*I hate book reviews. I never have been one to write them, and I will never be one that enjoys writing them. But recently, I was forced to write one. I’ve been busy with my book and spend all my time writing that so I have no time for shorter posts so here’s my subpar book review. It’s really dry and not the best, but sometimes my writing sucks and I just have to accept that.*
Set in late 20th century Latin America, the novel “Chronicle of a Death Foretold” is a gripping postmortem tale that not only outlines societal norms but also complicates seemingly mundane ideals. The Colombian author, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, constantly sends the reader into a whirlwind of both fiction and reality, which furthers the mysterious nature of the novel.
At the onset of the book, it delves straight into murder of Santiago Nasar by twins Pedro and Pablo Vicario. At first, it is a seemingly unlikely occurrence but with each flick of a page, we learn of the methodical nature of the crime and its implications. The reason behind the crime is relatively simple- Angela Vicario, sister of the twins, lost her virginity to Nasar and therefore, was returned to her family shortly after she married Bayardo San Roman. Therefore, in an act of revenge and malice, the twins killed Nasar for causing their sister to suffer. However, this is only the beginning of the story behind the murder. We soon learn that news of Nasar’s intended death had spread throughout the town before it even occurred. Despite this fact, no one even attempted to stop the murder. Instead, it was the society as a whole that caused the murder to occur as no news of the murder reached Nasar or his mother. This is Marquez’s representation of the importance of honor as we see how since Nasar stripped Angela of her honor and her chances of marriage to advance in society, the punishment he receives should be nothing short of murder.
However, this entire story goes astray as we flash forward into the present and learn of how Angela has convinced San Roman to return to her. This causes us to wonder if the entire story is in vain. What is the point of Nasar dying if the outcome is ultimately the same? But, at the same time, the outcome is not the same. In this outcome, there was suffering and disconnect between the two and even when San Roman returns, this tension does not disappear. And, so while this impact is felt, it only makes sense to have Nasar’s impact of nonexistence to be felt as well. Thus, here, we see Marquez strike a balance between the two characters and justify the nature of the death several years post its occurrence.
While the plot of the novel is unlike most murder mysteries of its kind, it captures the human nature and the human emotion. It allows the reader to feel with each character- in the crowded marketplace, under the luminous sun, and in a dimly lit room. And, these emotions are what allows the reader to truly absorb every single word of the novel.