Top positive review
27 people found this helpful
Storytelling at its best
on 1 May 2005
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.