 12 short stories, characters in search of authors, and it's about strangeness, about what wrong places do to people who should have stayed at home. Rome makes a lost father into a saint of sorts. A boy goes sailing on light because Madrid has no water. Like magic realism at its best, it bends reality to make room for the more real, then in the next paragraph is prosaic and beautiful in its observations of small things. As with all that he writes, it's ultimately very beautiful. I would read it again, and in the meantime it can sit proudly with great books of his like The Autumn of the Patriarch or The General in his Labyrinth.
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5.0 out of 5 stars More stars needed! 29 July 2011
As a person who has always felt like a strange pilgrim wandering in other lands, this book beautifully brings to life those feelings and images of all things and people foreign. Señor Marquez is sublime, as always. 5 stars does not do this justice.
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1 of 17 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars WAY overhyped! 28 July 2006
I am currently reading Strange Pilgrims and am totally dissapointed, as I was when I tried to read One Hundred Years of Solitude (in Spanish) and Love in the Time of Cholera. I kept reading rave reviews of Garcia Marquez and thought I must be missing something, but the gaping plot holes, abrupt endings and endless repetition in these 12 stories have nearly finished me off! It is declared in the Prologue that the short stories were almost all written at once, as if this is supposed to surprise the reader - but all the characters are the same !! I only moved towards Garcia Marquez' books because I heard of a comparision with Louis De Berniere's stories set in South America, but for me they were a hundred times better.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.7 out of 5 stars  28 reviews
21 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Easy to read, difficult to forget 16 Feb 2003
By Denis Benchimol Minev - Published on
In twelve short stories, Garcia Marquez proves that he is not only capable of writing deeply, he is capable of writing concisely. The stories in this book are extremely thought provoking, relating to the human spirit and little oddities about people.
There is one story in particular that I will not forget. It is about a woman who gets stranded with a flat tire, and hitches a ride with a bus to a mental institution. The story unfolds from there, and I don't think I have ever felt so deeply troubled by a single story like I was in this case. Of the twelve stories, I liked 8 or 9, the others were a little boring (or maybe I did not get them). I highly recommend it, especially for those who do not have the patience to read GM's "One Hundred Years of SOlitude" and would like an intro to the author.
15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The twilight zones of Garcia Marquez 29 Jan 2001
By Michael J. Mazza - Published on
As I read "Strange Pilgrims," the collection of short stories by Colombian-born Gabriel Garcia Marquez, I was reminded of the classic television series "The Twilight Zone." Like some of the best episodes in that series, many of the stories in "Strange Pilgrims" are rich in irony and psychological intrigue, and incorporate elements of the macabre and the fantastic. And many of the stories have twist endings. This collection has been translated into English by Edith Grossman.
These stories deal with Latin Americans on voyages, for various reasons, to Europe. The book thus has a trans-Atlantic, international feel. Highlights of the collection include "Bon Voyage, Mr. President," about a deposed head of state seeking medical attention in Switzerland; "The Saint," a supernatural tale of a father seeking canonization of his daughter from the Pope; the creepy "The Ghosts of August"; and the grotesque "Seventeen Poisoned Englishmen."
Throughout the book Garcia Marquez presents many images that are beautiful or disturbing, but often memorable: a drowned man floating with "a fresh gardenia in his lapel," a moray eel nailed to a door, a bedspread stiff with the dried blood from a murder. An added bonus is the appearance of Chilean poet Pablo Neruda as a fictional character in one of the tales. "Strange Pilgrims" is a varied collection of weird treats from a master storyteller.
12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Colombian Magical Realism Hits Europe 28 Oct 2004
By Robert S. Newman - Published on
I wonder if Garcia-Marquez is capable of writing a bad story. Certainly this selection of twelve are like polished gemstones. They might not be shiny or scintillating, but they are so solid, so satisfying. Each of them centers around Latin Americans, mostly Colombians, and their strange experiences in Europe. Back in South America, they move in familiar patterns, they feel at home, but in Europe, unknown and unseen forces affect them, they are prey to the pitfalls of strangeness, they can't see anything coming until it runs them over. While the gigantic geography, turbulent history, and luxuriant and untamed nature of South America fosters magical realism in authors, at least in Garcia-Marquez and some of the other greats, they also produce characters very much larger than life. Europe has always seemed to me a much tamer place, having reduced uncertainty over centuries--- more set in its ways, with fewer surprises, established, sedate. Garcia-Marquez perhaps sees it in a similar way and it unnerves his Latin American protagonists. An ex-dictator lives in a student garret, sells his jewels, and undergoes a useless operation. A woman disappears "by accident" into a mental institution and a playboy dithers in a cheap Paris hotel, not knowing a word of French, while his young wife dies in a hospital. A postal clerk spends years trying to see the Pope to convince him of his daughter's saintly qualities. He lugs the deceased but uncorrupted daughter around in a huge case. An aged ex-prostitute feels death is at her door, but actually it is something else. Nobody really feels at home, nobody can trust their feelings, because everything works differently. Europe isn't exactly an alien place for them, but they are, each time, unwitting victims of the unexpected.

