Saturday, March 22, 2008

Collected Stories by Gabriel Garcia Marquez

Title: Collected Stories
Author: Gabriel Garcia Marquez
ISBN: 0-14-015756-5
Publisher: Penguin Books Ltd/1996
Pages: 292
rating: 2.5/5

Marquez is one author, I love to read. However, I need a lot of time in between his books. I picked this after a very long time. It is a collection of twenty six short stories (originally published in three volumes, Leaf Storm and Other Stories, No One Writes to the Colonel and Other Stories, and Innocent Erendira and Other Stories). A few I had read before in another of his book, Innocent Erendira. These are given in chronological order of their publication.

Marquez won the Nobel Prize in 1982. I do not think, he needs any introduction. However, what most of us get, is to read his translated works as he wrote in Spanish. That is a disadvantage, I think.

This book has three parts and shows us the growth of Marquez as a writer. I found the initial stories not too good. I just could not relate to those. At some instances, I had to re-read and that did not help me a bit. I found it confusing, confounded and disappointed. The Third Resignation is about a seven year old boy who falls into a coma and grows to adulthood in a coffin mother’s house. The Other Side Of Death has shades of a Allan Poe nightmare.

There Are No Thieves In This Town
is about man who steals three billiard balls from a pool hall and finally is foolish about the whole thing. One Of These Days is about a corrupt mayor. Dialogue With The Mirror is incomprehensible. Eyes Of A Blue Dog is a story in a dream which speaks of a doomed relationship between two people who know each other only in dream, and not in the real world.

In The Sea of Lost Time, the island is pervaded with the fragrance of roses in the sea. The smell triggers changes on the island and thats about it, as colonial misdeeds still continue. The Monologue Of Isabel Watching It Rain In Macondo is about a town wholly destroyed by incessant rain. In The Handsomest Drowned Man In The World children playing by the sea see a corpse approaching them. The women go ga-ga over him and men are jealous of him. He is named Esteban and a whole myth is built around him, Then, after a proper funeral, he is thrown back into the sea.

Eva Is Inside Her Cat, Eva is a spirit who can take over any living thing. She is an unbalanced being and the story can be interpreted as consequences of oppression to the mind, or soul. Only part that redeems the book is the novella Innocent Erendira, which I had read before. The novella is a very poignant rendering about Erendira, who is only fourteen when we first meet her and is punished by her grand mother in a very diabolical manner when she accidentally burns her grand mother’s house. The way Erendira has to repay is heart rending. She runs away numerous times only to be brought back..

I know I will continue reading Marquez. However, this book left me wanting more. I can't even mention how a few stories were not worth reading. I just left those halfway through. Here I found, Marquez has got repetitive in his symbolism and in a few instances, the stories do not make any kind of sense. For light readers, it is strictly a no-no!