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on 1 October 2001
The book contains Marquez' first novella Leaf Storm, published in 1955, and six short stories. One of these, "Monologue of Isabel Watching it Rain in Macondo", was written the same year as Leaf Storm and can be largely considered as a post-script to it. These, with Nabo (1951, represent the author's earliest work, written while working as a journalist in Bogota.
The four other short stories, published in 1968 are stylistically different and illustrate the impetus thar Marquez, influenced by Borges and Kafka, gave to the phenomenon of Magical Realism. These, such as "The Handsomest Drowned Man in the World" (which interestingly first appeared in Americam Playboy) and "A Very Old Man With Enormous Wings", both display a simplistic power in their story-telling which is combined with a mythical, Freudian imagery that enables Marquez to break down the confines of conventional subject matter.
However, in Leaf Storm itself, we encounter another foundation of Marquez' later development; the town of Macondo. We find it at the turn of the century in a state of social upheaval caused by the arrival of the banana companies. Against this background a mysterious doctor appears in the town and lodges with a colonel and his family whom he later scandalizes by making their servant pregnant; in addition he becomes a pariah, enraging the townspeople by his refusal to treat them.
Some years later the Doctor, now a recluse, hangs himself, leaving the Colonel, to the resentment of the local people, to take responsibility for his burial. It is at this point that the narrative begins; as the Colonel and his daughter cast their minds into the past to come to terms with the nature,not only of the Doctor's life and manner of death, but also with their own existence.
It is here therefore, that Macondo, which was to be the setting for the Nobel prize winning "One Hundred Years of Solitude" (1969), takes shape in Marquez' fertile imagination. It is as he describes, a place where "people are tormented by a prosperous past and the bitterness of an overwhelming and static present". In Leaf Storm the author not only presents us with a town of bricks and mortar, but also the mood of quiet despair that permeates it and, through the invocation of heat, dust, rain and shadows, a vivid sense of atmosphere. As a series of dream-like recollections and memories that join together seamlessly from character to character, it is an ethereal, poetic and truly significant work.
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on 1 September 2016
This is the first book I've ever read by Márquez, and it was a poignant introduction to his beautiful writing style and intriguing world. The main narrative arc deals with a leaf storm that has brought about intense destruction and change in the town of Macondo. In the town a doctor has just died, and the Colonel is determined to provide the man with an honourable burial, even though the doctor was disliked by the town.

Death is certainly a force that permeates the book - there is both the literal death of the doctor, and the figurative death of Macondo, as the town is now unrecognisable after the leaf storm. The whole tone of the writing style is certainly deathly and macabre, and this remains consistent throughout. It captivated me from the first sentence of the first page, to the last sentence of the last page. Some fascinating questions were raised: what does death mean for a community? How do humans respond to death? How does the type of death affect our response to it?

Some of the descriptions themselves are so beautiful and vivid that I actually read over them a few times whilst reading, trying to take in everything in as much detail as possible. Márquez leaves nothing out and at times seems almost cinematic; attention is given to even the most minor of details, and this is something that I really appreciated. Throughout many of the descriptions of the town and its people there was a feeling of nostalgia, looking back to the past and remembering what Macondo once was, and what it is like now in comparison to the past, which is a time of melancholy. It definitely seems that these characters are living lives inscribed by what came before them.

The only aspect that I didn't love so much was the shifting perspectives the story was told from. There are three main narrators, and Márquez often suddenly switches between them. At times I was lost and confused because I didn't actually know who was speaking. Everything fell back into place once the narrator revealed something specific like their age, but overall I can’t help but feeling that the switching between narrators was executed as well as it could have been. I appreciated having different points of views on the situations, but it would have been better if there had been clear pointers as to who was actually speaking.
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on 16 September 2008
First this one doesn't have the six short stories only the story 'leaf storm'. This was my first introduction to Márquez's works and it wasn't the last. It is the perfect book to start off with as it can take a little time to fully understand magical realism. This book also introduces the characters from 'one hundred years of solitude' which is my favourate book.

If you do buy this book you'll see reviews from papers on the front, first two pages and on the back. I'll quote one from the Observer 'A single sentence of García Márquez often has more meat to it than many whole novels'
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... which was actually the initial prelude. I've read a number of the works of Gabriel Garcia Marquez, most notably, his classic One Hundred Years of Solitude (Penguin Modern Classics) as well as Love in the Time of Cholera (Marquez 2014). I first read "Leaf Storm" a few decades ago, and decided it needed a re-read. Like William Faulkner, who found a seemingly inexhaustible source of material in that small postage-stamp size of earth that is Lafayette Co., Mississippi, which he fictionalized as Yoknapatapa Co., so too Marquez produced story after story based on his own town of Aracataca, Columbia, which he would fictionalize as Macondo. Both Faulkner and Marquez would win the Nobel Prize, separated by a bit more than four decades.