Garcia-Marquez is one of those authors who seem to write about ordinary people whose lives take strange twists. But the worlds they inhabit, the people around them, the very fabric of their existence seem to me utterly fantastic. His talent lies not in presenting ordinary life, but extraordinary life. You accept a little more, a little more until suddenly you find yourself believing in the unbelievable. In the great warrens of Western civilization, but also in the daily grinds of Asia, Africa, or Latin America, life may take interesting paths, or curious twists, but for the most part, it is very predictable. These stories all have only the veneer of predictability; underneath the realism is full of spooky holes. Yet, that is not only due to a magical tone as in novels like "The Autumn of the Patriarch" or "One Hundred Years of Misunderstanding", it is due to the author's constant combination of known daily life with near-fantasy. You can hardly draw the line between them, so closely does he knit. Great stories by a truly great talent. Read them.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A wonderful collection 18 May 2006
By Amazon Customer - Published on
"Strange Pilgrims" is a wonderful, but sometimes overlooked, collection of 12 short stories from the Nobel Prize-winning author Gabriel Garcia Marquez. The stories that compose the collection vary in length and quality, but even the less successful among them are worthy of the reader's attention. The stand-out stories include "The Saint", "Maria dos Prazeres", "Miss Forbes's Summer of Happiness" and "I Only Came to Use the Phone" -- a bizarre and haunting tale of a young woman whose car breaks down in a Spanish desert, on a rainy afternoon. She is unwittingly picked up as a hitchhiker and mistaken for a mental patient who is taken to an asylum. This theme, of the familiar merging with the nightmarish is explored again in "The Trail of Your Blood in the Snow."

In "I Sell My Dreams", the protagonist meets Pablo Neruda ("He moved through the crowd like an invalid elephant, with a child's curiosity in the inner workings of each thing he saw, for the world appeared to him as an immense wind-up toy with which life invented itself") and discusses the labyrinths of Borges, among other things. "Light is Like Water", a charming ode to the power of a child's imagination, is a story brimming with surreal imagery.

These 12 tales perfectly define the genre of 'magical realism'. The collection also seems like a fine place to start for those seeking to familiarize themselves with the work of Garcia Marquez, before tackling epic novels like "One Hundred Years of Solitude" and "Love in the Time of Cholera". These are the kinds of stories that seem to stick in the reader's memory and welcome repeated readings.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Soaring With Garcia-Marquez 7 Dec 1998
By A Customer - Published on
An incredibly inventive and thought-provoking collection, "Strange Pilgrims" is reminiscent of Milan Kundera's "Book Of Laughter and Forgetting", as well as Tim O'Brien's "The Things They Carried". Constructed as interweaving short stories, these twelve misfit pieces all deal with moving themes: loneliness, death, travel, the otherworldly nostalgia that these phenomena provoke, and ultimately the sadness of being lost in your own experiences. Like Kundera's "Laughter and Forgetting", "Strange Pilgrims" does not attempt to draw lucid conclusions between its seemingly unrelated characters. Instead, Garcia-Marquez simply allows the reader to develop his own relationship to the text. At times, "Strange Pilgrims" achieves what Garcia-Marquez so eloquently refers to when speaking of writing in the book's introduction-"the closest a human can get to the experirence of levitation." Highly recommended.
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