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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating and unputdownable!
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.
Published on 24 Mar. 2004 by C. Etherington

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3.0 out of 5 stars We Know He's Going To Die !
Couldn't quite see the point of this, although some of the description is beautiful ( which maybe is the only point in reading it ) Marquez doesn't get past the tremendous obstacle of how to hook readers in that aren't completely won over by descriptive strategy alone. Being weened on Hitchcock, I have to take a slightly crass take on this and say, "We know he's...
Published 3 months ago by W. S. Barklam


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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating and unputdownable!, 24 Mar. 2004
By 
C. Etherington (Doncaster, South Yorkshire United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Chronicle of a Death Foretold (Paperback)
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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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A metaphysical murder mystery, 28 April 2004
By 
HORAK (Zug, Switzerland) - See all my reviews
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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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25 of 28 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Storytelling at its best, 1 May 2005
By A Customer
This review is from: Chronicle of a Death Foretold (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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24 of 27 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Fuenteovejuna did it ?, 17 July 2004
By 
B. Alcat (Hanoi, Vietnam) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Chronicle of a Death Foretold (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. There is another pertinent question: who were the culprits?. The girl's brothers or the whole town, that knowing what they were going to do didn't stop them?. In Lope de Vega's words, I believe that "Fuenteovejuna did it"... But that is merely a personal opinion.
My advice?. Buy this book, read it, and reach your own conclusions. You are highly likely to enjoy the process :)
Belen Alcat
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Death of an Innocent, 7 Oct. 2009
By 
G. Lyon (Oxford) - See all my reviews
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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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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Must Read for lovers of Literature, 22 Oct. 2011
To fully appreciate this book, you have to first understand that most writers would have written this entire book within a paragraph. Magic realism is not for those who like fast pace and for many things to happen. It is for those who just want to be told a story, any story regardless of how short or unlikely the plot, and be told it in the most fantastical way possible.

It must be read for the love of reading and for the love of literature, not for the need to read something to pass the time. I could smell the blood sweat and tears as I read this unforgiving masterpiece. It paces the reader with great fluidity until the final and extremely graphic climax.
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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A tragic novel that unfolds its magic before your eyes., 8 Jun. 2000
By A Customer
This review is from: Chronicle of a Death Foretold (Paperback)
This is a novel that I have read many times,both in english and spanish.Each time that I read it ,it is as the first time. You can feel the heat radiating from the pages ,transporting you, in a sense that you feel as though you are a silent onlooker to the events that unfold,powerless to stop them. The claustraphobia of the village and the intense misguided passion of its inhabitants positively infuse your mind with the feeling of anticipation and dread ,knowing all along there can only be one outcome. Although the finale is inevitable and you are aware of this from the begining,it holds your attention to the end and leaves you wanting more of marquez's unrivalled magical storytelling.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Stunning Read, 13 May 2000
This review is from: Chronicle of a Death Foretold (Paperback)
I originally had to read this book as part of an A-level coursework, but it has since become a favourite book. Unravelling the events of a murder, many years prior - the book leaps around in a highly original and exciting way. Every read shows you that little bit more of irony, or a scene you failed to realise the importance of the first tiem around. A truly marvellous work.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Spoilers ahead - even though the book title itself is a spoiler!, 20 Oct. 2014
By 
S. Shamma "Suad" (Abu Dhabi, UAE) - See all my reviews
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Fascinating. Absolutely fascinating.

Even more so after my discovery that the story is actually based on true events that occurred in Gabriel Marquez's earlier years in Colombia! Obviously the names have been changed, and this book is written in the form of a fiction novel, but it is one that makes you root for the character and hope the ending JUST might change, even though you know it won't because you know that he dies from the very first page...

The writing is impeccable, and the storytelling is gripping. It made me feel so many things in such a short span (it is a very short novel). When it was over, I felt such frustration that I couldn't change the inevitable.

Almost thirty years after the crime's been committed, a lawyer returns to the town to try and find out what happened the night of this untimely murder. What follows are different, fragmented, accounts of what happened that night, and it is up to you to try and put together what actually happened.

Here's what I gathered: a girl is married off to a wealthy man, who claimed her as his from the moment he set eyes on her and her family was more than happy to give her away due to his status. On her wedding night, she was advised to cut herself to pretend to have lost her virginity that night. Something must have gone wrong, or she couldn't go through with the pretense that she is unceremoniously dropped at her family's doorstep due to her lack of virginity, bringing them dishonor. Her mother, in anger, beats a name out of her. Santiago Nasar. The man who, supposedly, took her innocence. Her brothers decide to avenge her honor and immediately leave to seek Santiago and kill him.