"Leaf Storm" was published twelve years before "One Hundred Years..." It is a novella which sets the stage for his later work. All the familiar elements are there: the town itself, of Macondo. Always in the background is the Civil War, which tore Columbia apart, dating from the 19th Century. The Civil War provides so much of the impetus for current actions. And there is the "magical realism" that is the hallmark of Marquez' style... those seemingly impossible events that just happen.

Marquez draws the reader in with the death of a doctor that the town hated. The search for the "why" carries the reader through the first half of the novella. As Marquez describes the town's feelings, in a style reminiscent of Faulkner : "...satisfied rather at seeing the longed-for hour come, wanting the situation to on and on until the twirling smell of the dead man would satisfy even the most hidden resentments." In fact, the authorities deliberately delay burying him... so that the town can smell the odor of his dead flesh. Now, that is hatred, in a classic sense. So, what did the doctor do to merit this? It is actually what he did NOT do: he refused to treat wounded soldiers during the Civil War. Hum. Proving that there are many disparate threads that seem to tie together, I had to reflect upon the various administrators of VA hospitals who denied medical care to veterans. As the priest in Marquez' story posits it: their burial should be conducted by the sanitation department.

In this early novella of Marquez, his narrative powers are quite apparent. He tells the story from three different points of view, which span three generations. There is Colonel Aureliano Buendia, who, as a point of honor, originally decided to shelter the doctor, and is determined to see that he has a proper burial, despite the town's feelings. The other two narrators are Buendia's daughter, Chabela, and her child. And always, there is how Marquez describes Macondo, and its founding: "Arriving there, mingled with the human leaf storm, dragged along by its impetuous force, came the dregs of warehouses, hospitals, amusement parlors, electric plants; the dregs made up of single women and men who tied their mules to hitching posts by the hotel, carrying their single piece of baggage, a wooden trunk or a bundle of clothing, and in a few months each had his own house, two mistresses, and the military title that was due him for having arrived late for the war."

The publisher of my copy, issued in 1979, was Picador. They tacked on six short stories, of varying quality, as it always seems, to fill out their offering. "The Last Voyage of the Ghost Ship" is five pages long, but only one sentence. Take a deep breath. It is a stylistic precursor to The Autumn of the Patriarch (Marquez 2014). And I found the story "Blacaman the Good, Vendor of Miracles" a riff, between Lawrence Ferlinghetti and Thomas Pynchon.

I was going to originally rate it 4-stars, since I found the ending somewhat unsatisfactory, but upon further reflection, decided it was simply an excellent prelude for "100 years...", thus, 5-stars.
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on 16 September 2013
This is a very good read for anyone who has read or preferably going to read 'One Thousand Years of Solitude' as it gives illuminating information about the village. A must for all Gabriel Garcia Marquez enthusiasts and an excellent example of his early work.
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on 5 February 1998
This wonderful book by GABO was the first one he wrote. So, it is very subject to the rules of writing. Later on the author would change completely to get the highest level at EL OTOñO DEL PATRIARCA, passing by "ONE HUNDRED YEARS OF SOLITUDE". The story is a killing that the author did not witness but that everybody in Colombia knew, and nobody talked about. Maybe because of fear for their own safety. GABO's grandfather told him the story when he was less than 6 years old. As a grown up he investigated by himself. The story happens at the Banana Plantation in Northern Colombia, where the explotator owned the life of their workers because they did no follow the law. American gringos bought the final product. A revolution wanted to start but was stopped by the worst masacre ever in that area. I read this book the first time when it was published by chapters in the local newspaper. Then we knew that this man was going to be the greatest of all times, the Mohamad Ali of the Spanish literature in the 20th century. This book is a must for everybody interested in GABO's work. Jose
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on 28 October 2014
A little gem of a book. Luxurious and timeless. A small community in the Caribbean refuses to mourn the death of one of its prominent residents. The past is revealed through the eyes of the characters living, dead or absent. A book which you can savour a little at a time because of its richness. Keep it at hand. It's one you'll want to return to.
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on 27 August 2013
Marquez is a good author, definitely recommend his books. This one, I ordered for my boyfriend, he is a big fan of his works and he loved it. The delivery was quick.
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on 19 April 2015
excellent book.
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on 26 September 2014
Great writer.
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