They walk around town, running into several townsfolk, publicly announcing that they are off to kill Santiago. Some people don't take them seriously, others try to find a way to warn Santiago...but unfortunately, no one is able to stop the inevitable. What really bothers me is that this was a crime that could've easily been avoided, but wasn't. People simply accepted the fact that Santiago was going to be killed and did nothing to stop it.

What was even more frustrating for me, was the scene at the end when Santiago ran home and found the door barred against him due to the confusion of events. His mother thinking he was sleeping upstairs, was trying to protect him by barring the doors, only she ended up facilitating his death.

In a gory final scene reminiscent of Caesar's murder, I sat there reading with my heart beating wildly, and my face stuck in a pained expression that lasted several moments after the book was over.

A wonderful story of a death foretold. Saddens me that it's true, but does not take away from how wonderful the story actually is.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Short Masterpiece from Garcia Marquez, 21 July 2014
By 
S. Roberts (UK) - See all my reviews
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On a practical level for those considering buying this novella - note that it is also included in Gabrial Garcia Marquez Collected Novellas (Perennial Classics), along with Leaf Storm and No One Writes to the Colonel, which represents better value if you are interested in those stories too.

I’ve just finished reading Chronicle of a Death Foretold, a novella that the late Gabriel García Márquez wrote in 1981, the year before he was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature. This short but beautifully constructed tale documents a vicious honour killing in a small Colombian town sometime in the 1950s. Although García Márquez is best known for his magical-realism, the supernatural elements in this story take a backseat to the detailed, almost forensic, examination of a crime.

The narrator of the story returns in his middle years to the town of his origin to investigate the brutal murder of his friend, Santiago Nasar, some 27 years earlier. He reconstructs the events of a few hours of his youth through interviews with the surviving participants and witnesses. García Márquez uses this device to share with us a time and place that has now passed into history – the rural plains of northern Colombia of his own youth (the author was born and raised in Aracataca, which bears strong similarities to the unnamed setting for the story).

The whole story is in this sense told from a modern, cosmopolitan view (that of the narrator) describing a world that holds very different values and morals. Yet the author maintains neutrality in his treatment of the rights and wrongs of a horrific killing, the victim of which was (wrongly, as it turns out) accused of no greater crime (from our viewpoint) and no lesser (from his contemporaries’ viewpoint) of pre-marital sex. The fact that the narrator seeks to understand events and motivations, yet never passes judgement on those involved, allows us to access the alternate reality of a society which can accept the murder of a man they know to be innocent simply to maintain the status quo of social norms. The murder is illegal, even undesirable, but in the culture in which it occurs it is not considered immoral.

Yet while García Márquez paints this time and mentality so vividly, he also conveys to us the certainty that it was drawing to a close. The ‘outside world’ arrives in the form of an investigating magistrate, a devotee of the philosophy of Nietzsche, representing a more recognisably modern set of norms. Even the assassins are reluctant to commit their crime, presenting the town’s citizens with multiple opportunities to prevent it, as if knowing that their world was fast becoming one where such acts would be unacceptable. I couldn’t help thinking of a number of recent cases of honour killing in South Asia, which show that 'universal values' are actually far from universally held in the world today.

As always, García Márquez deals beautifully with descriptions of place and character. I also enjoyed his treatment of ambiguity as he presents multiple viewpoints, hazy memories and conflicting testimonies of a set of events. Just as in a courtroom drama, we are offered some facts that seem incontrovertible, others that are probable or possible but not certain, and a few that are downright unlikely, and allowed to play jury. I also enjoyed the brief cameo appearance towards the end of the novella of an idea of enduring but unrequited love-from-a-distance that would resurface in García Márquez’s writing a few years later as the primary plot of Love in the Time of Cholera.

For all of the narrator’s careful investigation, García Márquez leaves us with one unsolved mystery. If Santiago Nasar did not commit the ‘crime’ of taking the virginity of another man’s bride, who did? The narrator pays (suspiciously) little attention to this matter, leaving him as one potential culprit if we allow for the possibility that elements of his chronicle were written to deceive rather than to inform. However, I have a different theory, but won’t spoil it here!
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Chronicle of a Death Foretold
Chronicle of a Death Foretold by Gabriel Garcia Marquez (Paperback - 11 Jan. 1996)
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